Weight loss isn’t about a quick fix or detox, it’s about creating lasting habits that help you lead a healthier lifestyle. This can be especially challenging during the holidays, when your normal routines get altered. However, by incorporating the 10 nutrition tips below you can set yourself up for success for a lifetime — even when you feel stressed or busy.
1. FOCUS ON SMALL CHANGES
You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet to lose weight. Start by making small changes such as eating fruit instead of drinking fruit juice and adding more colorful foods to your plate. Over time these small tweaks will add up to big results. If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out these 67 science-backed weight loss strategies.
2. BE MINDFUL OF PORTIONS
A portion size is the amount of food or drink you actually consume in one sitting. This guide will help you match your portions to recommended servings sizes, or what’s on a food label. Learning to be mindful of portions can help prevent overeating. For more of a visual, here’s what 1,200, 1,500 and 2,000 calories in a day looks like.
3. FIND A DIET THAT WORKS FOR YOU
There’s no one-size fits all diet. While keto, paleo, DASH or intermittent fasting might work well for a friend or family member, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Rather, it’s important to focus on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, veggies, grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Ultimately, healthy eating is a lifestyle that nourishes your body, gives you energy and is sustainable long-term.
4. LOG YOUR FOOD
Keeping a consistent and accurate record of what you’re eating is extremely helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. An app like MyFitnessPal can help you keep track of how many calories you’re really consuming as well as macronutrients and micronutrients. And many users will be surprised to find out that they’re not eating enough to fuel weight loss.
5. COOK MORE AT HOME
If you’re constantly dining out at restaurants or eating packaged goods on-the-go, you’re likely consuming unneeded calories, sugar and sodium. Here’s why your excuses for not cooking at home won’t hold up and 11 clean-eating dinners you can make in less than 30 minutes.
6. ADD LEAN PROTEIN AND MINIMIZE SUGAR
Protein is crucial for weight loss, building muscle and recovering from tough workouts. How much a person needs depends on several factors such as muscle mass, activity level, age and fitness goals. According to the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). Here’s how to add more protein to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Unlike naturally occuring sugars (such as the types found in fruit) too much added sugar can hamper weight loss and contribute to health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Try these 7 smart ways to cut sugar from your diet.
7. BE WARY OF HEALTH TRENDS
Drinks like apple cider vinegar and kombucha have been lauded for their gut-friendly probiotics. And while they may contribute to health, more research is needed. Instead of hopping on every trend like activated charcoal or avoiding foods with lectins, focus on eating a well-balanced diet.
8. MINIMIZE OVEREATING
Overeating can prevent you from reaching your weight loss goals in a timely manner. But mindful eating techniques — which teach you to savor your food and slow down — can help you feel full and prevent a cycle of overeating. Here, 6 appetite-control strategies to help you stay on track.
9. FIND SUPPORT
The #1 habit you should have to lose weight might surprise you. Because healthy habits need a trigger or something to remind and motivate you, having support in your weight-loss journey is crucial. Whether it’s a workout buddy or someone you call when you’re feeling stressed, find like-minded people who can encourage you to meet your goals.
10. RETHINK THE SCALE
Signs that you’re making progress don’t always show up on the scale. Moreover, experts are divided on whether or not you should weigh in daily. Instead, remember that it’s just one piece of the big picture — just take a look at these non-scale victories if you need proof.
Try logging your food daily for two weeks, then share in the comments what you’ve noticed. Were you surprised by anything? Did it change what types of foods you now consume? How are your energy levels? We want to hear from you!