Losing weight is never easy and there’s no one tip that’s going to change that. However, it also doesn’t have to be as complicated a process as many of us make it by counting every calorie or stripping our diet of entire food groups while trying to follow aggressively restrictive diet plans.
Instead of adopting a radical or all-encompassing approach, try adopting a series of healthy habits and making them an integral part of your eating routine. As your good habits start to outweigh the bad, you may well find that losing weight and, crucially, maintaining a healthy weight become natural to you. And you’ll get to keep on eating carbs throughout.
Below you’ll find 26 tips that can put you on the path to losing weight. You don’t have to try to take on all 26 at once. In fact, we’d definitely advise against trying that, because you’ll overload yourself and quickly lose motivation. Pick a few to start with that you think you can manage, then keep coming back and adding more in to your lifestyle. Before too long you’ll find that the healthy choice becomes your first choice in all kinds of scenarios, and when you add all those together, you’ll be losing weight without even thinking about it.
1. Drink more water
The quickest and easiest way of reducing calorie intake is to drink more water. A study of more than 18,000 adults found that increasing daily water consumption by just 1% resulted in the intake of 70 fewer calories, while drinking three extra glasses lowered calorie intake by 205. Decreased sugar consumption was a main reason for the calorie reduction, according to the Journal Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics.
2. Be smart with carbs
Carbs still get a bad rap for making people fat. That’s partly because some types – think chips or crisps – are easy to over-eat. But wholegrain carbs, like unrefined brown bread, rice and pasta, can actually help you lose weight, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Eating wholegrains increases levels of betaine compounds, which improves glucose breakdown to keep your metabolism firing.
3. Eat more seafood
Eating oysters, crab, salmon and tuna, and other copper-rich foods like beef and brazil nuts, can help you lose fat by improving your fat cells’ ability to regulate metabolic processes, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University in the US. Subjects suffering from low copper levels had “fatter” fat cells, the researchers found, because the deficiency altered how these cells process the storage and burning of fatty acids and sugars.
4. Be mindful at meals
Sitting at a table to eat instead of doing it at your desk, on the sofa or standing up reduces your risk of over-eating by making you more mindful during meals. Research from Cornell University in the US found that people eat far more in social situations – think standing at the buffet, when walking or talking, or at your desk while working – than when sitting down and thinking about how each mouthful smells, tastes and feels.
5. Be consistent
“This doesn’t mean you have to do the same boring squat routine every day – it just means you have to be consistent with your fitness routine,” says Kira Mahal, trainer at MotivatePT. “It’s easy to start a new fitness routine but it’s very difficult to continue it. Write down your workouts for the week and make sure to stick to that.
“I recommend working out five days a week with two rest days in order to see results. Keep your workouts exciting by switching it up every day. After a few weeks, working out will become a habit and you will start to crave it.”
6. Beware added sugars
These can creep into all kinds of foods that you might not expect to be full of the sweet stuff, like condiments and shop-bought sauces. “Opting for foods without added sugar is a must,” says Jonny Mills, trainer at boutique fitness studio Sweat It. “Sugar spikes your blood glucose and if you don’t burn it off it’ll be stored as fat.”
7. Upgrade your tastes
TRY TO REMEMBER YOU’RE A GROWN-UP AND YOU EAT LIKE ONE“Make it easier for yourself to make better choices,” says personal trainer Jess Wolny. “The phrase ‘acquired taste’ is basically redundant for food – all your tastes are acquired, so acquire healthier tastes and you’ll want to eat healthier. Make the change to black coffee instead of cappuccinos or dark chocolate rather than a slab of Dairy Milk, and after a few weeks you’ll never want to go back. One good tip is to try to remember you’re a grown-up and you eat like one. When reaching for a snack, think: would a child want this? Don’t rely on willpower – this stuff isn’t supposed to be hard.”
8. Stay accountable
“Being accountable to yourself goes hand in hand with support from friends and family,” says personal trainer and physique coach Phil Graham. “Accountability comes in many forms – it could be just a promise to yourself or telling the whole world via social media – but it’s essential for keeping you motivated when the going gets tough. And a support network is also crucial for times when things go wrong and you need to get back on track. Even better, find someone who has been there and done it themselves because their advice and insight can be invaluable.”
9. Be a goal getter
“Too many people start their fat loss plan without setting an end date or a realistic goal,” says personal trainer Leon Kew. “You need targets to keep yourself motivated, especially for situations when it would be easy to make bad decisions – when you get offered cake on a colleague’s birthday, it’ll be easier to turn down if you know you’re only two weeks from your goal. Set a finish date that you are 100% confident you can hit. There will inevitably be times where you’re tempted to go back to old habits – and having a specific goal, with smaller milestones along the way, can keep you on track.”
10. Track your progress
“It’s vital to take photos and measurements and keep a training diary that details not just moves you do and weights you lift, but also how the session felt,” says personal trainer and fitness model Olly Foster. “This will give you the insight to make smart changes to your programme to keep your body guessing so the fat keeps falling off.”
11. Record what you eat
“Writing down what you eat is a great way of tracking your eating habits,” says personal trainer Adam Jones. “Does your nutrition differ on weekends or under times of stress? To go one step further, you could do this with a training partner and show each other what you’re eating. No one wants to write down McDonald’s or Krispy Kremes if they’re in friendly competition.”
12. Clean out your cupboards
“If I am trying to get lean I won’t keep foods at home I know I should be avoiding,” personal trainer at UP Fitness Marbella Shaun Estrago. “Even if you have amazing willpower it can be almost impossible to get in after a very long day and eat the food you know you should when there’s a stack of tasty treats just an open cupboard door away.”