As a health coach, I’ve found that many clients feel uncomfortable saying they’d like to lose weight, as if it’s materialistic or wrong. They’ll preface a goal to lose 15 pounds with “I know weight doesn’t matter, but…” On the flip side, other clients feel like they’re supposed to want to lose weight, even if they feel great as they are, because weight loss and diet culture are so normalized. When I ask why weight loss is a goal, they’ll answer with “I don’t know, isn’t that healthy?” (The short answer: No, it’s not. “Healthy” is doing whatever makes you feel your best)
So here’s my preface: Instead of shaming yourself for whatever goal you do or don’t have, listen to your body, respect other women’s health goals, and know that what makes you feel good in your body is going to be different from anyone else. Now that we have that out of the way, if weight loss is a goal you know will help you feel energized, confident, and healthy, here are 11 easy weight loss tips you can follow to get you there.
1. First of all, chill out
Whether it’s around the holidays when we’re eating more sugar cookies or after 2020 when we did nothing but wait for the new binge-worthy Netflix show to drop, it’s normal for weight to fluctuate. Weight gain does not mean anything besides just that: You gained weight. It doesn’t mean you’re less attractive, strong, or lovable. It simply means your body is adjusting to a changing routine, and that’s OK. Your routine, lifestyle, and needs should change week to week, season to season, and year to year, and so should your body. Stress over weight gain is worse for your body than a bag of potato chips or carton of ice cream, so try not to feel guilt, shame, or stress. Instead, know that your body is doing what it’s supposed to. If you want to lose weight because you feel less connected to your body and just overall less healthy, then I commend you for knowing your body well enough to identify what it needs. But prioritize losing the shame around weight gain before losing the weight.
2. Don’t ignore cravings
Cravings are not your body’s way of sabotaging weight loss or health goals. Cravings are actually one of the key ways our bodies communicate with us what they need. Plus, if we have a major craving for delicious tacos and force ourselves to eat another boring salad instead, it can lead to bingeing, restrictive eating, and an unhealthy relationship with food. Now that will sabotage your health goals.
Instead, find alternatives with nutritious whole foods to nourish your body. For example, if you have a sweet tooth, grab a square of dark chocolate after dinner. If you’re craving chips or fries, DIY sweet potato fries, or if comfort foods are more your medicine of choice, try a cauliflower crust pizza or spaghetti squash to sneak in some extra veggies. For any other craving, check out these recipes to find a healthier alternative. Bottom line: Honor your body’s cravings in a way that will fit in as many nutrients as possible.
3. Take a work break with movement
You know when you mindlessly reach for your phone to scroll through Instagram or Tiktok after finishing a major task you’ve been working on for hours? Even though it’s a mindless habit, there’s actually a reason we reach for our phones throughout the workday–either your brain needs a break or you need a few minutes “off” to transition into the next task. The answer to break the habit (and help you lose weight) is not to push through and keep working. Honor your body and give it what it needs: a break. But instead of reaching for your phone, get up and move. Do some stretching, go through a yoga flow, or do 10 jumping jacks. Not only will movement help you refocus and reenergize better than an Instagram scroll ever would, but it’s also an easy way to fit in more movement and motivate yourself to make better choices for the rest of the day. 10 to 60 seconds of movement may not sound like a lot, but it all adds up to make a huge difference.
4. Drink more water
Drinking water is a tale as old as time, but there’s a reason it’s the most basic, universal health hack in the book. For me, drinking a big glass of water first thing when waking up, sipping on a reusable straw throughout the day (I’m partial to these pretty gold ones), and having three drinks at a time to achieve optimal hydration (like lemon water and green juice with my coffee) have made a drastic difference in how my body feels. If I get hungry soon after eating, I drink a big glass of water rather than going straight to the pantry to mindlessly snack (more on that below!). Of course, if I’m still hungry afterward, I’ll eat something nourishing (the body knows what it needs), but I’ve also learned that a lot of hunger cues are actually thirst. Try drinking more water every day and just watch how much better your body feels.
5. Go on a walk every day
Intense workout plans don’t always help us achieve health goals like we expect, and it’s often because the harder (or less enjoyable) a routine is, the less likely we are to stay consistent. If your idea of a worthwhile workout is a 60-minute intense HIIT session, you’re more likely to totally forego exercise altogether on days where you don’t have time or are too tired to find motivation. Instead, shift your focus to living less sedentary and moving more often. Whether workouts are a part of your daily routine or you haven’t worked out since P.E. class in high school, make it a goal to go on walks every day. Take your dog for a walk in the morning, go on a walk while listening to a podcast on a work break, or grab your significant other for a stroll in the evening and catch up on your days. Weight loss doesn’t need to come from sweaty workouts or hours spent at the gym. Instead, the secret lies in consistency and moving the body more often in whatever way feels best for you.
