Weight loss tips are everywhere but these are actual ones from a friend of mine, David, who lost a whopping 55 pounds over a year and a half. His tips are realistic and doable; you just need to be persistent… and not feel guilty if you mess up! It’s a marathon to better living, not a sprint! So you’ll find no fad diets or gimmicky tips or crazy promises to overnight success. It’s all about sustainable progress.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. This is anecdotal experience from my friend. Please talk to your doctor about your own personal health and weight loss plans. See disclaimer for more.
Weight Loss Tips
1. Start slow
Say what now?
I’m not one for patience but David insists starting slow is important to get accustomed to diet changes and exercise routines. If you cut sugar out of your diet too quickly, you’re going to be cranky with cravings. If you overexert while exercising, you risk straining your muscles.
Feeling miserable shouldn’t be part of your weight loss journey. So, start slowly. Ease into changes.
2. Take it 10 pounds at a time
You know how dividing a hard task into smaller ones helps you get it done? Well, that applies to weight loss too.
David says taking it ten pounds at a time made him more focused on what strategies he needed to use to lose weight. For the first ten pounds, diet adjustments may be enough to lose weight; but, by the third ten pounds, you’ll need to add in rigorous exercise to your routine.
If your total weight loss goal is relatively low, you can take it five pounds at time. The whole point is to not be overwhelmed by a large, daunting goal.
3. Kick your soft drink habit
This is one of the toughest weight loss tips to follow if you are a soda addict. Who doesn’t love the sweet taste of pop or the fizziness tickling your mouth? But this one is necessary.
Why? Well, let me cite a couple recent studies here.
According to this 2016 study, reducing the number of sweetened beverages you have can significantly lower your body mass index and your waist circumference. Waw!
Having one soft drink (sweetened with sucrose) a day for six months increases uric acid levels in the blood, which can lead to gout, cardiovascular problems and more (source: 2015 study).
Having two soft drinks a day is linked to lower bone mineral density (source: 2019 study).
So, kick that soda habit. But… from #1… reduce slowly.
Swap soda for water when you’re thirsty. Or try a fruit smoothie if you are craving sugar. Be persistent and you’ll find yourself no longer craving soft drink.
The same applies to sweetened juices and other beverages. Look at the sugar content and work your way towards sugar-free drink options.
4. Remove unhealthy sweet treats
You just saw sweetened beverages are linked to waist circumference. But that’s not news.
The modern link between sugar, obesity and disease goes back to the 1940s. Pioneer nutritionist, John Yudkin wrote in 1964: high amounts of sugar contributed to obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and heart attack.
We’ve known too much sugar is bad for a long, long time. So, swap sugary foods for healthier, more nutritious options. David’s weight loss tips included replacing ice cream with jello and fresh fruits. He also tried sherbet and glazed fruit too.
5. Have breakfast
Don’t skip breakie!
It’s easy to just grab a cuppa on the go, but don’t! Stop and have breakfast.
Several studies including this one from 2019 found a link between skipping breakfast and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, bad cholesterol and metabolic syndrome. Another study associated it with an increased risk of heart disease. Crazy!
So, a simple breakie is worth having. A couple crackers, a fruit and some water are a greater starter combo. Or make your own granola with almonds, raisins, oats, apricots and sunflower seeds.
6. Fill up on salads for lunch
Fill up on salads with a wide range of fruits, veggies and legumes to get good levels of micronutrients and antioxidants into your diet. Also, add in protein so you feel full for longer.
Check out these cucumber salad recipes for a couple great ideas.
But, reduce the amount of salad dressing you use. Why? Well a tablespoon of oil provides 120 calories. For honey, it’s 65 calories. Those two are typical base ingredients for salad dressing and they are unnecessary calories. Use plain yogurt for the base instead; a tablespoon only has 10 calories. Vinegar and lemon juice are other great alternatives.
As for your protein option, avoid adding fried foods. Compare 100 grams of fried chicken with skin and breading which has 460 calories to grilled, skinless chicken which has 150 calories. What a difference!
7. Reduce your bread intake
Commercial bread is generally made with refined grains and is barely nutritious. Your body processes bread into simple sugars which can spike your blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance.
Have more complex carbs instead that are harder to digest. These foods won’t spike your levels and will give you the fiber you need to feel fuller for longer. Try oats, barley, sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice. Legumes also have good complex carbs.
David actually eliminated bread from his diet for many months. He substituted in corn, sweet potatoes and ground provisions. On his cheat days, he kept strong with a couple crackers!
8. Snack healthy
Avoid fried crisps and candy with way too much sugar. Opt for healthier snack options. And be sure to check the serving sizes on the packaging before you snack. Try to stick to the serving size amounts instead of eating everything in the bag. Or Pringles tin!
Carrot and cucumber sticks are nice options too with a tasty hummus dip. Homemade granola or just a couple almonds and cashews are quick snacks. And, to satisfy your sweet tooth, have a couple grapes or prunes. They are super sweet!
9. Less alcohol is better
Alcohol itself has a lot of calories in it and very little macro- and micronutrients. So, it is considered ‘empty calories’.
A 12-ounce can of beer has about 155 calories in it. A 5-ounce glass of wine has around 125 calories… Do you stop at just one beer or one glass of wine during a night out? Not likely! But, maybe you should! You don’t need those empty calories in your life!
10. Don’t feel guilty if you slip up
Feeling guilty if you fall off the bandwagon can do more harm than good. Getting mad at yourself or regretting your decisions won’t help you through your weight loss journey either. You don’t want to regress or binge eat. So, don’t beat yourself up. Just promise yourself, you’ll be better tomorrow.
Going all the way back to tips #1 and #2, take it slowly and work on 10 pounds (or 5 pounds) at a time. This makes everything more doable and you’ll be less likely to slip up.
Here is David’s before and after progress:
Do you have any weight loss tips to add? Comment below to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear them!