Theoretically, the key to weight loss is simple. You just have to eat healthy and exercise.
But that’s so much easier said than done. We talked to women who never diet to uncover their secrets to staying slim.
And I have first hand knowledge that they work! I’ve tried most of them and they have helped me lose 13 pounds in the past month – without really tagging on more exercise or eating any less than normal.
1. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash a piece of fruit and pack of nut butter in your car or purse and keep snacks in your office desk drawer — anything that will keep you from going hungry!
Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day.
2. Walk everywhere
The postmen (and postwomen) of the world have it right. Neither snow, nor rain, now hail, nor sleet…
A good tip is to install an app on your phone to track your steps to make sure you get at least 10,000 steps every day.
To hit this goal, walk everywhere. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Park further away from the mall entrance. Borrow your neighbour’s dog and take it for a walk.
When you get 10,000 steps a day, your body will feel physically energized and you’ll lose weight. Win-win.
3. Be aware of your stress levels
If you’re struggling with belly fat, your stress levels could be the culprit. Stress actually triggers the production of cortisol, which increases blood sugar.
An increase in blood sugar over a long time causes fat to be stored in our belly, one of the most problematic areas for women. When you learn to deal with stress better, you’ll rely less on cutting calories, or exercising more to get rid of our stubborn fat. You probably don’t have to do either and will still lose your belly fat.
4. Don’t eat in front of a screen
Yep, that includes all TV, phones, computers, and tablets. People who eat while distracted consume more and are less likely to remember how much they ate, sometimes by as much as 25 percent.
Often, we consume calories mindlessly when distracted by technology. This one simple boundary helps me be more mindful of what—and how much—I eat.
5. Maintain a healthy body image
Most people don’t succeed with their weight-loss goals until they learn to respect themselves and their bodies.
Body image struggles based on self-esteem can create the desire to eat, which releases hormones that give a quick euphoria or numbing quality. This is what happens with most binge eating.
The best way to prevent this distorted mindset is to accept your current body, and then aim for a realistic body weight.
6. Don’t obsess over weight loss
Once your mind is in a healthy place, your body is sure to follow. Put energy into other hobbies, interests, and pursuits that give life more meaning.
When we are so focused on self-improvement, we simply don’t put effort into living in the here and now.
We can gain so much from letting go of the notion that our bodies need to be fixed.
7. Stay hydrated
Water gets the blood flowing through your body and aids in weight loss. Hydration is key to avoid false hunger cues.
Aim to drink 8 glasses (or 64 oz) of unsweetened liquid each day, including water, sparkling water, and unsweetened tea.
8. Prioritize self care
Self-care is crucial for mental and physical well-being. Studies have found that a more psychological approach for weight loss can successfully end periods losing and regaining weight.
This may include getting enough rest, scheduling downtime, making time for family and friends, or spending alone time on an enjoyable activity.
This may also include saying ‘no’ to commitments or activities that would be draining rather than energizing.
9. Don’t stuff yourself
If your stomach feels like it’s about to burst, stop eating.
Seems simple enough, but it can be harder than it sounds (especially when the food is good).
Here’s a tough but handy tip when I’m about to pop the button on my pants, and I feel like I just have to have those last few bites. Pour salt on whatever it is and ruin it, so you literally can’t have anymore. It simply gives you no choice but to stop eating.
10. Find a way to move that you love doing
Exercise as a replacement to dieting is rarely enjoyable. So, try finding a physical activity you actually consider fun.
That way, you’re more likely to make it a part of your daily or weekly routine. Exercise doesn’t have to be slogging away on a treadmill or sweating it out in a class. Get outdoors or try something new to discover what feels good for your body.
11. Don’t restrict the foods you love
For a happier relationship with food, avoid categorizing anything as “bad”.
It’s tempting to fall into the latest diet craze by banning gluten, carbs, sugar, or processed foods, but it’s not necessary to do that in order to stay slim.
Restricting certain foods, especially those that you love, just makes you more obsessed with them and more likely to overeat when your willpower gives in (and it usually gives in eventually).
12. Get enough sleep
You may have heard that chronically sleep-deprived people are more likely to be overweight. That’s because we all produce a hormone called ghrelin, which signals your body when it’s time to eat.
Sleep-deprived people make more ghrelin, making you feel hungry even if you don’t need to eat.
Personally, when I am well-rested, I have energy to hit the gym, work more efficiently, and battle cravings for sweets or junk food.