When it comes to weight loss, there are a million different tips and tricks out there that claim to deliver fast and easy results. The truth is, however, that true and sustained weight loss takes time. If you want to lose weight (and keep it off), the best way to go about it is to slowly but surely revamp your eating and exercise habits.
Crash dieting for a week or two in order to fit into a dress will only result in exhaustion and rapid weight gain after the initial weight loss, oftentimes resulting in more weight gained than lost. However, weight loss doesn't have to result from boring calorie-counting meals and perfectly choreographed workouts. In fact, there are still some old-school weight loss tips that have held up pretty well throughout the years.
So if you're willing to put in the time and effort, check out these time-tested weight loss tips that really work.
Before you groan and roll your eyes, know that meal prep is one of the easiest things to do to reach your weight loss goals. Putting in just a little bit of planning and prep work for the days or week ahead can help you stay on track.
The best part of meal prep is that it can be different for everyone; you can be as specific as you want. If you struggle with making healthy dinners after work, take a few minutes to plan easy, healthy dinners for the week. Or if you'd rather put in the leg work now, you can physically prep ingredients, sauces, portion sizes, etc.
You'll find that it's so much easier to get in healthy foods you typically struggle eating enough of, whether it's fruits and veggies or simply 64 ounces of water per day. (Pro tip: Invest in a large reusable water bottle!)
Have a backup plan
If you're someone who sleeps through multiple alarms every morning, have a backup healthy breakfast ready (like a box of protein bars) in case you don't wake up in time to prepare your morning smoothie or oatmeal.
Even better, stake out the fast food joints around your work and home and see which have healthy options you could turn to in a real pinch — because you won't always have a spare protein bar stashed away in your purse or desk.
Use a smaller plate
Ever heard the trick that using a smaller plate come meal times will help you lose weight? It really works! Not only is there less food on your plate for you to actually eat, but you'll feel fuller knowing you licked your plate clean.
Chances are, once you finish eating from your salad plate (rather than dinner plate), you'll be full enough that you don't feel the need to get up from the table and serve yourself another plate.
You're probably not as hungry as you think you are
A hardcore workout or super long day at the office can leave you feeling famished — we've all been there. But in reality, you're probably not actually as hungry as you think you are. Try downing a glass of water before your meal to help satiate your hunger; oftentimes the body misinterprets thirst as hunger.
If it's not thirst making you feel hungry, it could be social constructs like meal times telling your brain that it's time to eat. Next time you're working at your desk and realize it's past lunchtime, do a "mental scan" of your body to see if you're actually as hungry as your brain is trying to convince you. If you are, great! Eat up. If not, stick to your normal portion sizes instead of supersizing your meal.
Go halvsies when you're out to eat
Eating out is really hard when you're trying to lose weight. Although most restaurants are required to put calorie amounts on menus these days, the sights and smells can be enough to coerce you into ordering the most indulgent item on the menu.
But we're not here to tell you to order a boring salad with vinaigrette dressing. In fact, denying yourself your favorite foods or cravings could lead to a dangerous binge down the road. Go ahead and indulge in your favorite menu item — but go halvsies on it, whether that means splitting it with a friend or packing up half to take home for leftovers.