When losing weight, it can be very easy to slip into an unhealthy mindset. There are tendencies to cut too many calories from your diet, exercise every day without leaving enough time to let your muscles recover and not staying hydrated. I hope these tips and tricks will help you on your weight loss journey and inspire you to not only lose weight, but to also become a happier and healthier you.
1 . Research how many calories you should eliminate to lose weight.
To do this correctly, you need to take into account your height, weight, age and level of physical activity. When I did research for my weight loss, I found these sites to be the most helpful: Calorie King and Authority Nutrition. All websites have different results, so you may want to take the average from a number of websites and stick to that.
When I was beginning to lose weight, I felt like I was in a hurry. I like that these sites give you a number for if you want to just lose weight or lose weight fast. For several months, I only ate 1,200 calories and after I came close to achieving my goal, I increased my calorie intake by 200 calories every other week. I now eat about 1,800-1,900 calories each day. I have found that you can’t fully rely on the internet to tell you what the “right” number of calories is for you. You may have to do some experimenting, like I did.
Once I knew how many calories to eat, I started using a calorie counting app called Lose it. Using an app allowed me to log everything I ate and even see how many calories were in my recipes. Some people prefer logging what they eat in a journal, but this app does all the counting for you. I highly recommend using this app in particular because other apps don’t have nearly as many foods to choose from.
2. Get a full night’s sleep.
It is very important to get enough sleep when you’re working out every day. Without a full night’s sleep, you might start to feel sluggish and hungry more often. I cannot stress enough how important this is, not only for weight loss, but also for mental health.
3. Develop a workout routine.
Working out for an hour, once a day, 4-5 days a week can be difficult and sometimes quite draining, but truly does wonders for weight loss. Try to remember that a vigorous daily workout routine will not likely last forever. It’s important to remember that you probably won’t see progress right away. In fact, a lot of people feel like they’re gaining weight when they begin working out. It’s important to remember that this is only temporary. Progress will come with time and hard work, which you ARE capable of.
When you have moments of hesitation and start make excuses as to why you can’t work out, try to remember how you felt and looked before you started. To motivate yourself, it’s always a good idea to look at photos online of people who have achieved a similar goal.
Don’t be afraid to gain muscle weight. I have found that weighing more doesn’t directly correlate to being skinny. Ballerinas and gymnasts are some of the skinniest people, but they are also very heavy, because of their strong muscles. The muscle might weigh more, but it takes up less space than fat.
To make your life more centered around physical activity, make small changes to your daily routine, such as: walking to work or the store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or signing up for a yoga class and taking a class every time you feel stressed or soar from your workouts.
4. Make working out fun.
Will power is not something that you either have or don’t have. However, some people feel like everything in them is telling them not to work out. If you have this problem, you may need to spice up your workout routine and make it more fun. I like to make working out more fun by putting together playlists for each type of workout. I have a playlist for running, yoga and ab workouts.
To make working out a more comfortable thing to do, I like to do yoga in unusual places, like the park or a rooftop. Take my word for it, doing yoga outdoors is one of the most relaxing and peaceful things you can do.
To make losing weight more enjoyable for me, I took progress photos. I found this to keep me not only motivated to keep going, but also to reflect back on later and see how much progress has been made.
If you’re getting bored with your workout routine, taking a spin class or going swimming can be a great way to change it up a bit. Some ideas of how to spice up your routine are: roller skating, hula hooping, playing soccer, playing beach volleyball, frisbee, dancing, ice skating and canoeing.
5. Eat more to lose weight.
It might seem strange, but to gain muscle, you need to eat more. The best way for most people to do this, they should eat a series of healthy snacks throughout the day, especially after a workout. I highly recommend protein bars and fresh fruits and vegetables with high-protein dips. My favorites are: Larabars, natural peanut butter with an apple or banana, hummus with raw veggies and whole grain crackers with avocado.
6. Look at ingredients as well as calories on nutrition labels.
At the beginning of my weight loss journey, I payed too much attention to calories, but not enough attention to nutrients. I would look at the labels of food and instead of looking at the ingredients and how many grams of sugar were in the food, I would only look at the calories. I cannot stress enough that counting calories is not everything. Sure, it helped me lose weight, but it wasn’t helping my health.
Before I knew more about the importance of healthy ingredients, every morning I would eat a low-calorie yogurt that had high-fructose corn syrup in it. I was horrified when I learned about how harmful high-fructose corn syrup is to the body. To make a change, I switched to a yogurt that was higher in calories that had real sugar in it. I learned later that 29 grams of sugar is absolutely ridiculous. I was really ashamed of all of the yogurt brands for not having any fruit-flavored choices that didn’t have a crazy amount of sugar or fake sugar in it. After doing days of searching on the internet, I found a great, but expensive, brand called Siggi’s that makes low-sugar yogurt. If you love yogurt, I highly recommend this. I now have given up yogurt all together, mostly because not only do I want to eliminate as much sugar as I can from my diet, but I also am trying to make more vegan choices.
7. Don’t drink your calories.
Avoiding refined sugar, especially in sugary coffee drinks, soda and energy drinks is important when trying to lose weight. These things give you energy for about a minute and then make you crash. Giving up soda is a must when it comes to weight loss. Switching to diet soda is not better. You need to not only limit the sugar in your diet, but also the chemicals that soda has. If this sounds difficult for you to do, try replacing soda with tea, naturally flavored sparkling water or kombucha.
