Tons of people the world over want to lose weight for one reason or another. For some people, it’s because they don’t feel comfortable or sexy in their own skin. For others, it may be because their doctors are imploring them to lose weight or else suffer from the consequences of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Some people may simply want to fit into their clothes again, perhaps after giving birth.
Whatever the reason, weight loss is a really challenging endeavor for a lot of people. Losing weight often requires changing habits, and habit-changing is incredibly difficult for humans because by our very nature, we are creatures of habit. We don’t like to change, nor do we ever particularly want to change.
However, when push comes to shove, and you decide you finally want to lose weight, here are some tips to help you. You’ll often see tips online about “how to lose 15 pounds in a month,” but I think there are too many variables to validate that claim for everyone. You will succeed — and fail — at different rates, so simply stay the course. Be patient, and your hard work will pay off.Some tips to help you lose weight safely:
Eat breakfast. Starting your day with a healthy and balanced breakfast is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism and gets the day going strong. Stay away from super-sugary cereals that are basically like eating bowls of ice cream for breakfast; opt instead for some whole-grain rich carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables.
Drink water. Many times we eat not because we’re hungry but instead because we are thirsty. Staying hydrated regularly all day long can help you learn to differentiate between actual hunger pangs and thirst. Again, a lot of people tend to drink super sugary drinks like sodas and juices, but calorically, they are horrible for you and offer little to nothing in the way of nutritional benefits. If you get bored with water, consider adding some lime or lemon to it (homemade spa water!), or you can alternate coffee and tea in the mix, too; just go easy on the sweeteners and creamers.
Set realistic expectations. Most healthcare professionals will tell you that you can safely lose anywhere from .5-2 pounds a week for healthy weight loss. Any more than that is usually unsustainable and unsafe and can be indicative of a medical issue. I would discourage you from setting drastic weight loss goals that are beyond this .5-2 pound range each week and instead, urge you to consider long-term goals that span a several-month period of time.
Realize that men lose weight more easily than women. Simply due to men’s and women’s differing metabolisms, it’s worth acknowledging that women and men often tend to lose weight at drastically different rates. Particularly if you are a postpartum mama, you may have a very different weight loss rate than, say, a girlfriend who has never been pregnant before. Be easy and gracious on yourself.
Don’t try to lose weight if you’re pregnant or freshly postpartum. If you’re pregnant or just had a baby, unless otherwise specified directly by your physician, don’t try to lose weight during this critical period of your life. Not only can you affect the health and well-being of your fetus or child, but you can also do deleterious damage to yourself.
Move more. Many people gain weight and then struggle to lose it because as we age, our metabolism changes and many of us become more sedentary. Make it a point to move more each day; you can do things like go for walks, take the stairs, or simply park further away from storefronts than you usually would. Everything matters, even if it seems like it is so inconsequential that it shouldn’t. A little really can go a long way.
Eat the rainbow. Finally, one of the best ways to help you safely lose weight is by eating the rainbow, by getting in the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables each day. Many of us tend to snack on low-quality, highly caloric stuff that’s devoid of nourishing vitamins and minerals. Instead of reaching for chips, consider having an apple or a banana, for example. Eating protein-rich foods alongside our fruits and vegetables can also help with satiety and thus ensure that you stay fuller for longer.
These tips can help you begin to safely lose weight in a way that’s sustainable and healthy for you. As with anything medically-related, however, it’s imperative that you speak first to your licensed medical professional to get any individualized feedback about your unique healthcare circumstances.