101 Realistic Ways To Lose Weight
Weight loss isn’t rocket science- the problem with losing weight is having to wade through the cacophony of often contradictive information and misinformation in the media and internet. Temporary weight loss is easy- as just about everyone has lost weight for a short period of time and in time put it right back on- the challenge is to keep it off. Which isn’t easy given the ever present distracting voices of the innumerable weight loss products, videos, foods and supplements. All seeking to create some degree of confusion in the consumer and get you to buy their products. In this blog article I share some of the tried and true strategies that I have used over the past 23 years as a personal trainer. Methods that have helped thousands lose weight and more importantly- keep it off. It’s a long list and so I advise you to read it in pieces, making small changes as time goes by instead of trying to do everything all at once. Weight loss is one of the few races where slow and steady makes you a winner and you’ll see that you can achieve your weight loss goals without supplements, fad diets, pills or powders. Thanks for reading and do be sure to share this with anyone who you think might benefit from it. P.S.: It’s actually 102 Realistic Ways To Lose Weight as I added an extra tip!
101 Realistic Ways to Lose Weight- A Good Start
1. Have a big breakfast rich in high fiber carbohydrates and lean proteins and have higher fat foods later in the day when you are more likely to be hungry and possibly overeat.
2. Make breakfast the biggest meal of the day, lunch the second largest meal of the day and dinner the smallest meal of the day.
Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper. Get a copy of my free weight loss ebook here.
3. Always leave 1/3 of your stomach empty when you eat. Never eat to the point of feeling full.
4. Never use artificial sweeteners! Not only can they make you gain weight but also make you more likely to eat sweet foods. Read my article on How Artificial Sweeteners Can Make You Gain Weight here
5. Keep the sauces on the side and don’t feel obliged to try it. Sauces tend to be high in liquid calories so they are often best avoided or used in extreme moderation when you are trying to lose weight.
6. Use nuts as a snack later in the day to avoid cravings. See my article here on 5 Ways Nuts Helps You Lose Weight
7. When faced with a food that you want to eat- distract yourself by doing something else. Learn more about behavior strategies to lose weight here.
8. If you eat uncontrollably at night, go to bed earlier and remove activities like extensive internet surfing and television watching at night that encourage snacking behavior. Read my article here on Late Night Eating
9. Don’t keep the foods you shouldn’t eat in the house- there is an old saying that locks keep honest men and women honest and this holds true for junk foods as well. If you don’t have it around it won’t tempt you.
10. Don’t go supermarket shopping when you are hungry. It makes you more likely to put more high calorie processed foods in your shopping cart.
11. Understand that terms like organic or natural are often marketing tools designed to make you eat what you shouldn’t or pay more for certain foods- don’t use it as an eating pass.
12. Don’t use agave or honey as a sugar substitute. They can make you gain weight just as surely as any other form of sugar. Instead learn to enjoy your foods without added sugar. Read my article on Agave & Honey here.
13. Drink water instead of juices. Even the best of juices are unnatural as far as your body is concerned as they lack the fiber and the bulk that the human body has evolved to eat over millions of years. Eating fruit won’t raise blood sugar levels the way juices will and you are far less likely to overeat fruit than you are to overdo your calorie intake with juices.
14. Stay away from diet soda. It’s unhealthy in it’s own way and it keeps you from fully learning how to not drink soda. See my article on Diet Soda here.
15. Have more fats in your foods as the day draws on. It will help you keep your blood sugar levels steady and minimize overeating if done in moderation.
