Easy Ways to Lose Weight Naturally
Okay. Old-fashioned diets don’t work. What does work? We went to the real weight-loss experts’ regular folks to get their tips for taking it off and keeping it off. What interested us most was finding people who had not only lost lots of weight more than 30 pounds but who had also found a way to keep the weight off for more than a year. And, of course, we looked for people who had lost weight naturally: no drugs, no surgery, and no crazy, unhealthy diets.
We talked to more than two dozen weight-loss veterans to find out the secrets of their success. Undoubtedly, they altered their consumption habits and improved their physical activities. But haven’t we all tried that? Why did it work for them and not others? Here is their advice.
The tough part with exercise is getting out there and doing it. Here are the tips that our everyday experts recommend to get you going.
The beds may not get made, but Amy, 36, still makes time for exercise. That’s how she’s kept off more than 80 pounds for 13 years. “I have to schedule it in and let go of other things like a perfectly clean house,” she says.
Find a passion
“I have a dance background, and when I found jazzercise, I said, ‘Thank God.’ If somebody had told me I had to go out and run 5 days a week, I’d still weigh 185 pounds,” says Anne, 41, who lost 55 pounds and has kept it off for 13 years.
Keep exercise log
It makes you more responsible. Norma from Dallas, who used to hangs hers on fridge, does about six exercises a week loyally. “Whenever I miss 1 day, I make that my day off for the week.”
Set a goal
Sign up for some fun runs and try to improve your times. “I went from a 5-K to a 4 miler, then a 5-miler, then a 10-K. As I was building miles and speed, I was getting fitter and losing more weight,” says Therese, 42, who lost 80 pounds and recently ran a marathon.
“It wasn’t until I put on more muscle through resistance training that I was able to keep the weight off almost effortlessly,” says Veronica, 37, who went from a size 18 to an 8. Main cause is muscle normally burns added calories around the clock.
Make changes for the long haul
“I learned how to eat and live with it for the rest of my life,” says Barbara, 42, who lost more than 40 pounds and hasn’t seen any of them come back in 3 years.
Get a grip on reality
“When I started keeping a food diary, I discovered that I was eating somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 calories a day,” says Rebecca, 46, who found the number shocking.
Having smaller, but repeated meals help to prevent you from getting hungry and overindulging. Normally, weight-loss winners consume five times in a day.
Follow the 90-to-10-percent rule
“If you watch what you eat 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent is not a problem,” says Veronica, who learned this tip from a fitness professional.
Eat at the dinner table
If you eat in front of the TV, then each time you settle in along with remote control, it’s a reminder to eat. Rather, select an appropriate spot for all meals and snacks. “Even when I want potato chips, I set the table just as if I was going to sit down for a full course meal,” says Kathy, 47, who took off more than 100 pounds. “I put a handful of chips on the plate, put the bag away, and then sit down to eat. I never just stand at the counter and eat now.”
Think before you bite
Creating rituals such as setting the table like Kathy did or waiting 10 minutes before giving in to a craving can stop you from eating when you really aren’t hungry. “Nine chances out of 10, the chips go back in the cupboard, and I just walk away,” says Kathy.
“Drinking lots of water keeps me from snacking when I’m not hungry, and it gives me more energy,” says Therese. “It stopped what I supposed were hunger headaches, which are perhaps due to dehydration.”
Go back to school
Joining a weight-loss class can be quite helpful in learning proper portions, without measuring. “If you get ½ cup of cottage cheese, it should look like a tennis ball; ¼ cup should look like a Ping-Pong ball,” says Kathy. “Now, I know what appropriate portions look like.”
Don’t throw measuring cups
“I usually miscalculate servings of mayonnaise, ice cream and salad dressing,” says Therese. “They are high in fat and calories and may cause damage if overdone. So I still measure them.”
Cook for your family, not an army
Victoria, 39, who shed 60 pounds and has kept it off for 5 years, stopped over feeding her family of four, even with low-fat grilled chicken. “I stopped preparing five to six breasts, thinking that everyone had to have one or two,” she says. “Now I prepare only one for each person.”
Normally after a stressful day everyone wants to have pizza. The weight-loss winners don’t leave meals to chance. Many of them plan their menus a week or more in advance. Others even cook ahead, freezing meals for the week in individual containers.
A little dab will do it
If you just can’t pass on some high-fat favorites, just stick to most appetizing ones. “Single portion of bacon is sufficient to savor potato or an egg,” says Helen, 61, who lost about 51 pounds. Her husband lost more than 150 pounds.
Try to fry with low calorie cooking sprays in place of oil. Put sliced potatoes and roast in the oven for healthier French fries which taste fried without fat, recommends Barbara.
Stock frozen veggies
With pasta or stir-fry sauces, they are diet saviors. “I’ve been known to eat a whole bag of vegetables; and with only ¼ cup of sauce, it’s only about 3 grams of fat,” says Veronica. “It has saved my butt many times when I was really hungry and had to eat right away.”
Rice, beans, and other cooked grains are the staples of many successful dieters. For variety, Helen cooks them in different liquids tomato juice, apple juice, beef or chicken stock. “Rice done in pineapple juice is especially good for rice puddings and Chinese dishes,” she says.
Eat Out, but Wisely
“I’m not afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared differently,” says Victoria. “My philosophy is that every restaurant has a grill and an oven. They don’t have to fry everything.”
