You may be looking for weight loss tips for health reasons. Or you might have bought one of the best exercise machines to lose weight and wonder what else you can do to feel your best this year. Know that there are multiple factors that can affect your weight loss efforts. These include making changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Even small changes can make a big difference to your health.
We spoke to experts to share their knowledge and weight loss tips to keep you educated, informed, and on track. These are not quick-fix weight loss tips, but lifestyle adaptations to help make sustainable changes.
Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication, have an injury, or have a condition that may be affected by starting on a new nutrition or exercise plan. They can help you customize a program and safely monitor your progress.
Weight loss tips: how it really works
Weight loss is different for everyone. Your genetic makeup, hormones, diet, sleep, physical activity, and stress all play a part.
In very basic terms, if you want to lose weight, you need to introduce a negative energy balance, meaning that you should burn more calories than you consume. This is also known as a calorie deficit. There are three different ways to achieve a calorie deficit - either by consuming fewer calories, expending more calories by increasing your physical activity, or a mixture of both.
These changes do not happen overnight and there is no quick fix when it comes to losing weight. For healthy and sustainable weight loss, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people lose weight gradually and steadily (about one to two pounds per week) through a combination of a balanced diet and physical activity.
Healthy weight loss is about adopting an ongoing lifestyle not about exercising to “earn” your food or punishing yourself to the point of injury to lose weight. We spoke to experts in the fitness field to offer their weight loss tips.
11 weight loss tips
1. Get plenty of sleep
Wellness coach Geraldine Joaquim says, “If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, you’re more likely to reach for sugary, fatty foods to replenish flagging energy levels. With lack of sleep, your ability to make good decisions is impaired and hormones that control your hunger and feelings of fullness are off balance and you’re much more likely to overindulge.”
2. Find your “why”
Personal trainer Eliza Flynn says, “It's all too easy to start exercising with all guns blazing, only to find motivation tails off after a few weeks or months. Find a 'why' that speaks to you. It might be exercising with friends because you enjoy the company, or because it clears your head. Or you might have a goal to work towards like improving your time covering 5km. It doesn't matter what your ‘why’ is as long as it resonates with you.”
3. Burn calories without even trying
Flynn continues, “By incorporating a few NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) activities into your daily routine you'll gradually see results. NEAT refers to calories that you burn during everyday activities. Examples include standing up while working, sitting on the floor, and changing position regularly while watching TV, even something as small as standing on one leg while brushing your teeth! There are other benefits that can come with this too, including improved posture and balance.”
4. Anchor your habit to an existing one
Flynn concludes, “It's easier to attach a new habit to an existing one than start an entirely new one. For example, if you start your day with a morning meeting, turn that into a walking meeting. Or before you treat yourself to an hour of TV in the evening, tick off a 15-minute workout first. You could even work out while you watch TV!”
5. Drink more water
Fitness coach and personal trainer Kirsten Whitehouse says “Your body needs around two liters of water a day to function properly. It helps flush waste out and will make you feel better and more alert, meaning any exercise will be more effective. We often mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated will make it easier not to reach for unplanned snacks.”
6. Eat a rainbow
Whitehouse continues, “Adding colorful fresh veg to every meal (yes, even breakfast!) will help fill you up for fewer calories. More importantly, you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, which will keep you healthy and feeling great.”
7. Eat slowly and stop before you are full
Nutritional therapist Nishtha Patel says, “Chew slowly. The longer you take to chew your food the fuller you will feel. And only eat till you are 80% full. We are so conditioned to eat until we finish our food. This way we often overeat. Use smaller plates and ensure you fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables.”
8. Embrace little and often is OK
Personal trainer Mandy Wong Oultram says “Don’t dismiss small windows of opportunity to exercise because you think it’s not enough. You don't need an hour a day to train. 20 mins of exercise three or four days a week is still significant and worthwhile!”
9. Make time for you
Kirsten Whitehouse says, “Just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day - even if just sitting in the sun, reading a book, or going for a walk, will make you feel so much better mentally and physically. It will also help keep you motivated on your journey. Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
10. Don’t ban foods
Personal trainer Chris Summers says, “Do not ban foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. If I told you to stop eating chocolate, chances are that would just make you crave it even more. There's no reason you can’t enjoy the occasional treat.”
11. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Summers says, “If you’re being overly restrictive or pushing yourself too hard to lose weight, it will negatively impact your mental health. It’s natural to compare your weight loss journey to others, especially at the gym but everybody is different, and you can’t compare your progress with anyone else, even if you are following the same program.”
For more ideas, take a look at our feature covering fat loss workouts: what to eat to stay fuller for longer.
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Catherine is a freelance journalist writing across titles such as Verywell Health, Healthline, The Daily Telegraph, Refinery29, Elle, and Vogue. She specializes in content covering health, fitness, wellness, and culture.
A once reluctant runner, Catherine has competed in 30 running events in the past five years and looks forward to one day running the London Marathon.