16. Don’t take the skin off your chicken- just cut the amount you eat by 1/3 if you need to reduce your calories.
17. Use fish or lean proteins as your primary protein source
18. Don’t drink protein shakes. Read my article Protein Shakes Are Bad For You for more information
19. Don’t use food bars as meal replacements. Read more in my article Surprisingly Unhealthy Health Foods
20. Don’t have milk or sugar with your coffee- learn to drink it black.
21. Drop coffee entirely and drink green tea.
22. Be sure to get consistent hours of sleep.
23. Learn to cook your foods and carry them with you to work.
24. Stay away from wheat products unless it’s bread made with only water, stone ground wheat and yeast. Read my article Can Bread Make You Gain Weight here
25. Eat more carbohydrates on days you exercise, then drop your carbs and eat more protein on your off days.
26. Cut out all soy products from your diet.
27. Eat fruit but never late at night when you might overdo it.
28. Eat as much vegetables as you want and then some.
29. Eat vegetables or fruits but not in drinks like smoothies. Read my article on Glycemic Index here
30. If you have a wrap or sandwich, leave the bread behind.
31. Don’t leave the house without a clear plan of where and what you will eat during the day.
101 Realistic Ways to Lose Weight- Incorporate Weight Training
32. Make sure your incorporate weight training into your exercise routine at least three times a week
33. Don’t cheat on weekends. It is a horrible idea, encourages consumption of the wrong foods and prevents you from learning to let go of junk foods permanently. There are no days off when you are focused on a healthy lifestyle, and that’s the key to outstanding weight loss success.
34. Don’t beat yourself up when you cheat on your diet. It happens to everyone and you have to just get back up and keep trying. Read my article on Guilt and Weight Loss here
35. Choose natural carbohydrate sources for lunch such as roots and rices over pastas.
36. Don’t be discouraged when your friends or family members try to get you to break your diet. Remember that it is a personal journey.
37. Keep in mind that the more weight you lose the hungrier you will get, so eat more frequent meals as you lose more weight
38. Don’t be obsessive but if you keep a food journal for a week and you will usually see the patterns you need to address to lose weight.
39. Don’t count calories or weigh everything you eat. Such unnatural approaches make it hard to do what we were designed to do- which is enjoy our foods.
40. Stop eating cold cereals. Even the ones they tout as healthy are still exceptionally refined food products that are all too easy ways to add inches to your waist.
41. Always eat for what you are going to do next- not what you have already done. That being said never have a big dinner unless you are going to exercise afterwards.
42. Eat a full and healthy meal before going to parties or functions. That way you are less likely to overdo it.
43. Be patient. It usually takes years to put on weight don’t expect to lose it in a matter of weeks.
44. Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week. It can only lead to frustration
45. Don’t rely on the scale- it can’t tell you how much fat you lost or how much lean muscle you have built and that’s all that matters.
46. Don’t drop your carbohydrate intake to the point where you feel tired or lethargic. Ketosis based dieting won’t work long term and will only make you more likely to binge when you stop.
47. Understand that you will lose a significant amount of weight in the beginning and as time goes on you will lose less and less weight. It doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress but is simply how the human body works.
101 Realistic Ways to Lose Weight- Lifestyle Changes
48. People, Places and Things. Take a page from substance abuse addiction recovery techniques and do your best to stay away from people, places and things that encourage you to overeat or eat the wrong foods. It isn’t always easy though.
49. Don’t go for more than three hours without eating something. Doing so will lower your blood sugar levels and make it more likely for you to have cravings that cause you to eat the wrong foods.
50. Keep in mind that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint and that slow and steady wins the day.
51. Accept that there are certain foods that simply cannot be a part of your life anymore.
52. Don’t fall for the idea that everything is okay in moderation. It’s a marketing strategy promoted by the food industry and obesity clinics are filled with people who eat the wrong foods in moderation.
53. Any food with a pervasive amount of advertising designed to promote how healthy it is should be suspect. Truly healthy food like fruits and vegetables doesn’t need good PR for you to know it is healthy.
54. Don’t think that because you are exercising that you need sports drinks. The average beverage has you taking in as much as 9 packets of sugar which won’t help your weight loss aspirations one bit!
55. Understand that what is sold at a Starbucks, or any trendy coffee shop is usually just as high in calories as what someone would order at Mc Donald’s or Dunkin Donuts- you are just paying more for it.
