Three Simple Weight Loss Resolution Tips to You Help Lose Weight in 2014
Losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution out there, but it’s also one of the most difficult. We’ve all heard the advice to eat less and exercise more; but if it’s really that simple, why do so many of us struggle to lose weight? Is motivation the problem? Are we eating the wrong foods? Is it all about exercise?
I managed to lose a significant amount of weight, but only after I spent two frustrating years gaining and losing the same pounds. When things finally clicked for me, though, the weight loss came easily.
Simple Weight Loss Tip #1: Dieting for Weight Loss Means Eating Fewer Calories
What I did: The first thing I did when trying to lose weight was to switch to healthier foods. I began eating oatmeal for breakfast, brown rice with tuna for lunch and whole-wheat pasta with chicken breast for dinner. While I felt better about myself from this radical shift, but I didn’t lose an ounce of weight.
How much weight I lost: zip, zilch, zippo.
The problem: I assumed there were certain foods that would just “melt the fat away.” Fad diets like to preach the idea that we’re eating the wrong foods, and if we just switch to different ones, all our problems will be solved. However, eating healthy is great, but you can still gain weight by overeating healthy foods: this is why I failed to lose weight even though I was “eating right.”
Takeaway: The truth is that to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories. If you’re overweight, you got that way by eating too many calories; in order to lose it, you’re going to have to eat less. An easy way to do that is to eat more fruits and vegetables. Veggies fill up your stomach so you feel less hungry. I probably eat close to ten servings of veggies a day. You don’t have to eat ten, but I recommend at least five. If you have a hard time finding time to work more veggies into your diet, make it easy on yourself. Try using a food processor to chop them up quickly and cut down on preparation time.
Simple Weight Loss Tip #2: Losing Weight with Exercise Alone Doesn’t Work
What I did: The next thing I tried was to exercise like a maniac. I jogged in the summer, used ellipticals in the winter and even performed intense DVD workouts like P90X and Insanity. The result: I got in great shape, but still didn’t lose any weight.
How much weight I lost: nil, nada, nothing.
The problem: We tend to overestimate how many calories we burn in a workout and underestimate how much we eat afterward. For instance, jogging at six miles per hour for 20 minutes will burn off less than four double-stuff Oreos. Working out also stimulates our appetite, and it’s easy to justify eating a little more after we get home from the gym. Exercise is a great weight-loss supplement, but the truth is that diet is the most important factor for weight loss.
Takeaway: I still exercise, but I don’t exercise to lose weight; I exercise to stay fit and healthy. It makes me feel good, improves my concentration and gives me more energy, which reduces my junk-food cravings. In addition, I try to keep active by walking, standing and taking the stairs more and driving, watching TV and using the computer less. Get yourself a good pair of shoes and start moving; living an active lifestyle is more important than getting in a half-hour of exercise a few times a week.
Simple Weight Loss Tip #3: Change Your Habits
What I did: Finally, I adopted a paleo-style diet in which I eat almost zero processed foods. My meals consist of a ton of fruits and veggies, including potatoes and sweet potatoes; natural fats like coconut oil, butter and extra-virgin olive oil; and healthy meats like wild-caught seafood and grass-fed beef. I eat as much as I want at every meal, as long as I eat only those foods.
How much weight I lost: I managed to drop 40 pounds off the scale while also building muscle. I probably lost about 50-55 pounds of fat, total, in a little over a year. What’s more, I did it without ever feeling hungry or deprived.
Takeaway: By limiting myself to low-calorie foods, I naturally restricted the amount of calories I could eat at a time. By allowing myself to eat as much as I wanted, I avoided hunger and burnout. The combination of those two things made this diet effective and easy to keep.
This diet worked for me also because it changed my habits. Instead of relying on willpower to resist temptation at every single meal (which is a stressful way to diet and a sure-fire road to burnout), I just gave myself one rule: eat only natural foods. My decision of what to eat was already made in advance, so all that was left was to act on that decision. This took willpower out of the equation.
Potential pitfalls: When you factor in cleaning, prepping and cooking, it can be time-consuming to cook three fresh meals a day. Depending on your schedule, you might find you don’t have enough time to do all this cooking. Learn a few fast recipes for when you’re pressed for time. One of my favorite easy meals is to fill a slow cooker with veggies and a little meat in the morning; turn it on before work, and when you get home you’ll have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you.
If you’ve failed to lose weight before, try a new regiment. Focus on the right things and make it as easy as possible to stick to your plan. Follow these simple weight loss tips and hopefully you’ll look back on 2014 as the year you finally kept that New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
By: Neil Flinchbaugh