6. Get curious about your eating habits
Yes, cravings can tell us what our bodies need, but it’s not always about food. More often than not, whenever we mindlessly snack (like snacking while working or watching TV), it’s because our bodies are lacking something else, whether it’s a break, excitement, comfort, or joy. Every time you subconsciously reach for the bag of chips or Cheez-Its, ask yourself if you’re hungry or not. If you are, then great! You’re listening to your body’s cues. Proceed with the snack or make a snack that might feel more fulfilling and satisfying.
If you’re not hungry, ask yourself what void your body is trying to fill. Are you stressed and your body’s telling you to take a break from work or are you looking for a way to comfort yourself because you’ve been feeling extra anxious lately? Maybe it’s the lack of anything exciting to look forward to, so you’re supplementing with cheesy, delicious snacks that attempt to fill the void (but don’t really!). If you identify it is emotional snacking, try to feed your body in other ways: Take a work break and go for a walk, plan a fun movie night with your roommate, or just give yourself a little extra love.
7. Stop weighing yourself
PSA: You’ll see the most drastic changes when you enjoy healthy habits for both the mind and body rather than thinking you have to do them for weight loss. You’ll stop hating yourself when the scale isn’t moving quickly enough and instead will naturally look, feel, and be better when you give yourself the patience, trust, and self-love it requires to achieve health goals. This is not some BS self-help advice—being healthy for benefits like mental health and energy is what made the most drastic changes in my body (oh, and it was actually sustainable). When you’re focused on a number on the scale, you naturally feel more stressed, restricted, and disappointed. Instead, focus on how you feel to measure where you are. Don’t rely on an objective number to tell you how you’re supposed to feel.
8. Turn workouts into a social activity
Workouts don’t have to be another chore on your to-do list or something you have to force yourself to get through. In fact, you can reframe exercise so it’s as fun as happy hour with your friends and something you look forward to, like catching up with your sister. Especially if you have trouble sticking with exercise, working out with a friend will help keep you accountable and maybe even make you work harder if you’re competitive. Suggest going on a hike with a friend instead of meeting for coffee, start hitting the gym before work with your work wife, or invite your friends to your favorite workout class. Not only will you feel happier with more social connection and turn exercise into something to look forward to, but you’re also more likely to work out since you’ll have a friend to hold you accountable.
9. Eat more vegetables with every meal
One of the most effective changes you could make is learning about foods and the effects they have on the body. When you’re aware of the nutrients and benefits that come from whole foods, you start to see them as medicine and fuel rather than in categories of “good” or “bad” foods that you’re either supposed to eat or not supposed to eat (and just like bad boys and the cookie jar, we want it more when it’s off-limits).
Eating more vegetables can not only help you feel your best and start to crave fruits and vegetables (seriously), but it can also subconsciously crowd out processed and sugary foods (totally guilt-free). Do you typically have eggs for breakfast? No need to shift what you’re used to or enjoy. Instead, add some spinach to an omelet or put some avocado on top. Is pasta your go-to? Throw in some kale and asparagus and you’ll never feel deprived, and you’ll be giving your body nutrients that keep it healthy and crowding out the foods that don’t make you feel good.
10. Invest in your health
There’s a reason pricey gyms and diet programs work (even if it’s only temporarily): When people invest money, they’re more likely to show up. If your workout plan involves YouTube videos or yoga flows on your own and you find yourself never making time for exercise, it might be because you don’t have anything on the line. Try investing in an online subscription, a gym membership, or a pretty yoga mat or pair of dumbbells. Likewise, invest in healthy produce. Because fresh produce goes bad much quicker than a box of mac n’ cheese or a frozen pizza, you’re more likely to go for a meal incorporating the fruits and veggies, if for no other reason than that you don’t want your money to go to waste. There’s nothing more worthy of time and money than your most energetic, happiest, healthiest self, so start spending like it.
11. Ask yourself “why”
You already know that setting goals (like “work out more,” “eat healthier,” and yes, “lose weight”) are important so you know what to work toward. But why do you want to reach that goal? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to feel more confident, to feel less sluggish, or to heal symptoms? The root reason you want to reach your goals is so much more motivating than the goal itself could ever be. As much as you may feel like you want to lose weight or work out more, the feeling of confidence or knowing you’re investing in your future self for a long, healthy life is so much more motivating.
Also, reflecting on why you want to achieve your goals will help you find more clarity on how to achieve them (and whether or not you really want to achieve them). For example, if your goal is to be more confident, will losing weight truly help? If you know it would, what other things can you work on while simultaneously trying to lose weight to help boost your confidence? You’ll realize that any health goal (weight loss included) is a holistic process that isn’t just about diet or exercise but about every aspect of your life.
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