Weight loss and dieting can feel like a mysterious land where everyone has an opinion but nothing works. If you feel like you’re lost amongst the diet plans and weight loss fads, you’re not alone. The team of experts at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines’ Weight Loss Services has put together a list of their favorite weight loss tips and tricks that can help anyone start a healthy lifestyle.
1. Keep a food journal.
A food journal can help you identify weak spots in your eating and drinking habits. When you begin your food journal, make sure that you record your foods honestly and accurately every day of the week. After a few weeks, you should be able to identify patterns in your eating that may be causing weight gain.
2. Commit to one small change.
Diving full-force into losing weight can become stressful and overwhelming, so choose a more reasonable approach such as focusing on one aspect. Feel like you eat too much? Start by cutting down on your portions. Wish you were more active? Start an exercise routine. If you focus on one goal, it’s easier to stay motivated and keep track of your progress.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
It can be easy to get wrapped up in the media’s ideal body types, but the truth is, those models aren’t real people. Sure, they exist in real life, but the images that we see are posed and re-touched. If you are on a mission to lose weight, it’s your mission. In the end, you aren’t going to look like the models you see on TV because you are you, and no one else can look like you.
4. Change up your workout routine.
If you feel like you’ve been exercising without any results, it might be your workout routine. Talk with your doctor about an exercise routine that could better fit your schedule and body. You also could consult with a certified fitness trainer in your local gym or YMCA.
5. Turn weight loss into a competition.
We don’t mean that you should race to see who loses the most weight the fastest. This isn’t a reality TV show. What you should consider is adding an element of friendly competition that will keep everyone motivated to reach their goals. Get together with a group of friends and pick one small change that you all can accomplish. Set goals for everyone to reach and choose a prize for the “winner” who reaches their goal by the deadline.
6. Lose weight with friends.
It’s true, difficult tasks seem more manageable when you have someone doing it with you. It’s also easier to remain motivated when you are accountable to someone. Find a friend who is also looking to change their lifestyle and start working together to make it happen.
7. Don’t believe the wine drinking diet.
The recent fad diet hitting the media is that drinking wine will help you lose weight. Sorry wine lovers, but it’s not true. Drinking wine only adds additional calories that you will eventually need to burn off.
8. Join a support group.
A support group of people who are going through the same thing can be one of the most beneficial aspects of weight loss. When you run into problems, there’s someone who has been there, too. When you feel like giving up, the group can give you the support you need to continue.
9. Fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies.
This time-tested trick to eating healthier does work. When you sit down for a meal, fill up half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Not only will this help you get all of the vital vitamins and minerals your body needs to be healthy, but there will also be less room for not-so-healthy items on your plate.
10. Invest in smaller plates and bowls.
When you go to a buffet, the plates and bowls that they offer are very large. Do you know why? Because they want you to fill them up! Smaller plates and bowls fill up faster and make it look like you have a lot of food to eat. This is a great trick to help manage portion sizes.
11. Take “before” pictures and measurements to track how far you’ve come.
Everyone wants to see a change immediately, but when you don’t know where you started it can be hard to identify. When you decide to make a lifestyle change and stick to it, take pictures of yourself and write down your measurements as a starting point. The documentation can be used for encouragement if you begin to lose your motivation.
12. Stop eating weight loss food.
Your body needs the vitamins, minerals, and overall goodness of real food, not pre-packaged diet food. Use the tips above, like making half of your plate fruits and veggies and using smaller plates, to help you manage the problems that diet foods try to fix.
Weight loss isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution. If you are having trouble meeting your weight loss goals, consider learning more about the Weight Loss Specialists and how they can help you change your life.
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