5 Simple Strategies for Losing Weight

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Part of Total Body Diet For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Shedding pounds seems like such a daunting task, but if you break it down into realistic, measurable goals, it’s less overwhelming. There’s no miracle pill or one single food that will magically melt away unwanted pounds, but there are some simple and effective lifestyle changes that you can make every day to lose weight.

You didn’t gain weight overnight, and you aren’t going to lose it overnight either! Challenge yourself to follow some or all five of the following weight loss tips, and you’ll see pounds disappear at a sure-fire, steady rate:

  • Plan your meals and snacks. Set aside specific times to eat and drink every day. For example, if you know you’re going to eat breakfast at 8 a.m., a snack at 10:30 a.m., lunch at 1 p.m., a snack at 3:30 p.m., and dinner at 6:30 p.m., you’re less likely to overeat. Planning creates purpose, and leaving eating up to chance can cause you to eat too many calories at one time. Avoid overeating and you’ll see pounds come off!

  • Balance nutrients to satisfy your appetite more on less calories. Your body needs a balance of all three of the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Creating meals that contain better-for-you carbohydrates (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) with lean proteins (like skinless chicken or turkey breast, loin cuts of beef or pork, fish, or tofu), as well as fat-free or lowfat dairy foods (like milk, yogurt, and cheese) and foods with healthy fats (like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil) will keep you full and stabilize your appetite longer, which bodes well for weight loss.

  • Get moving. Regular physical activity is a must for weight loss. When your body is in motion, it’s working to use the calories that you give it. The more active you are, the more you’re churning and burning calories. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that you get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.

  • Jot it down. It’s easy to have eating and drinking amnesia — to forget the cookie, soda, or handful of candy you consumed earlier in the day. Keep a log of what you eat and drink, as well as your physical activity, will help you avoid that “forgetfulness.” Not only does logging create awareness, but it offers a sense of accountability. Research for the National Weight Control Registry shows that one of the ways that people who have lost significant amounts of weight (30 pounds or more) have kept it off is by logging food and activity daily. Whether you journal on a mobile device, via an app, or in a notebook, writing it down is a weight loss game changer.

  • Slow down and savor. In our fast-paced world, it’s challenging to slow down, especially when it comes to eating and drinking! You’re busy eating while doing other things (talking on the phone, working on computers, commuting in the car, and so on), so the pleasure of eating gets lost in the harried moments of life. Make a rule to not eat while doing other things. Eat only while eating.