Eight Weight Loss Tips

People often ask me how I went about losing weight over these last several months. I feel very sheepish because I don’t have a good answer, and the stuff I do is in no way original. It’s a very unromantic combination of diet and exercise. No meal replacement. No expensive powders or weird smoothies. Just eating good food in the right proportions and running or walking 4-5 times a week.

That said, here are some tips that have been most useful for me.

  1. Log everything you eat. I use MyFitnessPal, which tracks food and exercise. I’ve also heard good things about LoseIt. The bar code scanner makes it fun. Over time I’ve gotten less anal about logging absolutely everything, but that’s because I’ve got an intuitive sense of where I am. Is that a pain? Yes. Are there days I get sick of logging everything? Absolutely. Would I rather deal with the hassle of logging than backsliding? Yes.
  2. Weigh yourself every day. Studies show that regular feedback is key to achieving goals. I think the conventional wisdom used to be a weekly weigh-in, but that’s not enough input to keep me going. That said, expect ups and downs. Look at the forest, not the trees. But look everyday.
  3. Invest in a kitchen scale and measuring cups. Portion size is everything. It’s amazing how much I can fudge my portions if I try to eyeball it.
  4. Be around people who will support, not sabotage.
  5. This is a lifestyle, not a short-term goal. Which means I eat delicious things that are “bad” for me, and I do it with some regularity. My friend Jay, who’s done a great job with weight loss, put it well: “Be sensible more often than not and you’ll go in the right direction.”
  6. Then again, I’m a moderator, not an abstainer. Figure out which one you are and be that.
  7. Another tip from Jay: when you’re at a restaurant and are starting to pick at your meal after you’re full, sprinkle water from your water glass all over the food. Weird but it works. I’ve done similar things, including (gasp!) throwing away the rest of something that just needed to be out of my house and my life. (See: leftover tubs of frosting after a kid’s birthday.) Sorry, starving children of the world.
  8. Dessert, alcoholic beverage, or a day off from exercise: pick two on any given day. You’ll likely stay in range, but you can still enjoy life and be flexible to the needs and desires of the moment.

Do you have any tips you use? Share in the comments.

Image comes from this post, which I featured recently on Link Love

17 thoughts on “Eight Weight Loss Tips

  1. Kelly

    I’ve been part of a therapy group centered around the concept of intuitive eating – regulating your food intake/exercise naturally, like children do. The basic premise is to listen to your body and eat what you want when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Sounds easy enough, but for emotional eaters like me, we have to learn to differentiate between stomach hunger and mouth/emotional hunger. I love the sprinkling water tip. When I really pay attention to what I’m eating, I realize that I take several to many bites of food after I’m full.

    1. MaryAnn

      Kelly, that link at the bottom of my post had a helpful (for me) set of charts to help you figure out whether you’re hungry emotionally or physically, and to assess your overall level of hunger. Interesting stuff. Anyway I wish you luck with this!

  2. Bob Braxton

    Stop eating before you are full so that room is left for (a) the digestive juices that will pour in and (b) the movement of the stomach. Do not drink liquids with meals or immediately afterward. Learn about and practice proper food combining. Chew your food thoroughly (until it is almost liquid). Allow your stomach to be empty and rest for periods of time—even if it is uncomfortable. The fact that one word “hunger” is used for such extremely polar meanings is unfortunate — what I prefer to think as the “true” meaning of the word is something quite different from (simply) a sensation, however uncomfortable feeling.

    1. Rachel Heslin

      Oh, yes — the “chewing until liquid” thing has also made a significant difference for me as well, both for extraction of nutrients and to allow the body time to become aware that it is full. I intellectually know about not drinking fluids too close to meals so as to not dilute the digestive juices, but I drink anyway. I take digestive enzymes to try to help make up for it. 😀

  3. Rachel Heslin

    For me, the biggest thing is *fluid*. I get dehydrated really easily, and if I’m not being mindful, I find myself snacking on things that force my body to produce saliva when I’m actually thirsty because it *feels* like I’m drinking something. If I stop and get myself some tea instead, the desire to snack dissipates.

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  5. Rev Dr Mom

    Having now lost 76 pounds (over 15 months) I totally agree with every one of your tips. I use weightwatchers on line as my tool, but the principles are still the same. I am probably more picky about what I eat out, and I do abstain from some things (cookies and cake and candy) but I never want to be “that” person who can’t eat normal food.

  6. marciglass

    For me, adding fruit to every meal helped too. It filled me up and kept me from eating things that weren’t going to help me.
    And I had to tell the restaurants to not bring me chips. Or if I was eating with other people, I chose to not even have one little chip. (Or I would have eaten the entire bowl).

      1. jennifer juniper

        Ditto on Geneen Roth. I read “If you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair” many years ago and still think back to it. I recently read this one, too and liked it: http://www.amazon.com/Women-Food-God-Unexpected-Everything/dp/B005OHSJRA/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1338336289&sr=8-6
        I’m guessing her stuff is not for everyone, though. She’s a friend of Anne Lamott (she says in something I read somewhere), so is uber-introspective in that particular west-coasty kind of way. KWIM?

      2. Alex

        Yes, what Jennifer recommends is one of the books I loved. Roth is a little New Agey for my taste as times. But looking around her website is great: http://www.geneenroth.com/ She has a book titled ‘Women, Food and God’, which I haven’t read (again, leery about the New Age stuff). ‘When Food is Love’, however, really struck a chord with me.

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