We often hear about the “last few pounds” to lose. But what about when you have a whole 20 to go? A two-day juice cleanse isn’t going to do the trick (nor is it usually healthy). Here are some lifelong tips to help you lose (and keep off) those 20 pounds — for good.
1. Eat to fuel your body.
Eating less is a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight, but restricting your calories too low may lead to binges and send you into the evil cycle of yo-yo dieting.
However, if you’re eating to the point of starving your body of necessary calories, your body adjusts by going into protection mode (it wants to preserve stored fuel) and slows down. In most cases, this means muscle loss. If you’re having trouble losing weight, try keeping a food journal and take a close look to see if you’re skimping on fuel.
2. Listen to your body.
This step may take a little time to learn. But I urge you to be patient with yourself, because becoming comfortable understanding your hunger quotient will definitely pay off. Getting used to eating to the point of contentedness, and not fullness, is crucial to long-term weight loss. When you conquer this tool, regardless of what you’re eating, you will never dramatically overconsume.
Related: It started with a loss of appetite early in the pandemic, but then Dana McMahan adopted intermittent fasting as a flexible new eating pattern.
3. Don’t count calories.
Meticulously counting calories will end up being more frustrating than useful. Calories in versus calories out is an old way of thinking. There is much more involved with losing weight (hormones and hydration to name a couple) than calories.
Focus on nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods such as vegetables to bulk up your meals. Also, lean protein (such as fish, poultry or plant protein) and a little bit of healthy fat at every meal.
4. Drink up.
Sip H2O throughout the day. Staying hydrated is majorly important whether you’re looking to lose 5, 10, 20 or 50 pounds. Heard this before? Betcha have. But are you doing it? No better time to start than now. Drinking water is important for all cellular functions, and hydration aids in weight loss. Not only that, the brain easily confuses thirst for hunger.
Related: Months at home during lockdown hindered many people’s healthy habits — here’s how to get back on track.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
One meal will not change your body. It will take a consistent effort of many changes over time. Again, one meal will not change your body. So, don’t get stressed and obsess over every meal or snack gone wrong.
Being in the correct emotional state while trying to lose weight is just as important as what you eat. Throw out the “throw in the towel” mindset and believe that you can and you will lose weight. Even if you slip up and have a chocolate chip cookie.
6. Take control of your environment.
Are there certain snacks you keep around your house that you can’t help but nibble on? Is your desk at work so messy that you have a hard time focusing on a simple task? Cleaning, clearing out and decluttering what you can control will make a big difference in making improvements in your diet. Re-doing your morning routine is also a way to take control of your environment and routine.
7. Indulge consciously.
Losing weight does not mean you have to swear off raw cookie dough forever. You’re working on instilling new practices and habits into your everyday life, and that also means relearning how to indulge. When you indulge you’re actually more likely to stay on track with your new eating plan.
Choose your absolute favorite indulgence when the time is right, and skip the rest. Be conscious about what you’re eating in the moment and take time to enjoy the indulgence. This is different from reaching your hand over and over into a bag of M&Ms until the moment you’re surprised they’re gone. If you’re at your best friend’s birthday party, and someone brought cookie dough, have a scoop. And enjoy the indulgence as part of the event and move right back onto your kale salad.
For more ways to live a Nutritious life, follow Keri on Instagram: @nutritiouslifeofficial. For more weight-loss tips, check out our My Weight-Loss Journey page.