Many people who want to lose weight desire instant results. Ok, who doesn’t? But it’s when you make small changes to lose weight that make the weight loss last a lifetime.
Why is that? When you focus on changing small things or focus on one at a time, you’re learning. You’re becoming more aware about proper nutrition and exercise. You’re easily creating new habits.
Now, if you read my blog often, you know I’m all about creating new habits. That is how you reach your goals, no matter what they are.
Making small changes to lose weight increases your chance of success. And makes the weight you lose more permanent.
Think about this. If you wanted to lose 50 pounds, but weren’t really familiar with what to eat or how to exercise, how do you think you would manage preparing healthy meals? Or sticking to an exercise plan? Or pushing past your cravings?
It would be pretty tough. This is why small changes count. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, it will keep you going in the right direction. And these new small changes will become permanent habits.
Here are the best small changes to lose weight you can make.
Goals give you a clear vision. When you know what you want to achieve, you’re more likely to get there.
If you only say “I want to lose weight”, without a clear goal or plan, you probably won’t be sure which direction you want to take, or what exactly you’re trying to achieve.
Write your goal down, and a deadline. A little fire under your booty will help give you the push you just might need. Even if you don’t reach your goal by the deadline, don’t worry about it. That’s not the point. What’s most important is that you worked hard to get to this point! Think of it as a guideline and not an absolute deadline!
Track your food
This one is huge y’all. I highly recommend tracking your food if you want to lose weight. Even if you think you’re eating healthy, even if you think you’re not overeating. Just track it.
You might be surprised. I know I was when I first started tracking my meals.
I severely underestimated how much I was eating. No wonder I couldn’t lose weight! Little bites here and there throughout the day add up. A few extra fries add up. A couple pieces of chocolate add up. Track it all!
When you realize how much you’re actually eating, you’ll be able to pull back, think, and come up with a new plan.
Drink water before a meal
A glass of water before eating a meal has been proven to help you eat less! This is because the water will help you feel full. Duh, that one is obvious.
But seriously, it works. A study was conducted by the University of Birmingham where a group of people drank a glass of water before eating and another group of people were told to just imagine they were already full before eating. The group who drank water lost more weight than the other group. Imagine that.
Another thing, drinking a glass of water before a meal will also help you get your daily h2o in easier! Bonus.
Eat your veggies first
I like to eat my veggies first because to be honest, they’re probably my least favorite part of a meal. I’d rather fill up on my meats and carbs, but I know veggies are the best thing for me, so I eat them first. And I want to get them out of the way!
If this is your mindset too, great. It works.
You should eat your vegetables first because they’re full of vitamins and minerals, and packed with fiber which help you feel full.
It’s better to not have room for your cheesy garlic bread than to not have room for your veggies, just sayin.
Eat appropriate portion sizes
Portion sizes have become a problem. They’re getting bigger, and definitely not helping us get any healthier.
When you go out to a restaurant, the portions are huge! You’re being served a plate that’s pretty much enough food for two people.
Try to get rid of the thought that these huge piles of food are normal for your body because they’re not.
- Meats: around 3-4oz, the size of your palm.
- Grains: cereals should be 1 cup, the size of your fist. Bread should be 1 slice, the size of your palm. Noodles or rice should be ½ cup, around a handful.
- Cheese: 1.5 oz, the size of your finger.
- Milk: 1 cup (8 oz).
- Fruit should be around a cup, or a piece of fruit, like an apple.
- Vegetables should be unlimited in my opinion, but aim for at least 1 cup.
Switch your coffee
Fancy coffee drinks could cost you hundreds of calories.
- A 16oz vanilla latte has 240 calories.
- A 16oz white chocolate mocha has 430 calories.
Wow. That’s an eye opener!
Instead of lattes and macchiatos, stick to regular coffee. Even better if you take it black. But don’t worry, you don’t have to drink black coffee.
Half and half and a packet or two of stevia should be just fine!
Don’t keep junk food in the house
This one surely did help me. If there’s no junk in the house, you can’t eat it, right?
This always worked for me because most of the time I was too lazy to get in the car and drive to the store just for some junk food.
If you can resist temptation and keep Oreos in your cabinet, then great! You’re a strong person.
