Sometimes it feels that weight loss is all about making huge changes and sacrifices but when you think about it’s actually about small things, tweaks, in the way that you eat, move and live your life.
Here are 50 small things that you can do every day to lose weight:
50 small tips for losing weight
1. Drink more water
Don’t drink calories – swap all your sugary drinks (fruit juices, sodas, alcoholic drinks etc.) to plain, sparkling or fruit infused water. This has several benefits: you will drink less calories, there won’t be spikes in your blood sugar levels and your skin will be happy. Sometimes your brain also confuses thirst to hunger so it’s best to keep hydrated. Try drinking lemon water in the morning.
2. Jump your way through the TV commercials
Do jumping jacks on TV commercial breaks. Before you notice it you’ll have done 10 minutes of quality workout each evening. You can also walk or run in place, do push ups or just stretch.
3. Take the bus/train/metro to work
This will force you to walk to the bus stop/metro/train station and back each day.
4. Always keep healthy snacks with you
That sounds a bit boring I know but seriously: this is a good piece of advice. Have a small bag of mixed nuts with you for emergencies. It just might help you make it through the mid afternoon energy slump without purchasing a bar of chocolate. Take a look at some snack ideas.
5. Have sweets with your meals
If you absolutely have to eat something sugary like candy always have them with your meal. This way it will have less impact on your blood sugar levels and insulin.
6. Did you eat something you were not supposed to? Don’t dwell on it.
Move on. If you just ate some chocolate you were not supposed to, get over it. You haven’t ruined anything.
7. Choose vegetables at dinner instead of a potato
Have lots of vegetables instead of potato, pasta or rice at dinner. Read more on how to eat fewer carbs.
8. Sleep 8 hours a night
Remember to sleep enough. When you’re sleep deprived you won’t have energy to exercise and you’re a lot more likely to make poor choices of food.
9. Have a salad for lunch
Make a tasty salad at home and have it for lunch at work. Salad is the easiest way to have a healthy low carb lunch. Remember: A salad is not just lettuce and cucumbers. Add plenty of protein and good fats.
10. Decide to walk 15 minutes extra a day
Walking is pretty much the best thing that you can do for your health. Make a commitment to walk at least 15 minutes more than you do right now, every single day.
11. Write a shopping list
For weight loss, planning is everything. Writing a shopping list is planning at best. Make a list when you go shopping for the groceries. Stick to the list.
12. Measure your weight loss progress
Your brain (or even your eyes!) might not notice the changes that are happening. Document and track your results for motivation. You are getting results.
13. Brush your teeth after a meal
Brush your teeth regularly. When you have that minty freshness in your mouth you are less likely going to snack unnecessarily.
14. Have fruits and vegetables on every meal
Promise yourself to have at least one portion of either fruits, berries or vegetables on every single meal of the day. You’ll get your five a day, easily. And a lot of fiber.
15. Drink tea for a snack
Feel like you need that afternoon snack break? Have a big cup of tea instead. The craving to eat something unhealthy might disappear.
16. Eat breakfast – when it’s most convenient for you
I don’t believe in forcing down the breakfast first thing in the morning if it doesn’t feel natural to you. Take your breakfast with you to work – a fruit or a smoothie will do – and have it when you get hungry an hour or two later.
17. Cut back on alcohol
Have a smaller glass of red wine. You don’t have to cut it out completely, red wine is good for you. If you’re used to having some red wine with your dinner, that’s fine. Just try to cut back the amount of wine to half. You don’t need a lot of it to enjoy it. Or have the same amount as before, but every second night instead of daily.
18. Document your workouts
Keep a diary of your workouts, especially when it comes to going to gym. Write down the weights and reps and also how you felt after each set. If it felt too easy, you’ll remember to up the weights the next time.
19. Eat a pound of vegetables a day
This is important for weight loss – and keeping the weight off. Aim to eat a pound (half a kilo) of vegetables each day. Read more on how to eat more vegetables.
20. Lift weights
Really. Even once a week is good – twice a week is great. The older you get the more important this is.
21. Listen to music
I don’t know about you but this is super important for me. I just need to hear that rhythm and beat of a good song and I get so much energy! It gets me moving. Load all your favorite tunes to your iPod. Choose songs that make you want to dance. Take your iPod with you wherever you go. Take a look at this list of high energy workout music for new ideas.
22. Eat a lot of lean protein
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people don’t eat enough protein. Protein is so important for your muscles and you really want to keep your muscles. Lose the fat and keep the muscle. Choose mostly lean protein, there are so many sources of protein to choose from.
23. Take fish oil supplements
Research suggests that taking fish oil might have a positive influence on your body fat. It is really good for your skin as well.
24. Plan what you eat
You can do it for a week in advance or the day before, just do it. This way you’ll have the assurance that you’re making the right decisions every day. If you want you can print out my daily planner.