8. Drink lots of water.
Drinking water is the best way to prevent bloating, keep your body feeling full and make your skin clear and soft. I have found that drinking a glass after every meal and snack keeps me full a lot longer than when I don’t. Dehydration can become a huge problem after increasing physically active. It is very important to stay hydrated.
9. Drink coffee or tea with breakfast.
It has been proven that drinking hot water can boost the metabolism. The best detox or cleanse is not starving yourself and only drinking tea and lettuce. Simply drinking hot water does wonders for releasing toxins from the body. Hot water is also great for digestion, preventing acne and keeping skin and hair soft and shiny.
TIPS & TRICKS
1 . Eat your last meal before 5 pm.
I found this to be the most successful way to keep a flat stomach. I still do this today and find it to work absolute wonders. Even on days when I eat way more than usual, my stomach feels flat. Eating late dinners and desserts often leaves me feeling bloated and heavy the next day.
2. Make breakfast your biggest meal.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to skip breakfast, you should get rid of that habit as soon as possible. By skipping breakfast, you are neglecting to give yourself the energy that you need for the rest of the day. If you are often leaving the house in a hurry, prepare a meal the night before. Sometimes I make overnight oats when I know I will be busy the next morning.
Make sure your breakfast includes filling whole grains, like oatmeal, quinoa or whole wheat bread. Try making one of my delicious breakfast bowls!
3. Go crazy with fruit!
Fruit is nature’s candy. The only thing that kept me from eating tons of sugar when I first started losing weight was fruit. Bananas, apples, pineapple and mangoes are packed with natural sugar. Filling up on these makes not eating real sugar so much easier.
4. Eat lots of healthy fats.
Losing weight is a lot easier when you limit unhealthy fats, like butter and cheese, from your diet. Healthy fats, like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, are great for hair, skin and nails.
5. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator.
The only way to not be tempted is to get rid of the foods that tempt you. When I first cleaned out my pantry, I had to get rid of a huge tub of Nutella, sugary cereals, ice cream, Ritz crackers, chocolate brownie cliff bars, potato chips, bagels, white pasta, blueberry muffins and many other fatty, sugary and salty foods. At first it felt like I was at a funeral when I threw it all away, saying goodbye to all of the foods I grew to love. It sure wasn’t easy, but it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders once all of my temptations were out of the house.
6. Put your fork down several times throughout your meal.
Studies have shown that putting your fork down when eating your meal prevents over-eating and helps you know when you’re really full.
7. Slowly start sweetening your food less and less.
Once you’ve spent enough time without sugar, you won’t have any trouble resisting sugary temptations. It took me several weeks, but it was probably the best decision I ever made. I simply sweetened my coffee and oatmeal less and less every day and eventually gave up sweeteners all together. Since then, I’ve decided to use sweeteners, but in moderation.
8. Change your coffee order.
Before I lost weight, my coffee order was a vanilla white chocolate mocha with whipped cream. Now, my coffee order is a soy latte. My recommendation is to make minor changes to your current order each time you order. I never would have been able to go right from a sugar-packed drink to a drink with only soy milk in it. I had to first take out the white chocolate, then take out the vanilla, then replace 2% milk with skim milk, then replace skim milk with soy milk. If you want to make your own coffee drink, try my delicious coconut mocha!
If you usually order a pastry with your coffee, it’s time to give up that habit. Sugar is just about the worst thing to eat in the morning. If you want enough energy for the day, it’s best to eat whole grains and natural sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup and agave nectar.
9. Make your own meals.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s hard to eat healthy when you’re constantly eating out and ordering in. When you can’t see what went into your food, you can’t know if it’s healthy or not. Restaurants are only interested in making the food taste good. The only way to solve this problem, is to prepare your own food. So, take a few minutes out of your day to try one of my healthy recipes!
Sometimes your schedule might not allow you to spend half an hour cooking a meal for yourself. Sometimes making a meal the night before is the way to go. Some people even make a few different meals and save them in containers for the following week.
10. Learn to Pack a Healthy Lunch.
Packing a healthy lunch can be very difficult when you’re always in a hurry. It can be even more difficult to pack a healthy and balanced lunch, even when you do have time. Luckily, you have access to tons of balanced packed lunch ideas. From PB&J to avocado salad, these ideas will inspire you to pack a healthier lunch without spending too much time and money.
11. Don’t put too many limitations on yourself.
If you’re like me, you can’t go too long without a muffin or a brownie. There’s certainly nothing healthy about eating foods that you dislike. If you hate raw veggies, make a healthy vegetable stir fry. If you’re addicted to ice cream, invest in an ice cream maker and make some healthy ice cream from scratch. Of course it’s good to eat healthier alternatives to the foods you love, but remember that it’s okay to make exceptions every once in a while.
You may not believe me, but I lost more weight when I started letting myself eat more of the treats that I had previously eliminated from my diet. At first, I was hit with immediate guilt after indulging in a brownie or piece of apple pie, but I realized that it didn’t affect my weight loss one bit. There is a lot of truth that anything can be healthy in moderation.
12. Know when to stop.
I’ve seen it all too often that people continue to lose weight after they’ve reached their goal weight. It’s super easy to do. If you’ve been on a special diet long enough and it’s shown great progress, of course you’ll be tempted to stay on it. It’s very important that you stop once you’ve reached your goal weight.
I hope that these tips and tricks for losing weight and being healthy helped you learn something about yourself. My intention is to inspire people to make positive changes in their life to improve their health. My health transformation has made me a thousand times happier. I would love it if everyone could experience the same feeling. Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.
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