Losing weight and keeping it off long-term isn’t about a quick crash diet or detox — it requires creating lasting habits to lead a healthier lifestyle. This can be particularly challenging during high-stress times when your normal routines get altered. However, by incorporating the 10 tips below you can set yourself up for success for a lifetime — even when you feel stressed or busy.
Weight loss is most successful when you have a meaningful reason for shedding pounds, beyond simply aesthetic goals like having six-pack abs. Start by asking yourself why you want to lose weight — is it to have more energy to run around with your kids or improve a chronic illness? Writing down your ultimate goals can help you keep track of the big picture, thus boosting motivation and helping you stick with your healthy habits.
While consistency with healthy habits is important for lasting change, the pressure to be perfect often leads to giving up entirely when you inevitably slip up. To avoid this, remember what you do most of the time is key, not just what you do some of the time. Try to view each day as an opportunity to make healthier decisions and know that lapses are not a sign of failure but rather a part of the process. In the long run, consistency beats perfection for weight loss.
Bookmark your favorite resources on healthy living, try a new podcast, or pick up a health-related book. Staying up to date with the latest nutrition and health news can help keep you motivated, weed out weight-loss myths, and offer creative ideas on how to improve your healthy habits.
Instead of dwelling on what you can’t have, try to focus on what you can add more of to your day-to-day. For example, maybe you add new-to-you veggies from the farmers market, partake in a daily meditation, or try new hobbies like swimming, cycling or a fitness class.
Whether it’s a solo walk in the park, high-intensity intervals on the treadmill, or a family game of soccer, finding movement you enjoy and look forward to is key. Don’t be afraid to try new activities or get creative with things you already love. For example, if you like doing bodyweight routines at home, try incorporating resistance bands. Exercise brings feel-good endorphins and contributes to weight-loss, but only if it’s something you actually enjoy and stick with.
Research shows sharing your weight-loss goals with friends and family can help you achieve them faster. Recruit family members to join you on a walk, have them help organize the kitchen and seek their input when choosing the weekly meal-prep menu. You can also keep things exciting by creating challenges — see who can get the most steps or prepare the tastiest healthy brunch — and give a prize to the winner.
Learning to love your body can be hard, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. But accepting your body as it is now can actually help you reach your goals more easily and make the process more enjoyable. Mental health is a key component of overall health and supporting weight loss, so try these 10 expert tips for being kind to yourself.
There’s a connection between stress and weight gain. When you’re stressed for long periods, the hormone cortisol builds up, leading to high inflammation, increased cravings for sugary, highly processed foods and weight gain. Try to cut yourself some slack and reduce your stress whenever you can, whether it’s with short walk breaks throughout the day, a phone call to a friend or a yoga class.
If you’re not getting enough sleep (at least 7–9 hours a night), it’s harder to lose weight. The quality of your sleep affects your metabolism and hunger hormones. When you’re sleep-deprived, you tend to feel hungrier and eat more than when you’re well-rested. Make sure you work on a healthy evening routine by keeping sleep patterns as consistent as possible. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day and schedule time to unwind without any blue light from devices like phones or laptops, which could negatively affect your sleep. Instead, try a warm bath or reading a book.
A number on the scale doesn’t always tell the full picture about health, and it can be frustrating if that’s all you’re fixated on. Instead, there are several ways to measure progress beyond the scale, including noticing your energy levels, how your clothes fit, and whether you’re feeling stronger and less stressed.