But if you can’t, just don’t buy it.
Keep your body moving.
If you’ve got a desk job, get up every hour and stretch or walk for a few minutes.
If you’re too busy to go to the gym, squeeze in a 10-15 minutes home workout.
If you’re a stay at home mom, make playing with your kids outside your workout.
You CAN do it.
Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full?
So if you scarf your food down in 5 minutes then get up for seconds you’re probably going to overstuff yourself.
Eat slowly. Take your time. Savor every bite. You’ll realize you’re full way before you get another unnecessary plate of food.
Meal plan weekly
Okay, this goes with my favorite thing to tell people, make a plan!
If you have no plan, you’ll fail.
I like to start browsing Pinterest for recipes as early as Thursday. (And I shop Saturday)
Get a clear idea of what you’ll be cooking next week for all meals. You don’t have to meal prep all your meals at one time, unless you want to. Yes, meal prepping saves you a ton of time, but some people prefer to cook nightly. You do whatever works for you.
Write out a menu, keep it on your fridge so the whole family knows!
Stop drinking soda
Soda has been my weakness for years. I’d quit then go back, quit then go back, it was a cycle.
But kicking it cold turkey was the best way to go. And the easiest for me. Get down to one a day if you have to, but start working towards cutting soda out for good.
The excess sugar is not healthy and causes a lot of inflammation in our bodies.
Diet soda is no better. The aspartame has been linked to health problems, and can disrupt your gut. The phosphoric acid in dark sodas can also destroy your bones.
I know it’s hard. But once you kick the habit you’ll feel a lot better.
Plan your junk food
Some people say never eat junk food when you’re trying to lose weight. I say eat it.
But plan for it.
Want to enjoy a pack of Skittles? Make room in your food plan for it.
Plan to go out and get dessert with your family on Saturday.
Even if you don’t “have room” in your calories or macros for the day, don’t worry about it! One sweet indulgence per week will not have a negative impact on your weight loss.
Plus, still having your favorite dessert in your life will keep you from binging on it later.
Enjoy your meals
This one goes hand in hand with eating slower.
Take the time to enjoy every bite you take. When you really focus on the food, you’ll get more satisfaction from eating it.
Don’t eat and zone out in front of the tv. You’re not focused on the food, and you’ll likely overeat without realizing it.
Just pay attention to your meal and enjoy every flavor!
Start reading food labels
Educate yourself on what each nutrient on the food label means. Read up on the ingredients.
Pay close attention to sodium levels, trans fats, and artificial ingredients. If there’s an excess of any of those, it’s best to not eat it. Especially trans fats, the FDA has stated that no amount of trans fat is safe. So any food product that has trans fats should be a big fat no.
You’ll learn a lot about food just by taking the time to read labels in the store. You’ll be surprised on what foods contain when you start paying attention to it.
Eat protein with every meal
I’ve preached on this many times, but let’s recap!
How does protein help you lose weight?
- It keeps you fuller longer because it increases the hormone leptin which helps you feel full.
- You’ll have fewer cravings.
- Protein will help build and preserve muscle if you’re working out too. Muscle increases your metabolism.
Protein does so much that sometimes we don’t give it enough credit!
Listen to your body
Or practice mindful eating. Pay close attention to your satisfaction levels when you’re eating. Stop when you’re full.
This takes practice but daily focus on your meals will help you learn more about intuitive eating every day.
Pay attention to what foods make you feel best and keep you energized. Get rid of foods that give you an energy crash.
Your body will thank you!
Make time for yourself
If you want to make changes, like lose weight, then you’re going to have to make time for it!
You are important. Your health is important. You need to take it seriously, and start focusing on yourself.
Take 15 minutes a day to exercise if that’s what you want to do. Take 15 minutes to journal, stretch, read, or just sit quietly!
When you value your mental health and take time to care for yourself, you will realize your physical health is just as important.
Focusing on small changes to lose weight can lead to big results. Sure, it may take some time, but you learn so much as you go and you’ll adapt much easier than if you were seeking quick weight loss. Sometimes it’s not always about the end result, but about the journey you take. Small changes to lose weight will teach you on that journey.