56. Don’t drink calories- drink water. Juices (even the ones that claim to be healthy) and special drinks all add extra empty calories to your diet. Extra calories that can increase your body fat levels and bring on Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
57. If you want fruit juice- don’t drink juice- have fruit.
58. Do make sure you center your exercise routine around a program of short but intense weight training movements. You will build muscle that will not only make you look better and increase your strength and mobility but also increase your metabolism and help you keep the weight off long term.
59. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day- but dinner is the one that tends to do the most damage. Always have dinner planned and food available. If you get home at night and don’t have anything wholesome to eat you are far more likely to blow your diet with something quick and fattening.
60. Understand that it will get progressively harder as you lose more weight. Keep in mind that our bodies simply were not designed to lose weight but to gain weight. So as your body fat levels drop, hormones trigger an increase in appetite which makes you want to eat even more. Read my article The More Weight You Lose The Harder It Is To Lose Weight
61. To combat the urge to eat more as you lose more body fat focus on a high intensity weight training program to help you build muscle so you can eat more and not gain weight. Read our whitepaper on high intensity training and weight loss here
101 Realistic Ways to Lose Weight- Food Timing
62. Get enough sleep. Numerous studies have linked lack of sleep to difficulty in losing weight. Keep in mind that it isn’t just about how many hours you get but the regularity of those hours. So try to sleep at the same times. Read my article on Sleep and Weight Loss here
63. Make sure you eat most of your food earlier in the day as eating most of your calories later in the day can increase body fat stores even if you don’t eat that much overall for the day. Read my article Eating Late Can Make You Gain Weight here
64. Life doesn’t revolve around convenience. Losing weight and getting into shape means changing your lifestyle and making some sacrifices here and there.
65. Add natural high fiber and satisfying foods like lentils to increase the protein and fiber content of your meals. The fiber in lentils will make you feel satisfied longer and so you’ll be less likely to snack between meals
66. On days that you are not active replace carbs like rice with higher fiber vegetables or small portions of yam or sweet potato.
67. Don’t count calories. Doing so tends to lead to unnatural relationships with the food you are meant to enjoy. Instead keep it simple, stick to natural foods and don’t overdo your portions. Refined foods are easy to overeat but not natural ones, and it is a better strategy than any artificial point system or calorie calculation. Read my article on Understanding Calories here
68. Learn to read labels. If a food is low in fiber, high sugar and in calories you should skip it.
69. Learn what ingredients to stay away from. Many food additives from high fructose corn syrup to monosodium glutamate and hydrogenated oils are not only bad for your health but are purposely added to foods to trick your brain into wanting more. Especially guilty are low fat foods which use additives to keep foods appealing after the fats are taken out.
70. Don’t miss meals- Missing meals can be just as bad as eating junk as it can drop your blood sugar and creates cravings later in the day which increase the likelihood that you will overeat.
71. Research and identify 3 places you work, live or go to school that have acceptable foods that you can get if you need to eat and don’t have anything with you.
75 Don’t rush your meals no matter what. Make time to sit down and enjoy your meals as eating fast can make you overeat. Read my article on Eating Slowly To Lose Weight here
76. Vary your diet so you won’t get bored. Boredom from lack of variety has toppled many a dieter, so always change things up with new recipes.
78. On the days that you don’t exercise, reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal by 1/3.
79. Have grapefruits, pineapple and nuts as standing snacks that you can eat at anytime that you get hungry.
80. Switch from grains like rice to roots like sweet potatoes and yams as a source of carbohydrates during the day. They are higher in fiber, have a natural and satisfying sweetness and helps you eat less.
81. Don’t lower your fat intake to much! You need fats for testosterone production and most low fat products are actually worse than the natural ones.
82. Drink more water. Everyone should drink 10 glasses to as much as a gallon of water every day depending on your weight and activity level. If you drink that much pure water every day, you won’t miss the high sugar and empty calorie juices. Be sure to drink most of your water earlier in the day and stop drinking 2 hours before bed so it will not disturb your sleep.
