Losing weight can be a challenging process, but creating a sustainable plan focused on lifestyle changes rather than short-term fixes can set you up for long-term success. Plenty of people lose weight and then put it all back on again, with a bit extra for good measure.
Here are 12 smart tips for creating a weight loss plan that will lead to lasting results.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Setting weight loss goals that are realistic is important both for your self-esteem and for actually achieving results. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week with a mix of reducing calories and exercising more. Drastic changes are hard to maintain. Small, incremental changes accumulate over time into bigger transformations.
2. Focus on Behaviours Not Outcomes
Sustainable weight loss stems from changes in daily behaviors, not anguish over the number on the scale. Whether it’s reducing portion sizes, adding more vegetables, cutting out sugary drinks, or taking more steps per day, focus on sticking to the behaviors that drive results. The weight loss will follow.
3. Track Your Food Intake
Awareness is key to changing your eating habits. Track everything you eat and drink for a week using a food journal app. This shines a light on unnecessary calories from mindless snacking or large restaurant portion sizes so you know exactly where to cut back. Studies show food tracking can double a person’s weight loss.
4. Cut Down on Added Sugar and Refined Carbs
Slashing your intake of added sugar and refined carbohydrates puts you at a huge advantage for losing weight sustainably. Avoid sugary drinks, limit sweets, choose whole grain over white bread and pasta, and stick to small portions of treats. Not only will you consume fewer calories, but you’ll also stabilize blood sugar levels which helps manage cravings.
5. Fill Up on Protein and Fiber
Eating more protein and fiber slows digestion and promotes feelings of fullness and satisfaction after eating, squashing overeating. Get your protein from chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Choose high-fiber whole foods like vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, and whole grains over processed carbs.
6. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is key for body functions like regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients, and curbing appetite. Carry a refillable water bottle and sip consistently throughout the day. Have a glass of water with every meal or snack to fill your stomach and prevent overeating. Sugary drinks and alcohol can sabotage goals through excess calories – avoid them.
7. Schedule Your Workouts
Just like important meetings, make your exercise schedule non-negotiable by planning workouts in advance. This prevents excuses for bumping sessions when your motivation is low. Calendar 3-5 workout days per week – mix cardio like brisk walking, running, or biking with strength training using weights, resistance bands, or your body weight.
8. Get More Sleep
Poor sleep sabotages willpower leading to carb cravings and higher calorie intake. It alters hormones, increasing your appetite. Getting 7-9 hours a night regulates the hormones that manage hunger and metabolism. It also gives you the energy needed to be active and make healthy food choices consistently. Make sleep a priority in your schedule.
9. Stay Accountable and Positive
Share your goals and progress with supportive friends and family. Having social accountability helps motivate you. Likewise, avoid “all or nothing” thinking. Slip-ups will happen. Forgive yourself and get back on track. Be patient and focus on every small win along the way for encouragement.
10. Measure Portions
Portion distortion is a huge contributor to overeating. Use measuring cups and food scales until you’re better at eyeballing proper portions. Stick within recommended serving sizes for grains (1/2 cup), protein (3-4 oz.), and dairy (1 cup milk/yogurt) rather than relying on massive dinner plates that encourage bigger portions.
11. Eat Mindfully
Make an effort to practice mindful eating by eliminating distractions and paying attention to the eating experience. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, put utensils down between bites, and notice flavours, textures and when you start to feel satisfied.
Using all your senses helps trigger the “I’m full” signal to prevent overeating. Being present curbs mindless nibbling straight from packages or during other tasks.
12. Introduce Supplements
Some popular supplements for weight loss are green tea extract, glucomannan fiber, and a fat burning supplement like Burn XT. While specific supplements may slightly boost weight loss, there are no miracle cures. You do still need to do the hard work and overhaul your diet and exercise routine.
Creating Lasting Lifestyle Changes
Use these 12 smart tips as a blueprint for designing your custom sustainable weight loss plan focusing on positive behaviours and lifelong lifestyle changes.
Small consistent adjustments to what you eat and drink, adopting regular exercise habits, getting proper sleep and staying held accountable ultimately accumulate to help you lose weight and keep it off for good. With commitment and patience, a healthier and happier you is within reach.