5 Writer-Tested Weight Loss Tips

posted: 02/08/18
by: Katie Morton
Cropped shot of an unrecognizable young woman practicing yoga indoors

I have tried every diet under the sun. I've been obese, I've been in perfect shape, and I've been every weight in between, but nothing I did seemed to last for long. Finally, I figured out some solid, working weight-loss tips, put them into practice, and have kept off more than 50 pounds for well over a year. I'm a mother in my 40s, yet I'm now in the best shape of my life.

Everyone's different, but here are 5 tips that worked for me.

1. Mindfulness Meditation

Most of us try not to think of the foods we "can't have" when we're trying to lose weight, such as chocolate doughnuts. But thought suppression fails as a tactic, and will continually bring to mind the very thing you're tying to stop thinking about. (Are you thinking about chocolate doughnuts right now?) Recognize and accept your thoughts without debating with them or attempting to push them away. But also notice that you don't need to act on those thoughts.

So how do stop obsessing about chocolate doughnuts or whatever your particular vice is? You can practice mindfulness meditation, which literally gives you more control over your mind so you have more power in choosing your thoughts.

2. Celebrate Healthy Food

Here are a few tips for getting around the thought monster when it comes to food: rather than bemoaning the junk you're swearing off, spend more time daydreaming about what you will eat--sweet fruit, crisp salads with tangy dressing, savory and comforting soups--you know, delicious, healthy, food!

Don't do "diet" foods. Eat real food. Eat what you want, as long as it's healthy. Forget dieting. Stop feeling sad or deprived. Instead, celebrate the thousands of amazing and tasty foods you can eat on this planet for the rest of your life that will make you feel healthy, energetic and fabulous!

3. Limit Your Menu

Sticking with a set menu is a serious no-brainer when it comes to shopping and prepping meals. This is a huge help when it comes to staying on track for the long haul, because it silences those mental debates that tend to derail people.

If after a while, your set menu really makes your eyes glaze over and you want to start ditching the diet, then simply change your menu for another period of time. Have a backup menu with a wide selection of easy-to-prepare foods waiting in the wings for such an occasion.

4. Remember the Acronym HALT

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. This 12-step program formula helps people remember that those are times when we're at risk for giving in to behaviors we're trying to avoid.

Don't let yourself get too hungry. This is a sure-fire way to go nutso off the diet. Have a rough idea of what your meal times are, and when you feel hungry, EAT.

Angry, Lonely...I think any emotion that falls on the "disgruntled" side of the fence applies here. If you're annoyed or sad, then handle it! Journal, call someone, talk to yourself, have a cup of tea--do whatever helps you work through feelings and feel better. When we turn to food instead of handling our business, all we're doing is 1) distracting from the original issue WHICH IS STILL THERE! and 2) now we're mad at ourselves for eating instead of problem solving.

Last in the HALT acronym is tired. If you don't get enough sleep, you're more likely to become obese. According to Harvard School of Public Health, in referring to the Nurses' Health Study: "Compared to women who slept seven hours a night, women who slept five hours or less were 15 percent more likely to become obese over the course of the study."

5. Eat Intuitively

The goal of intuitive eating is that we slow ourselves down. We taste our food. We chew it thoughtfully. And we put the fork down when we're no longer hungry. It sounds simple, but if it were really that easy, we'd all be skinny. In an ideal world, people would simply feel hungry, eat healthy food, feel satisfied, stop eating, and they would maintain a healthy weight. My hunch is that you also need a little help in this area, or you probably wouldn't be reading this.

There's a big reason why intuitive eating doesn't always come naturally. Many of us are addicted to processed foods. The truth is, highly processed foods are linked to addictive eating. It's important to remember that if it comes in a box or a bag, then you probably shouldn't eat it. If it grew out of the ground or recently walked the ground, and you bought it from the refrigerated case (i.e. it's a vegetable or an animal), then it's probably safe to eat. If you choose the right foods, then eating intuitively can be a natural byproduct of that.

These 5 tips aren't the simplest to adopt; they're more of a lifestyle change. But if you're brave enough to take them on, you'll be rewarded with good health, more energy, and you'll be released from the bondage of unhealthy, addictive, and fattening foods. Here's to your health.