We’d all love to lose that extra five, 10, or 15 pounds. And while we invariably begin attacking our new weight-loss goals with gusto (hello, “new year, new you!”), the bigger problem is sticking to said healthy goals and finding the weight loss motivation to get through the tough days.
Too often we find ourselves sliding back into our bad habits and seeing our goals fall by the wayside. To ensure that that never happens to you, follow these genius, iron-clad, time-tested, and science-backed strategies to take the weight off and keep it off.
1. Eat a Protein-Heavy Breakfast
Even if you aren’t hungry when you wake up, put down a breakfast focused on lean protein—two or three eggs, piece of toast, and half an avocado—and not one centered on processed, sugary grains drowned in milk. Morning fuel has been shown to tamp down binges later in the day and boost metabolism, which means you won’t need as much weight loss motivation throughout the day.
2. Don’t Eat In Front of The TV
Fact: Eating a proper meal in your dining room with a proper place setting—and proper company—will amp up your feelings of responsibility and bring more meaning to the food. Schlepping a bowl of goop to the couch and plopping down in front of the TV? That will psychologically make your food seem inconsequential and meaningless, increasing your chance of abusing it.
3. Brush Your Teeth More Often
To limit any craving or dessert binges after eating your dinner, try loading up the toothbrush and giving your pearly whites a scrub. The minty flavor and clean teeth will shut down your appetite and prevent you from wanting to indulge anymore.
4. Know The Grocery Store Layout
You know by now that cutting processed foods is a great first step to eating healthier, but a simple trick to avoid being pulled in by their carb-heavy call is to stick to shopping the perimeter of your grocery store.
That’s where the good, whole food hangs out, not in the middle where frozen foods and processed fare lurks.
5. Drink Water All The Time, Especially in the Morning
Getting plenty of H2O is essential for efficient organ operation, muscle energy, supple skin, and can even help with weight-loss efforts. More water means you’re getting less calories from other beverages like soda and sports drinks. Plus: Downing a glass before a meal can help temper your appetite and make you eat less.
6. Buy A Multi-Cooker
If you are scared of the kitchen but want to start creating healthier meals, invest in a slow cooker or one of the new hybrids that combines a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and even a sauté function, to make whipping up something delicious easy and quick. The simplicity of great food at home is a great weight loss motivation and will help keep you away from fat-laden choices from fast food joints or regular restaurants.
7. Weigh Yourself Constantly
If there’s one weight loss motivation trick successful doers always do, it’s weighing themselves. Along with tracking your fitness goals and counting calories, keeping close tabs on your weight has been shown to assist in losing and, especially once it’s gone, keeping off the pounds.
Splurge on one of the new connected smart scales that will report your progress to your smartphone complete with heart rate, bone density, and muscle mass measurements. Or just get a cheap-o from the department store.
8. Drop The Fruit Juice
Fruit juice has long been thought off as a healthy drink, but it’s filled with lots of sugar (about 25–35 grams per serving), and it doesn’t include any of fiber’s weight-loss benefits that you get from consuming whole fruit. Stick to eating actual fruit, and if you must have some juice, cut it down with seltzer.
9. Clean Out The Pantry
Before heading into a weight loss motivation journey, you need to take stock of the current state of your pantry. Toss any of the foods that you find yourself constantly snacking on and turning to in times of stress, which usually are those with processed carbs and refined sugars—sweets, chips, cookies, cakes.
10. Limit Eating Out
If you’ve decided to dedicate more time to cooking food at home, you will naturally resist going out for meals. It will save you money in the long run—save it for a few trips to the beach with your new body—and food typically found in restaurants is higher in calories and fat.
11. Use Smaller Plates
Poor portion control is a leading cause of obesity, but an easy way to combat confusing perceptions is to use smaller dishware. Pick the little plate and the small bowl instead of reaching for the large stuff and you’ll start to eat less at each sitting.
12. Buy Better Leftover Containers
Making meals at home means you’ll have lots of tasty leftovers that work great for lunches at work and quick dinners when you’re busy. But invest in some good storage options, like glass containers with click-top lids—or even a vacuum sealer—and you’ll get even more mileage out of your healthy meals.
13. Visualize Your Portions Properly
Using dishes that are smaller can help with portions, but you also need to divide them up by their nutritional content to make sure you are feeding your body what it needs, in the right amount to lose weight. The lean protein portion should be about the size of both of your open palms, two fists for veggies and/or carbs, one to two thumbs for fats, and a fingertip or two for oils.
14. Use Smarter Substitutions
Looking for ways to substitute your favorite indulgences with healthier foods is essential to keeping your weight-loss effort consistent. For example, you can make a pizza crust from broccoli and mashed potatoes from cauliflower, and also use Portobello mushrooms or lettuce wraps for buns. And knowing you can still have the foods you love is some of the best weight loss motivation out there!
15. Keep A Strict Sleep Schedule
Scientists now know that getting consistent and restorative sleep each night is one of the keys to a healthier life and lower body weight. Tips to make sure you’re maximizing snooze time include setting up a dark, cool bedroom; cutting off screen time to an hour before bed, no caffeine or alcohol a few hours before sleeping, and sticking to a solid sleep schedule.
16. When You Fail, Simply Move On
We all fall off our plans every now and then. The trick isn’t to let it derail the entire plan. If your plan means hitting the gym 4 days a week and avoiding carbs—and you can’t help but hit up your friend’s pizza party on Wednesday night—don’t let feelings of guilt keep you from picking up where you left off on Thursday.