Losing weight isn't easy. It doesn't happen overnight, and there isn't one sole thing you need to do — it's a lot of little things that add up. I know: it took me five years to lose 40 pounds.
Whether it's 10 pounds or 100 pounds, starting is the hardest part. But there's no need to make drastic, life-altering changes that you're not ready for yet. Especially since as soon as you stray from a rigid plan, it's easy to say, "I already cheated, I might as well give up." Instead, start off nice and easy with these five manageable changes you can make each day that won't have you feeling overwhelmed or deprived. They will help get you in the healthy mind-set and on the healthy track, which will only encourage more good-for-you changes.
- Swap beverages for water: OK, so you don't have to give up your beloved morning cup of joe, but for the rest of the day, a reusable water bottle is going to be your best friend. Each time you choose water over juice, soda, sweetened iced tea, and specialty coffee drinks, you'll save about 100 calories. Aside from that, sipping water also helps fill your belly, prevent bloat from constipation, and keep you hydrated, which prevents that sluggish feeling that causes people to reach for candy bars or cookies.
- Make a big salad for lunch: This is good for so many reasons. The veggies are low in calories, so you can eat an enormous bowl without breaking the calorie bank. They're also full of fiber, which fills you up fast and keeps you feeling satiated longer. Prep for the week by making them ahead in mason jars, which also helps you avoid the temptation of high-calorie lunches. Just be sure to be mindful of the ingredients you use; adding too much dressing, cheese, or other unhealthy items can turn a salad into a worse choice than a Big Mac.
- Do one 10-minute workout each day: This tip is for those who don't exercise a smidge, hate running, don't want to work out in front of other people at a gym, or have no idea how to get started. Anyone can commit to 10 minutes, and whether you're into yoga, strength training with weights, or Zumba or have always wanted to try P90X, we have a 10-minute video that'll motivate anyone to burn some calories. Start with one 10-minute workout each day to get you in the habit of moving, and after seeing the positive results just 10 minutes can have, you'll be itching to do more.
- Keep cut-up fruits and veggies in the fridge: When hunger or boredom strikes and you get that feeling that you need to munch on something, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, head to the fridge and grab one of the containers you've premade that contains washed grapes, blueberries, cut-up watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi or carrots and celery sticks, strips of bell pepper, or sliced cukes. Put the containers right at eye level so they're the first thing you see. When healthy foods are already prepared, you're more likely to choose them over other easily accessible, not-so-healthy snacks.
- Use smaller plates and bowls: When we prepare a plate of food, we feel the need to fill it up completely. If you start out with a smaller-sized salad plate or a kid-sized bowl, there's only so much you can pile on, so you'll end up consuming fewer calories.