When you’re trying to lose weight, it can feel like you have to make an incredible effort, only to see little-to-no results after months of hard work. The truth, though, is that your weight loss journey will be much easier if you choose the right habits to focus on and do them consistently over time. If you’re looking for the best way to lose weight and keep it off, try these six tips to help you get started.
1) Update your mindset
The first step in weight management is an upgrade to your mindset. So many people have an all-or-nothing mentality around their health and weight, and changing this mindset can be one of the most important parts of successfully losing weight. An all-or-nothing mindset can look like always starting on a Monday, falling "off the wagon" every time you eat something you think you shouldn't, slipping into bad habits because you missed a couple days of exercise.
The truth is that health and weight management are not all-or-nothing. They are routines, behaviours and a lifestyle that you choose to try to do consistently as possible. It is much more important to try to make healthy choices most of the time than to quit altogether because you made one small mistake.
So upgrade your mindset from all-or-nothing to consistently trying your best to make healthy choices most of the time. Give yourself grace on the days when you don't fit in a walk, and allow yourself to eat the cake when you've made healthy choices for most of the week. You don't need to wait until Monday to start and you don't need to get it 100% right. Just wake up each day and do your best to choose healthy habits and soon, it will feel natural and become a part of who you are.
2) Drink lots of water
Staying well hydrated is a key part of weight management and weight loss. Many people don't drink enough water, and being dehydrated can leave you feeling sluggish, tired, cravings and hungrier. Often, when people are feeling "hungry", their body may actually just be trying to communicate that they're dehydrated. Feeling sluggish and tired will give you a craving for carbs, sweets, comfort food, when really your body may just need more water! To top it off, when you're dehydrated, you probably won't feel quite as up for a workout or a walk as you normally are.
Making it a habit to drink enough water will make you feel better AND help you lose weight and maintain your healthy habits. Try getting out your favourite water bottle and just making a habit of carrying it around with you. If you don't like plain water, try infusing it with lemon, lime, strawberry or cucumber. And drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning and before each meal.
3) Get enough sleep
It sounds like common sense, but sleep is critical for maintaining a healthy weight. If you think of a day when you didn't get enough sleep the night before, you were probably feeling tired, dragging your heels, craving more caffeine or carbs to get energy. Now if that's how you feel, how likely do you think you are to get a workout in? To go for a walk in the evening? To make a healthy supper rather than grabbing takeout?
Sleep is an incredibly important component of a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep for you (usually about 7-9 hours for most people) will set up the foundation for you feel good and make choices that will lead to better weight management.
4) Veggies first
When it comes to making healthy meals and Canada's food guide, we know that we need to eat more veggies. Sometimes that's easier said than done, so try implementing these three easy tricks to get more veggies in:
- Make sure you have a veggie with every meal
- Get creative with how you cook or serve veggies (i.e. try spices, seasoning, sauces to make them delicious)
- Put your veggies on your plate first (try to get about 40-50% of your plate filled with vegetables at each meal)
5) Move your body
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Beyond weight loss, exercise helps to keep your muscles, bones, heart and lungs healthy.
If you're just getting started with exercise, just start with just going for a short walk a couple times a week. Any amount, even 10 minutes, is better than nothing. Don't think you need the perfect plan and never miss a day in order for exercise to be beneficial. Start somewhere (you can always work up from there) and don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.
If you're already doing exercise but struggle with consistency, just make sure to find something you ENJOY doing (which may change over time) and something that is right for you.
6) Be mindful
Finally, be mindful at mealtimes. Turn off the TV, put away your phone for a few minutes and stop rushing between one activity and the next just long enough to be mindful while you eat your food. Sometimes, if you're not actually paying attention to what you're eating, your body won't register it the same and may leave you feeling hungry, unsatisfied or wanting seconds when you may not need another portion. Meals can be a great time to connect with your family or just have some quiet time to yourself, so put away the distractions and be present!
If you're looking for help with your weight management, we have a fantastic program through our clinics that can help. Our Optifast program is a full meal replacement program that is clinically proven to help you lose weight, and our team is here to support you with the advice and education you need to keep it off.