Hey, trust me, I’ve been there. You’ve decided you want to start losing weight, but you’re not ready to commit to a full-fledged diet plan. After all, that’s a lot of commitment, and the price of failure is just too high. When I start thinking about meal planning, careful shopping, and Yech!, exercise, I lose the will to get started.
As soon as I finish this tub of rocky road, I’m going to get serious.
Day after at the latest.
The good news is that there are small changes you can make right now to begin losing weight. And the better news is that these new habits will carry on into whatever diet you decide to try in the future. After all, losing weight is about lifestyle changes, and these are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life. Follow these five ways to start losing weight right now.
Stop the soda
If you are still drinking sugary sodas, just stop. That one change can make a huge difference in your calorie intake, plus cut out a significant percentage of your day’s sugar. Most diet plans will call for somewhere between 1200 and 2000 calories a day, depending on a variety of factors. If you are the type person that downs sodas all day, you could easily consume that many calories just in what you drink. Substitute unsweet tea, diet soda, or ideally, plain old water and cut out hundreds, if not thousands of calories on day one.
Check the condiments
Condiments are another place where tons (see what I did there?) of calories can creep into your diet without realizing it. What’s the point of a nice healthy salad if you are going to pour on 400–600 calories of dressing? Dribble on a little bit of lite Italian dressing, or spritz on a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Mayonnaise and mayo-based sandwich spreads are another big culprit, weighing in at about 100 calories per tablespoon. Mustard has about 1/10th the calories and can add some real kick to your ham sandwich. Don’t like mustard? Make a healthy salad spread out of plain Greek yogurt and fresh herbs.
Mama always said, eat your veggies
You already knew this one, but it can’t be said enough. Vegetables, especially high-fiber veggies like broccoli and spinach, are quite filling and have very few calories. As a matter of fact, as long as you go light on the corn, potatoes, and carrots, feel free to eat vegetables to your heart’s content. You need fat and carbs in your diet, but if you make the bulk of your dinner from fresh vegetables and use the meat and carbohydrates as more of a garnish, hitting a calorie target will be easy.
Breakfast is one of my three favorite meals
You already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean go crazy with it. Sugary cereals or high-fat breakfasts of bacon and eggs can start your day off with your weight loss plan already in the hole. Eggs are a good source of protein, and a little bacon can add some fat, so you don’t get hungry so quickly, but don’t overdo it and don’t do it too often.
Most mornings, a hearty portion of oatmeal is the way to go. A large portion of oats will only weigh in at about 400 calories, will keep you full until lunch, and provide fiber and help lower cholesterol. Don’t like oats? Most whole-grain breakfast cereals are more healthy and more filling than the alternatives. Just be careful with the grits or hominy. Corn is naturally sweet, and the tendency is to load them up with butter and cheese.
What’s for dessert, sweets?
Dessert can end the day, or it can ruin the day.
Let’s face it, diet desserts suck
That means finding alternatives or using portion control. A piece of fruit can be the best alternative for a delicious dessert. Fruit is naturally sweet, high-fiber, and filling. Most pieces of fruit will come in at under 100 calories and can satisfy that sweet craving.
If you must have a traditional dessert, you need to monitor the portions. It’s easy to find good ice cream with 150 calories per serving, but who are they kidding?
Nobody eats a half-cup of ice cream
If ice cream is your weakness, control the portions with ice cream bars or cups. Better yet, try the fruit bars. They will give you the cold and sweet you crave, but are usually less than 100 calories.
If you are seriously considering losing weight, you need to start rethinking your habits. Rather than jump on the bandwagon with some strange new diet and a bunch of restrictions, just start making some lifestyle changes you can live with. Follow these five tips and start losing weight right now.