Although it is simple, losing weight is difficult. In the end, it comes down to having an energy deficit (consuming fewer calories than you burn off), but this doesn’t have to be an unpleasant process. If shedding pounds feels like punishment, you’ll probably wind up putting it all back on. The key is to make adjustments and create a sustainable way of life that you can move into maintenance with ease.
I started a six-month weight-loss phase two years ago, and by addressing my overeating behaviours and my connection with food, I was able to lose 35 pounds over that time. Before that, I had attempted a variety of unsustainable diets, which caused my weight to drastically yo-yo.
I’ve worked hard to maintain my healthy habits since dropping the majority of my weight, and as a consequence, I’ve maintained the same weight and size. My body fat decreased from roughly 30% in December 2017 to about 17% at my most recent scan in September. I’m quite content to put on a little weight while enjoying, say, the Christmas season or a vacation because I know how to lose it again afterwards if I so choose.
You will almost certainly feel a little hungry when trying to lose weight, at least at first while your body adjusts. But it doesn’t have to be terrible. Because we are all unique, what works for me might not work for you. But I’ve discovered some tricks that make weight loss simpler, which I use when I want to lose a few pounds without sacrificing my quality of life.
1. Put an Emphasis on High-Volume Foods.
The idea of reducing your portion sizes undoubtedly does not appeal to you if, like me, you simply enjoy eating. Focusing on high-volume foods, or foods that take up a lot of physical space but have few calories is a fantastic approach to offset this, though.
My faves are strawberries, broccoli, low-calorie ice cream (approximately 320 calories for an entire container), fat-free Greek yoghurt, and low-fat yoghurt. If you don’t like any of these foods, you don’t have to consume them. For example, despite their large volume, I don’t particularly like watermelon or celery.
According to the registered dietician Shena Jaramillo, there are many different meals that occupy a lot of space on your plate or in your bowl, allowing you to eat a lot and feel satisfied without eating a lot of calories.
2. Avoid Sipping Water when Eating.
In general, it’s advised to eat slowly to lose weight: You typically eat more slowly, relishing each bite more, and as a result, feel fuller. Additionally, it allows your body to understand when it is full.
Sipping water in between mouthfuls may slow some individuals down, but it had the reverse effect on me because I was essentially washing my meal down with water instead of chewing it thoroughly.
I always take a glass of water before and after a meal, but no longer throughout because I drink more water than the typical person does in a day (sometimes when we think we’re hungry we’re actually dehydrated).
Though it has been demonstrated that drinking plenty of water will aid in weight loss, be sure to do so generally.
3. Use Both Hands to Eat.
This is another method that makes you eat more slowly. I’m a right-hander and find it difficult to use my left hand for anything. Therefore, between mouthfuls, I just transfer my fork from one hand to the other.
There are some things where this doesn’t really work, and yes, I definitely wouldn’t do this at a restaurant since it looks a little strange, but at home, it’s a useful strategy to once again urge me to eat slowly and mindfully.
4. Make Inconspicuous Food Substitutions.
I don’t think you should eliminate any foods from your diet; instead, your diet should include all the foods you enjoy, but only in moderation.
However, there are several hardly discernible calorie-saving substitutions that I prefer (unlike replacing spaghetti with zoodles).
For instance, I like bagel thins, powdered peanut butter, and turkey sausages as calorie-saving items. I actually enjoy eating them, though I do occasionally also prefer the kinds that are higher in energy.
5. Put Protein First.
You should maintain a high protein intake for a number of reasons. First off, it will aid in muscle recovery after exercise and support the maintenance of lean muscle mass while increasing fat-burning capacity.
Second, it is a proven scientific truth that protein keeps you full. I frequently feel the need to constantly graze when I haven’t consumed enough protein for the day. Professionals in the fields of fitness, nutrition, and fat loss often advise aiming for 1.6 to 2.2 grammes per kilogramme of body weight.
It’s also true that protein requires more calories to digest than fats and carbohydrates do (this is known as the thermic effect of food), although the difference isn’t very significant.
6. Include Adult Alcohol Substitutes.
Unfortunately, alcohol is not a friend of the dieter. It has a lot of calories and usually causes one to eat more when drinking and the following day. Similar to eating, you don’t have to give up alcohol entirely if you enjoy a drink.
I do, however, limit my alcohol consumption when I truly want to concentrate on my health and fitness, and I’ve discovered that non-alcoholic drinks are a great option. The new breed of “grown-up” botanical beverages, the best of which taste remarkably similar to their drunken equivalent, is what I mean when I say “drinks,” as opposed to sodas and soft drinks.
7. List only Your Successes from Each Day.
Working on your mind as well as your body is necessary for long-lasting improvement. Writing down at least three health “wins” from the day before bed each night has proven to be a highly effective practice for me.
That could entail exceeding my quota of steps, consuming five servings of veggies, or simply stopping when I’m satisfied and storing the remaining pizza in the refrigerator. This approach was especially helpful on days when I felt like I had failed and strayed far from my course.
Instead of aiming for perfection, focus on consistency of 80%. You need to be able to indulge and unwind occasionally without it driving you into a spiral of hopelessness, guilt, and wanting to give up, if for no other reason than your mental health (and if you want to maintain your social life).