83. Monitor your water intake to make sure you are getting enough. Fill a container with water and carry it with you throughout the day for an accurate assessment of how much you are drinking and to ensure that you don’t get thirsty and think about drinking juices.
84. Don’t think in terms of “I will never eat x ever again” Such ways of thinking are counterproductive and be somewhat overwhelming. Instead just go day by day. Read my article on Guilt & Weight Loss here
85. Don’t get stuck in junk food funnels. If you know you are going to the movies, a party, the gym or anywhere that you may get hungry and have only unhealthy choices, eat before you go or carry food with you.
86. Believe in yourself. One of the most insidious aspects of weight loss marketing is that you need a pill, a powder or some external device to be able to get in shape. You don’t need anything but exercise, patience, moderation and consistency.
87. Accept that your friends or family may not necessarily be supportive. One of the common reasons why people don’t lose weight is because they feel sabotaged by the people around them. People don’t always mean to derail your efforts by offering you cake or something unhealthy to eat, but very often they do. Be aware that the decision to get into better shape is yours, not theirs and don’t expect others to always understand.
88. When eating out skip the sauces. Almost any sauce you get in a restaurant adds extra and unwanted calories to your meal. Always ask for the sauce on the side or even better don’t ask for it at all. Read more in my Restaurant Guide For Healthy Eating here
89. Eat a light high protein meal before going out to eat if you are going somewhere where you might be tempted to overdo it. That way you won’t show up hungry and will be more likely to stay on track.
90. Harness the fat burning power of protein. Research has shown that people consuming a high protein meal burn twice as many calories afterwards than those eating a high carbohydrate diet. Don’t use protein shakes, though as liquids don’t satisfy your appetite as well as solids nor do they create the increase in metabolism that you would get from natural foods like chicken, fish and meat.
91. If you have a craving, take some time out to do something else to distract yourself. It’s called metacognition and it really does work. Read more about How To Deal With Cravings here
92. Stop dairy. Milk is a high calorie drink made of sugar, salt and fats that are designed to help infant mammals gain weight. That said, it is not a food for adults trying to lose weight. Half and half and skim milk are also high in liquid calories and sugars so keep it out of your diet as well. Read more about Milk And Why You Don’t Need It here
93. Never use instant over whole grain or steel cut oatmeal. Read more about best oatmeal choices here
94. Don’t drink alcohol, especially after a workout. Read more about Alcohol and Working Out here
95. Understand that you will have to work on yourself to see your progress as what you see in the mirror won’t be how you look if you don’t take some time to accept yourself. See my article on What’s In The Mirror Isn’t Always There
96. You don’t have to eat less to lose weight- in fact you do better by eating more- more natural or minimally processed foods. Read my article on The Evolutionary Argument For Eating More To Lose Weight
97. Starving yourself or fasting isn’t the answer to losing weight- sensible and steady diet is. Read my article on Intermittent Fasting here
98. Understand that a health claim on a food should make you suspect it more as they are mainly tools the food industry uses to make you eat more. Read my article- The Economics of Obesity
99. Don’t put your focus on aerobics- it won’t help you build the body you want and is not the best method for losing body fat. Read my article- Rethinking The Need For Aerobics here
100. If you can stand, don’t sit. It might sound trivial, but when bodybuilders are bulking up the adage is that if you don’t have to stand up, sit down- and studies show that the reverse is in fact true!
101. Accept yourself where you are and don’t try to lose weight because you are frustrated, do it because you want to be a better you. Read my article on the Importance of Self Acceptance for Successful Weight Loss.
102. Keep in mind that you might have to deal with excess skin after losing a significant amount of weight but if you plan ahead you’ll minimize that occurrence. Read my article on Dealing With Loose Skin After Weight Loss here.
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to network TV, Kevin Richardson is the international fitness consultant for UNICEF, natural bodybuilding champion, creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Learn more about his award winning personal training services here!
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