It took you months or maybe even years to put on the extra weight you’re ready to say goodbye to, so don’t expect to lose it overnight. It’s the small, healthy decisions you make every day that will bring you closer and closer to your goal, according to PopSugar’s advice.
1. Eat Breakfast
Skipping meals to save calories seems like a brilliant idea, but not only does it slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, but that famished feeling can also make you overeat or increase cravings for junk food. Get your metabolism going by eating in the morning. Stick to a 300- to 400-calorie meal and make sure it includes protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
2. Eat Veggies at Every Meal
Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition says that eating more veggies is one of the best ways to lose weight. Veggies are low in calories and high in fiber so they fill you up and keep you satisfied longer, which staves off hunger so you eat fewer daily calories. And yes, that includes breakfast, too! Try to make some smoothies.
3. Make 1 Meal a Big Salad
You’ll not only get your fill of veggies and fiber, but you’ll also feel lighter and more energetic afterward. Make this happen by prepping a week’s worth of salads all at once.
Commit to moving every single day. Five days out of the week should be hour-long workouts that include cardio and strength training. And the other two days of the week can be active rest like some light yoga or going for a walk.
5. Snack on Protein and Fiber
Skip the high-carb crackers and snack on protein and fiber to satiate hunger longer. These three-ingredient protein balls offer 8.1 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fiber per three-ball serving.
6. Cut Down on Sugar
Whether you stir white sugar into your coffee, sprinkle brown sugar on your oatmeal, or can’t stay away from baked goods, cutting down on your sugar intake is one way to cut down on extra calories. Gradually decrease the amount of sugar in your morning cup, mash banana into your oatmeal to add sweetness naturally, and use fruit in your baked good recipes like these date-sweetened cookies.
7. Make Water Your Go-To Beverage
Anytime you reach for a drink, skip the soda and juice and make it zero-calorie water. Staying hydrated will make you feel more energetic, fill your belly, aid in digestion, prevent constipation, and make your skin glow. Hate plain water? Add a few slices of fresh fruit for flavor.
8. Take Pics of Your Food
If you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthier, taking photos of everything you eat will give you a good overall picture of how you eat all day long. It’ll keep you even more accountable to eating healthy if you Instagram your pics or send them to a supportive friend who shares your goals.
9. Pack Lunch From Home
Whether you make extra for dinner and pack leftovers like soup, a slow-cooker meal, or this quinoa and black bean salad or you make five salads on Sunday night, bringing lunch from home is cheaper, healthier, and a great way to keep tabs on portion sizes.
10. Get at Least 7 Hours of Sleep
Not getting adequate sleep lowers levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin while raising levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Studies show that women who don’t sleep enough ate an average of 300 more calories than those who got enough sleep. So snuggle into bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep.
11. Have Fruit For Dessert
If cookies or ice cream after dinner has become a habit, eat a bowl of fruit instead. It’s lower in calories than those high-sugar treats and high in fiber and nutrients, which we all need more of. At first, you’ll curse those sliced apples and grapes for not being a brownie, but after a couple weeks, your taste buds will adjust and fruit will taste sweet enough.
12. Practice Portion Control
Portion control is essential for taking off weight and keeping it off. Even healthy foods like nuts and whole grains when eaten in mass quantities will pack on the pounds, so make sure to measure your food every day. Doing a little meal prep like making a week’s worth of overnight oats is one way to ensure you stick to a healthy portion size. When eating dinner at home, serve yourself an appropriate-size portion and then put away the rest so you won’t be tempted to go back for seconds. And don’t feel compelled to be a member of the clean-plate club. Eat slowly and listen to your body — if you’re full after eating two-thirds of your meal, put the rest away for tomorrow’s lunch.
13. Find Healthier Alternatives to Your Not-So-Healthy Faves
Don’t fight your deep urge to eat mac and cheese, pizza, ice cream, or cookies! There are ways to make these foods so they’re lower in calories, lower in saturated fat, or higher in fiber. This mac and cheese is dairy-free and made with pureed veggies but offers that salty creaminess you crave. Getting creative in the kitchen will allow you to indulge in your favorite foods without sabotaging your weight-loss goals.
See also: Fitness trainer reveals biggest mistakes new mums make when it comes to exercise.