You’ll eat again
This is not your last chance in life to have a particular food. “Those French fries will be there in a ½ hour if I really have to have them,” says Veronica. Or they’ll be there next week.
Don’t wait to doggie bag
“As soon as the waitress puts the food down in front of me, I cut the whole portion in half, put it on my butter plate, and ask her to wrap it,” says Therese. If you wait until the end of your meal, often you pick at it until the waitress returns.
“I get only 1 tablespoon of everything,” says Rebecca. “Usually, I don’t even fill my plate, but I at least taste everything so I don’t feel deprived.”
Do something that’s not conducive to eating. The folks we talked to aren’t sitting around thinking of hot fudge sundaes. They’re singing in choirs, taking classes, running marathons, leading weight-loss groups, and more.
Keep out of sight
Awesomely, weight loss vets control foods like ice creams, potato chips and chocolate by not having them round. “It’s easier to fill the house with treats for my kids that I don’t like, such as Oreo cookies,” says 30-year-old Tammy, who trimmed off 60 pounds.
Moderation is key
“If I want a piece of cake, I have one,” says Debra, 44, who is 135 pounds slimmer than she was 13 years ago. “Then I just won’t have another one for a week or so. Knowing that I can eat something and no one’s going to say, ‘You can’t’ works for me.”
Go for the best brand of ice cream or the best cut of steak. “If I’m going to blow 500 or 600 calories, I want to make sure that I’m enjoying it to the max,” says Veronica. “Often, desserts look much better than they taste.
“While snacking, I usually put my hand in the bag and whatever I grab, I eat a handful,” says Helen.
Buy separately packed snacks
Chips, ice cream and Cookies come in single-serving sizes. “If I need some chips or cookies, grab one tiny bag instead of a whole box,” says Reed.
A note on the refrigerator “Stop” kept Reed from searching it. Beneath, she scheduled other things to do, just like “Take a drink of water” and questions such as “Are you really hungry?”
Chocolate is one of the favorite food item even for dieters. But they knows the perfect ways to enjoy it and can keep their waistlines.
Bennett usually make fat-free chocolate pudding with skim milk. For Sarah, who lost 40 pounds and has kept it off for 2 years, a cup of sugar-free hot cocoa (about 20 calories), topped with a little fat free whipped cream does the trick.
Don’t give in to pressure
If the cookies, chips, or ice cream that you buy for the rest of the family are sabotaging your efforts, stop buying them. “My daughters carried on for about a month, but after that they got used to the change,” says Victoria.
Avoid Emotion Eating
Know your triggers
You have to know which moods send you to the cookie jar before you can do anything about it. Once you know your triggers, have a list of alternate things to do when the mood strikes. “When I get tired or discouraged, I get an ‘I don’t care attitude,’ ” says Rebecca. For those times, taking a walk or reading affirmations can help.
Control if you’re hungry or if you’re eating for extra reasons. About 80 percent of the time, it’s not hunger,” says Anne. It is something else, like depression or simply boredom.
Call a friend
Talking about what’s eating you can keep you from eating. “I had to be willing to call my support people at 9 o’clock on a Friday night,” says Barbara, 46, who’s kept off 40-plus pounds for more than 15 years.
Remind yourself that you only have control over yourself not over your spouse, boss, parents, or friends. If you can’t do anything about it, just let it go, several people suggested.
Take an emotional inventory
Ask yourself, “What do I feel guilty about? What am I angry about?” And then deal with it, says Barbara. Challenge the person involved, talk to others, or write a letter even if you don’t send it.
If religion isn’t for you, try yoga, meditation, or relaxation exercises. These are especially helpful if you tend to eat when you’re stressed, says Barbara.
Ice cream is a poor companion if you’re lonely. “If I eat the whole bag of chocolate chip cookies, am I going to be any happier? Probably not,” says Kathy.
Most people have kept the weight off never touched their first goal weights. They have gotten to a accurate weight that they can continue. “In 13 years, I’ve never gotten down to my initial goal weight, but I’m very happy and feel very good even though I didn’t reach It.” says Reed.
Leave numbers game
Veronica is 5 feet 5 ½ inches tall and weighs 152 pounds. According to society’s principles, she is considered heavy. Though, she can slip into a size 8 thanks to the fact that most of her weight is muscle. “It doesn’t matter what the scale says; it matters how I look,” she says.
Reject others’ standards
“Thin is whatever you think thin is. Next to Roseanne Barr, I’m thin. Next to Twiggy, I’m fat,” says Barbara.
Get Past Setbacks
Stop being a perfectionist.
“Look at it like walking a tightrope,” suggests Therese. “The goal is not just to stay on without falling off. The goal is to get to the other side, and if you know that you can fall off as many times as you want as long as you get back up again, you’re going to be successful.”
If you have a slip, don’t wait until Monday or even tomorrow to get back in line. Therese uses water as a cleansing ritual to end a binge. When she understands what is happening, she starts to drinks water to indicate that eating is finished, and she’s back on track immediately. “It has made my gaps shorter and shorter,” she says.
Practice earlier discovery
“I normally weigh myself once in a month,” says Reed. “If I start inching up, I increase my work out a little bit.”
Enlist professional help
Many of the people we talked to used dietitians, personal trainers, and even psychologists to help them deal with problems that were hindering their efforts. If you feel like you can’t do it on your own, seek help.