Weight loss is easy. Really, it is. Losing fat is a simple equation: calories in = less than calories out. If you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight.
However, there are a great many factors that can make weight loss difficult. While the equation may be simple, the means of solving it can sometimes be tricky.
It can be confusing trying to understand which foods to eat, how often to exercise, and what kinds of exercises you need to do to lose excess fat.
Thankfully, there has been plenty of research done on the subject to help you. Below are 12 diet and exercise tips for weight loss that will help you solve the tricky fat-loss equation.
1. Set a Goal
You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you are going. Before you begin your weight-loss journey, you need to have a clear idea in mind of where you want to be at the end.
Decide on a number that is a healthy weight for your body type for you to aspire to. Once you figure that number out, write it down.
Write it in your journal, on a Post-it note, or put it on your fridge. Keep it close to you so that you can look at it when you need a reminder of what you are working towards.
2. Give Yourself Time
While it’s great to have goals, placing too much pressure on yourself to lose weight in a certain amount of time can be stressful.
You might start to obsess over the scale and feel like you aren’t losing it fast enough. You may even resort to doing unhealthy things to lose more weight. A slow-moving scale may also leave you feeling unmotivated and ready to throw in the towel altogether.
It’s great to have a weight-loss goal for you to actively work towards, but how fast you lose it can depend on a lot of different factors. Just focus on making progress, not necessarily how fast you progress.
3. Keep a Food Journal
Number three on the list of best diet and exercise tips for weight loss may especially benefit those who have hit a weight-loss plateau.
A lot of times we think we are eating better than we really are. We might trick ourselves into thinking that the four handfuls of M&M’s we snuck in throughout the day won’t do much damage. But when you are trying to lose weight, every calorie counts.
By keeping a record of your food intake, you hold yourself accountable for your diet choices. If you’ve recently hit a plateau, reviewing your daily food intake might help you see what in your diet needs to change.
4. Keep an Exercise Journal
Just like keeping a food journal holds you accountable for your food choices, an exercise journal can keep you accountable for your workouts. Planning your workouts ahead of time and keeping track of them in a journal give you less room to slip up.
For best results, plan your workouts at least one week ahead of time. This will give you the opportunity to switch your daily schedule around to accommodate your workouts.
When you have a plan in place, you’re more likely to stick to it. A consistent exercise regime is always included in any diet and exercise tips for weight loss.
5. Walk a Lot
Walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise for every able-bodied person. Walking is good for your cardiovascular system (your heart). It lowers blood pressure, burns calories, and releases endorphins that improve your mood.
It is a low-impact exercise that can be done alone or with friends, outside or on a treadmill in the gym. If you want to lose extra fat, incorporate more walking into your daily routine.
Even if you are good at keeping up with a daily workout regime, getting in some extra steps will help your weight-loss goals even further. There is no sense in sitting on your butt burning zero calories if you can take a walk and burn even more calories.
6. Cut Out Sugary Drinks
Cutting out caloric beverages is listed in many diet and exercise tips for weight loss literature. It’s for good reason because sugary beverages have a ton of calories and very little nutritional value.
Thankfully, we now live in a time with endless options of “diet” drinks to satisfy our cravings. If water and black coffee aren’t cutting it for you, try using a sugar substitute or drinking sugar-free sodas and juices instead.
Just be sure to find something that substitutes the sugar with natural ingredients, like stevia or monk fruit. It’s best to avoid products that contain artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, as it has been linked to serious health concerns.
7. Swap Out Treats for Low-Calorie Versions
While it is okay to indulge occasionally (life is meant to be enjoyed after all), indulging a little too often can have detrimental effects on your weight-loss effort. Next time you are having a dire craving for one of your favorite caloric treats, replace it with a lower calorie version.
For example, if you are a sucker for French fries, opt for a baked potato or homemade baked potato wedges instead. You’ll still get that starchy carbohydrate fix, but without the added calories that come with frying them.
8. Eat More Bulk Foods
One of the best diet and exercise tips for weight loss is to add more low-calorie bulk foods to your diet. When counting calories, you’ll find that most of your favorite foods quickly add up. It’s harder to stay within a calorie limit for the day when you’re hungry. By adding low-calorie bulky foods to your diet, you’ll stay fuller longer on less calories.
Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower are fiber-rich foods, packed with vitamins, that are super low in calories. Certain fruits like apples and berries are also higher on the fiber content and relatively low in calories. Include foods like these, and other high-fiber, low-calorie foods into your diet to help you lose weight.
9. Do Some Yard Work
While you might not expect activities such as mowing the lawn or gardening to make it on our best diet and exercise tips for weight loss list, you’d be surprised at how many calories these home activities burn.
According to WebMD, on average mowing the lawn burns 250-350 calories per hour. Gardening comes in at a whopping 200-400 calories per hour.
Since weight loss is all about that equation (burning more calories than you consume), any extra calorie burn you can get in throughout the day will help you.
10. Drink More Water
Yes, you have heard it before, but it is worth mentioning one more time: drink more water. Drinking water is important for weight loss because our bodies need water to survive. It has zero calories and can help satiate your hunger in between meals.
Drinking water also increases your metabolism and helps flush out toxins from your system. It is a zero-calorie beverage option that won’t add any inches to your waistline and will keep you feeling hydrated throughout the day.
11. Eat Before You Go
When you’re trying to stay on track with your weight loss, events like parties and get-togethers can be stressful. These events rarely offer the opportunity to make healthy food choices. It’s not likely you’ll find kale chips to munch on at a cocktail party, for example. For this reason, our second to last diet and exercise tip for weight loss is to eat before you go.
If you show up to a party hungry hoping to find low-calorie options, you will often be disappointed. It is more likely you will cave from hunger and end up eating ten of the first appetizers offered to you.
To avoid this diet obstacle, eat before your show up at the party. While you still may be tempted to indulge, the desire will not be nearly as strong if you are full.
12. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Look, mistakes happen. You may be doing great with these diet and exercise tips for weight loss when suddenly, there’s a pizza party at work. You cave in to one slice which then turns into five slices. Before you know it, you’ve easily consumed twice your daily calorie needs.
You messed up, to say the least. But before you cry yourself into a heap of shame, then console yourself with more pizza, remember that it is just one slip-up.
Mistakes happen, but you can’t let them discourage you. You can make up for it in the next few days by eating lighter or getting some extra time in the gym. Use your slip-up to motivate you to push even harder toward your goal.
Now that you’ve read all 12 of these diet and exercise tips for weight loss, you can find a way to incorporate them into your own weight-loss journey.
Not every tip may work for everyone, as we are all different with different circumstances. That’s okay, as there are many different tips and tricks for weight loss that may work better instead. The key is to find what works for you and to never, ever give up.
About the Author
Formerly obese child to teenager, Whitney Holcombe lost 100 pounds in one year all on her own at fourteen years old. Her experience is detailed in her book titled, 1 Year 100 Pounds, published by Simon & Schuster. Whitney remains a health and fitness advocate while currently residing in Florida where she works as a freelance writer.