Do These 18 Things to Start Losing Weight Right Now
Whether you've recently thought about it or you've had weight loss on the mind for a while, don't wait until the new year to do something about it! Here are 18 things you can start doing today to help you feel great and lose weight. Some of these may feel effortless, and some may be a bit tougher (wait, no wine?!), but they've all worked for many people in the past. All you have to do is find the right combination of tips and adjust it to fit you and your lifestyle.
Let today be the day you look back on and thank yourself for making you and your health a priority. I won't tell you that your journey will be easy (because sometimes it won't), but it'll be worth it!
Eat Veggies With Every Meal
Veggies are low in calories, often low in carbs, and high in fiber. That means you can eat tons of them to feel full without consuming many calories. Aim to eat veggies at every meal and every snack.
Create a Calorie Deficit
Calories are one of the most important factors in weight loss. Find out how many calories you need per day to maintain your weight, and then figure out how many calories you need to lose weight. Creating a calorie deficit — without going below 1,200 calories — will absolutely help you lose weight.
Monitor Your Macros
It's important to eat a well-balanced diet that includes healthy sources of carbs, fats, and protein. You might find more success eating fewer carbs and more protein. Here's the formula you need to figure out your macros for weight loss.
Only Eat When You're Hungry
Get to know what true hunger feels like. Many of us eat out of habit, to satisfy cravings, because we're bored, or because it's a certain time of day. If you're not hungry for breakfast at 8 a.m., it's OK to push it to 10 a.m. when you are actually hungry.
Eat Until You're 80% Full
Down with the clean-plate club! Instead of putting down the fork when your plate is empty, eat slowly and pay close attention to how your belly feels so you can stop eating when you're satisfied but not stuffed.
Take Progress Pics
Since the numbers on the scale can be deceiving, taking photos of yourself can help you realize that your hard work is paying off. Take a photo today, and then take one every month. Seeing the results staring back at you will inspire you to keep going!
Cardio burns calories, but to maximize your workouts, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) — this is especially effective at reducing belly fat. The whole workout including warmup doesn't need to be more than 45 minutes to be effective, and three to four times a week is enough. Here's a HIIT workout for weight loss you can try.
Indulge Once a Day
Don't give up any foods completely. Denying yourself the bites you crave can backfire, causing you to feel deprived, resulting in binging. So make a point to keep yourself happy and your cravings satisfied by allowing a small treat every day, such as a square of dark chocolate, one of these mini vegan strawberry cheesecakes, or a small glass of wine.
Do More Strength Training
While cardio burns extra calories, lifting weights builds more lean muscle, and having more muscle means you'll burn more calories and fat throughout the rest of the day. Don't be afraid to lift heavy! You won't bulk up, and you'll lose weight faster. Aim to strength train at least three times a week.
Drink More Water
Often thirst is mistaken for hunger, so staying hydrated all day can help you know when you truly need to eat. Drink at least 64 ounces a day, or try an experiment and drink a gallon of water a day.
A healthy diet is essential to weight-loss success. So instead of being at the whim of choosing meals in the moment, planning out and prepping a week's worth of meals and snacks will help you stay on track.
Use the 80/20 Rule
Eat meals and snacks that are healthy for 80 percent of the day — then indulge for the rest of the day if you feel the urge. Swapping most of your meals for healthier options is an easy way to "diet" without feeling deprived. For even greater results, Autumn Calabrese, creator of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme fitness and nutrition programs, recommends the 90/10 rule.
Take Pics of Your Food
Portion control and monitoring your calorie intake are key to losing weight. Keeping a food journal is one way to keep you accountable, but if you have a hard time remembering every bite and sip you've had, take pictures of everything you eat. Then at the end of the day, just add them all up. And better yet, email your food journal or stats to a friend to help you stay honest.
Try Intermittent Fasting
If restricting calories or certain foods is not your thing, and you tend to want to eat all day long, try intermittent fasting. It's when you have a specific eating window and a specific fasting window. One common protocol is to eat from noon until 8 p.m. every day. Not eating all day takes a few weeks to get used to, but you'll find you naturally eat fewer calories, which helps you lose weight without giving up your favorite foods.
Go Vegan . . . Till Dinner
Eat balanced, vegan meals with tons of veggies, fruits, and whole grains for breakfast, lunch, and snacks — and once dinner rolls around, you can eat meat and dairy again. Studies show that eating a plant-based diet will not only help you lose weight, but it also gives you more energy. This tofu lasagna is actually dairy-free!
Join a Fitness or Weight-Loss Community
Whether it's a national program like Weight Watchers or an online website like My Fitness Pal, being part of a weight-loss community is a great way to find support on this sometimes-difficult journey. Aside from utilizing the program's tools, many sites allow you to leave comments and messages on other members' profiles. If a weight-loss program isn't your thing, join a gym and use the community there to inspire your healthy lifestyle. Or find a friend on their own weight-loss journey so you can text or call each other for motivation or meet up for a workout.
Limit Alcohol (or Ditch It Altogether)
That glass of wine or bottle of beer every night with dinner isn't doing your waistline any favors. Each drink is around 120 calories (or more!), and aside from that, drinking can dull your willpower and make you more likely to say yes to food when you're not hungry. If you don't want to give it up entirely, choose one night a week to enjoy a drink.
Get Enough Sleep
Life gets hectic, so make sure you're getting enough sleep. Besides strengthening your immune system, proper rest also ensures healthy eating habits. On a daily basis, sleepy people eat more, and since the body functions poorly when sleep-deprived, it ends up storing more fat — inadequate sleep can lead to an extra three pounds a year! Besides, think about all the workouts you skip when you're too tired to get to the gym.