If your goal is to lose weight and exercise more, forget the distressing diet and marathon workouts. Research shows that taking small steps—not giant leaps—is the best way to get long-lasting results.
Research shows that people who opt for smaller, positive changes to their lifestyle, such as drinking more water or walking five extra minutes a day, lose more weight and keep it off.
When you focus on just a few small changes at a time, you begin to add some healthy habits that last for a lifetime, rather than trying an all-or-nothing approach that more often fails as it's too hard to follow.
To help you move more, eat less, and look and feel better, here are some of the best weight-loss tips from experts.
8 Habits & Actions to Lose Weight Fast
1. Keep a food journal
Mindlessly munching on a packet of chips could result in easily polishing off the whole thing. But writing down all the meals and snacks you've eaten can help you have better portion control. It can also help you figure out how you can make good and smarter food choices.
Journaling can also serve as a reality check on your other habits of eating.
2. Grab every opportunity to get moving
And it is not just about going for a walk during your lunch break. Get moving in fact during your favourite TV shows. Do jumping jacks, run in place, go up and down a few stairs, and start dancing—anything that takes your heart rate up so you feel somewhat breathless. Do it in every 2-minute commercial break while you're watching your favourite TV show, and you can burn an extra 270 calories a day—which can translate to around 28-pound weight loss in a year.
3. Limit packaged, processed foods
Packaged foods can be very high in sodium, fat, and sugar, so you need to try to limit them as much as possible from your balanced diet. Pick your top five processed foods, whether it be cookies, crackers, chips, or candy, and gradually start downshifting them. Each week, drop another food until you're at no more than one or two left. At the same time, avoid unhealthy snacks and try to replace them with healthier snacks.
4. Go for more walks throughout the day
Burn calories instead of gas by following this rule: If your tasks are less than one mile away, walk to complete them at a brisk pace. Or, park your car, where you can run several errands within a mile, instead of moving your car every time.
5. Add strength training into your routine
Basic bodyweight exercises, like squats and push-ups, are an easy and simple way to build more metabolism-boosting muscle in minutes at home without using a single weight. Your muscles don't recognise the difference between working against your body's own resistance and on a fancy piece of equipment. The one rule to follow is that each exercise should exhaust your muscles within 60 to 90 seconds. For extra burn, you can also add a resistance band to your basic moves.
6. Take stairs instead of lifts whenever possible
Adding 2-3 minutes of stair climbing per day—covering about 3 to 5 floors—can burn good calories to eliminate the average annual weight gain of one to two pounds annually. Walking up through stairs can also help strengthen your glutes and quads, providing you with some strength training benefits as well.
7. Stay hydrated
Sometimes you confuse your thirst for hunger, which can cause you to eat more food than you actually need to. So it's essential to stay hydrated and drink sips of water throughout the day. Water is also key to better digestion and a boosted metabolism. You've probably heard the golden rule many times that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, but the amount of water every individual should drink varies greatly. People who are very active, take certain medications or have a viral illness need to consume more water. The best way is to drink water whenever you feel thirsty and to take sips of water before, during, and after a workout to be well hydrated. You can also stay well hydrated by eating more water-rich fruits and vegetables.
8. Get enough sleep
If you make a point to go to bed earlier, you'll surely notice a difference in your energy levels and mood. Research shows that just a few nights of reduced sleep can lead to almost immediate weight gain. That's because when you don't get proper sleep, you're unable to make healthier choices throughout the day. When you're tired, you tend to compensate for that by consuming fatty and sugary foods.
By reducing or replacing refined carbs with complex carbs, you’ll likely feel reduced hunger levels. Feeling hungry often makes it difficult to maintain a weight loss plan, so it’s important to find a way of eating when you feel satisfied.
By adding a sustainable low-carb or lower-calorie eating plan, you can eat healthy foods until you’re full and lose weight.
Losing weight quickly may be your goal, but it’s necessary to think about the long run. While you may lose the water weight quickly, fat loss takes longer, and developing sustainable weight loss may take even longer than you’d like.