Losing weight can seem like a daunting task, so it’s important to break it down into manageable steps. From how to get started and stay motivated to simple food choices that make a difference, this get-slim guide offers 25 easy steps to help you meet your weight loss goals.
Want to lose 1 pound a week, do this math problem:
[Your weight x 12]– 500 = Your daily calorie goal
To lose up to 2 pounds per week, subtract 1,000 instead of 500.
Don’t go below 1,200 calories total.
Studies show that we eat less from smaller dinnerware.
Your class reunion, your niece’s wedding, that midwinter beach vacation: setting a goal that’s very specific (“I want to lose 8 pounds”), with a defined timeline (“in 3 months”), increases the likelihood you’ll actually meet it.
1/2 colorful mix of vegetables
1/4 whole grains
1/4 source of lean protein
1 tsp. = tip of your thumb (to the middle joint)
1 Tbsp. = your whole thumb
1 cup = your fist
3 ounces meat = palm of your hand
Research shows dieters are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast, and repeating the same meals can help you shed pounds, says a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Nutrition editor fave: a whole-wheat English muffin topped with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/2 banana, sliced (278 calories).
In one study, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, people consumed the fewest calories on days when they ate soup. Broth-based ones packed with veggies give you the biggest bang for your caloric buck.
Both protein and fiber are especially satisfying. Think: carrots and hummus, nonfat cottage cheese and orange slices, an apple with almond butter.
Opting for your sandwich open-face instantly erases 100 calories.
Savor a small treat each day—it won’t break your diet, says new research in the Journal of the American Dietetic
Under-150-calorie snacks: 16 oz. skim latte, two squares of dark chocolate, ½ cup (non-premium) ice cream.
Writing down everything you eat helps you shed pounds. A paper and pen work fine—but weight-loss tracking websites and smartphone apps make looking up calories easy, eliminate the math and offer bonus features like menu planners, healthy recipes and community support groups. Which method is best for you? If you don’t love it, try another site or app—most are free!
Post a pic of whatever motivates you to stick with your goal (it works, science shows). Consider a photo of you looking your healthiest, a personal role model, your children. Hang it on your fridge. Make it the wallpaper on your computer or cell phone.
Skimping on shut-eye can pack on pounds, possibly by altering hunger hormones, research shows.
(Bigger bites led to eating less in a University of Utah study) … and hold it in your nondominant hand (eating more slowly also helps you consume fewer calories).
When you reach a goal, treat yourself to something special: a pair of designer jeans, a pedicure, a massage. Rewards really do work.
In a Cornell study, having a 200-calorie packaged lunch (e.g., nutrition bar) helped people shave 250 calories from their daily calorie tally—and they still felt satisfied.
The age-old advice to step on the scale at least once a week boosts pound-shedding success.
Spend 30 minutes a day running, swimming or biking. This will torch about 250 calories a day–which equates to burning an extra 1/2 pound per week.
You create a goal, set the stakes and assign a friend to keep you accountable at stickK.com. Fail to meet your goal and the site pays a charity from your credit card (if you enter one... money is optional, but placing a wager may more than double your rate of success, say the Yale researchers who launched the site).
People who downed two cups of water before meals lost more weight than those who didn’t in one 2010 study.
After a slip-up repeat this mantra: Back on track, stat.” That whole “I’ll start again on Monday” mind-set really packs on pounds.
Of all foods, it’s the most closely linked with weight loss according to a recent Harvard study.
Incidental exercise significantly increases overall calorie burn.
Want to lose weight and feel great? Go to eatingwell.com/community/diet_challenge for daily tips to help you lose weight during our 28-day Diet Challenge.