25. Write down everything you eat
Use a free online app such as Spark People for a week, or even a day. Go through the list of the things that you ate and pay attention to these points:
- How many calories do you eat a day?
- Do you get enough protein?
- Does anything stand out?
- What can you do to eat a little less calories?
- Can you swap something for a healthier option or leave something out?
26. Fill half of your lunch or dinner plate with vegetables
Choose raw or cooked vegetables and leafy greens for half a plate and then add the rest of your lunch or dinner.
27. Exercise in the morning
Do your workout in the morning. Learn to put yourself on default mode: Have everything packed the night before so that when you wake up all you have to do is get dressed and go out. There are plenty of morning exercises to choose from.
Right now my favorite thing to do is to go for a swim in the morning: I feel amazing all day after that. And it’s not just the exercise, it’s the whole thing of taking time for myself: Time to swim, go to a sauna, wash my hair and take my time to get ready for work.
28. See your weight loss project as a positive thing
Think positive, not negative. When it comes to food don’t concentrate on what you can’t have but what you can have. Make your food taste great – healthy food doesn’t mean boring food.
29. Make dark chocolate your go to treat
If you absolutely need a dessert go for dark chocolate. Have just a square or two. It will satisfy your sweet tooth and have some health benefits as well.
30. Learn more about health, food and active lifestyle
Educate yourself when it comes to weight loss. Buy books, subscribe to your favorite weight loss blogs and order weight loss or fitness magazines for more information and constant motivation.
31. Avoid white and beige food
Stay away from white and beige foods as a rule of thumb. They are usually processed and/or lack in nutrients.
32. Cut back on sugar
Pay attention to how much sugar you eat. Have added sugar just once or twice a week instead of daily. I’ve also written some tips on how to cut back on sugar.
33. Spice up your food
Learn to use herbs and spices in your dishes – you’ll need less sugar and salt.
34. Keep healthy snacks at hand
Have a bowl or bag of baby carrots or cucumber sticks in your fridge.
35. Be vary of dried fruit
Dried fruit is obviously fruit so it’s not too bad but remember that dried fruit contains a lot of calories and if you’re like me you’ve eaten a whole bag before you notice it. Have an apple or two instead.
36. Take the stairs
You’ve heard this before but it is so important to be active during the day. Decide that you’ll always take the stairs if you’re going five flights of stairs or less.
37. Tell yourself you’re doing great
Give yourself credit for the small changes you’re making. Literally pat yourself on the back after a good workout. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself what a great job you’re doing with your diet. Sounds silly but you’re doing this for yourself, it’s not easy and you’re doing so well.
38. Portion control might be important
In general I don’t believe in eating less. I think you need to eat a lot, but just make wiser decisions when it comes to the ingredients. However, if you want to eat the same food you’ve eaten before (food that’s not very healthy) you have to eat smaller portions.
It will not only make you happier but you’ll also be burning calories.
40. Make your own salad dressing
Stay away from store bought salad dressings. They often contain sugar, poor quality oils and additives. Make your own from extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, herbs and spices. Add turmeric for health benefits.
41. Make your own lunch
This is the only way to know exactly what you’re eating. And you’ll save some money.
42. Stand and move during your day at work
If you have an office job try standing a part of the day instead of sitting. Walk and take the stairs during your day at work. When you have to think about something or take a phone call do it by walking around. If you have something to say to somebody – visit them instead of sending an email. Set an alarm to remind you to move a bit every 60 minutes.
43. Try a diet programme
If you want to have structure in your diet you could try a weight loss programme such as the Mediterranean diet, Whole30 (not really a weight loss programme but you probably will lose weight and it’s just 4 weeks, see my results) or another diet.
44. Make your favorite meals a bit healthier
If you really have to have a pizza or burger make the meal more healthy by having just half a pizza and half plate salad or burger with a salad instead of french fries.
45. Store only healthy food at home
Do not buy anything unhealthy when you do your weekly shopping. If you don’t have it in your house, you wont eat it. If you need to have it make yourself walk to the supermarket to get it.
46. Do small workouts several times a day
If you do a 5 minute workout 6 times a day (every two hours) you’ll have done a 30 minute workout. Research suggests it’s just as efficient and has the same health and weight loss benefits.
47. Go through your pantry
Throw/give away everything that you do not want to eat in order to lose weight.
48. Do short intense workouts
None of us have time to exercise – make them short, but make them count. It’s a lot better to do an intensive 20 minute workout six times a week than two hours once a week.
49. Look for new recipes
It might be boring to try to make healthier versions of your favorite recipes so try some new ones. Look especially for new ways to add vegetables to your diet. There are so many recipes out there.
50. Find your passion
Find a “workout” that you love. It could be dancing, rock climbing or hiking. Just something that makes you move and you enjoy it so much you don’t even consider it a workout.
Want more tips? Take a look at part 2: Fifty weight loss tricks that work.
When it comes to losing weight – It all adds up.