Losing weight doesn't have to be a grandiose, daunting task. In fact, the key to shedding pounds and keeping them off is developing healthy habits you can keep up long after you've conquered the scale. Fortunately, there are unbelievably easy lifestyle changes you can make every day that take very little time and effort. Collectively, they'll leave a lasting impact on your overall composition and weight. Try these expert-approved, super simple tips, and lose weight without even thinking about it:
- Add steps. Walking a little bit more here and there — especially when combined with these other habits — may lead to sustainable weight loss and can even help improve your mood. "Start with a nightly walk around the block," Lisa Mastela, RDN, health coach at Arivale, told POPSUGAR. "Then add another block . . . or a lunch break stair climb, or a morning stroll. Shortly, you'll be moving more daily."
- Drink more water. Just in case you needed more reasons to hydrate, "Did you know that hunger cues are often really just thirst cues?" said Lisa. "Many people think they're hungry when they're in fact just thirsty, so staying hydrated can prevent false hunger cues." In addition to curbing cravings, switching to water can also help you eliminate calorie-dense beverages. "Even those marketed as healthy can be high in calories," she said.
- Eat more vegetables. "I cannot stress the importance of vegetables enough when it comes to weight loss," Lisa said. "Vegetables are full of fibre and water but low in calories — aka filling up your tummy without filling out your waistline." If adding greens to your diet seems daunting, start small. "Add a vegetable to your plate at dinner, then also at lunch, then increase the quantity, and so on," Lisa explained. "Before you know it, you'll be having half a plate of vegetables at each meal."
- Get your eight hours. "Stress management and optimizing sleep are actually two really important pieces to weight loss," Lisa told POPSUGAR. "If you're feeling stressed or sleep-deprived, your body is in a defencive state of being and will likely be 'holding on' to calories and fat more than if you were more relaxed and well-rested." Need even more convincing? "Stress and sleep make it harder to practice willpower. Seriously, raise your hand if you've ever ordered a pizza because you were tired or had a long day," she continued. You heard the woman: work to reduce stress, and get some more zzz's!
- Cut down on alcohol. Sorry to be the literal buzzkill, but alcohol may be what's standing between you and your goals. "Alcohol is calorie dense, can lead to overeating by lowering a person's willpower to avoid unhealthy foods, and causes the body to store the fat you're eating, rather than burning it off," Lisa said.
- Try a new workout. It's not all treadmills and weight racks! There are tons of ways to get your sweat on to reach your weight goals, so finding the one that speaks most to your soul is crucial. Whether it's dance, yoga, Pilates, or rock climbing, "establishing a consistent exercise routine while losing weight [from a healthy diet] will set you up for success maintaining the weight you lost," Lisa said.
- Write down everything you eat. One of the easiest ways to lose weight? Be deliberately mindful about what you're putting in your mouth. Do this with a food diary or journal; a 2008 study showed that among 1,700 obese patients, those who kept track of their food in a log nearly doubled their weight loss compared to those who didn't. Write it down!
- Use smaller plates. "Our [American] plates are huge!" Lisa said. "Packing a smaller plate will help you control portions without feeling deprived." Yet another easy, thought-free way to streamline weight loss.