50 Tips for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle

by Alex Chris on April 13, 2012 · 38 comments


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Over the last 6 years I have read and written a number of weight loss tips. These kind of articles are very popular and every weight loss, fitness web site has a ‘Tips’ article or category. When I decided to write this article I have set one goal: to gather the best and most important tips that can actually help you lose weight and understand all aspects of the weight loss process from dieting to exercise and fitness, lifestyle and motivation. The end result is this rather big article which includes everything you need to know (50 Tips) in one place. To make it easier to navigate, the article is broken down into the following sections:

Weight loss tipsbasic weight loss principles and advice on what is important to do first

Dieting TipsWhat to do and what not to do while on a diet

Fitness TipsFitness is not only going to the gym but there are many other ways to exercise for weight loss

Motivation TipsWithout motivation you cannot lose weight, let’s get motivated!

Lifestyle TipsWeight loss it’s not about exercise and diet but it’s all about lifestyle.

Weight loss Tips

1.       First things first – The weight loss equation

The simplest way to explain when you will lose weight is: Weight loss will occur when you consume less calories than what you burn, in other words Weight loss = Calories in – Calories out. Of course there many other factors that matter but having this simple formula in mind is useful in many situations. In addition, one pound of fat is approx. 3500 calories so when your calorie deficit gets to 3500 you will lose one pound.

2.       Monitor your daily calorie intake

Getting obsessed with calorie counting is not a good practice but having a clear picture about the number of calories you consume on a daily basis is necessary. There are many ways to calculate how many calories you should eat per day and this number can be used as a guide to help you create your meal plan and exercise schedule.

3.       Eat at predefined hours

Try to eat at the same time each day. Studies have shown that this helps digestion since our biological clock is synchronized with our brain and stomach.  It may sound weird but from experience I noticed that when I am not eating at my regular times I feel bloated and digestion takes longer. So, try to eat at predefined times and at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. This will give enough time to the body to digest the food before entering sleep mode.

4.       The importance of Water

How many of you drink at least 6 glasses of water per day? If you’re answer is NO, do not worry you are not alone. Many people, including me, make this critical mistake. If you think about it our body is 70% water and it is needed for the normal functioning of body organs. Lack of water intake can lead to dehydration, tiredness and dryness of the skin. In terms of weight loss water can assist detoxification and the removal of unnecessary toxins from the body and skin. At the same time aids digestion and keeps the stomach full thus reducing hunger and unnecessary calorie consumption. The recommended intake of water per day is 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men. Some handy tips for drinking more water per day:

  • Start your day with a glass of fresh cold water. This may be hard at the beginning but getting used to this habit will help many body organs ‘wake up’ and function better.
  • Carry a bottle of water with you at work and aim to drink it before lunch time. After lunch refill it until the end of your working day.
  • Drink a glass of water 15-20 minutes before your main meals. This will slow down your appetite for food.
  • Whenever you feel hungry and want to snack try to drink a glass of water. In many cases this is enough to take away your desire to eat something.
  • Lastly, water has zero calories so drink as much as you want without worrying about gaining weight.

5.       Do not rush into getting super-fast results

If you follow slow and steady steps you will be able to lose weight and keep it off. On the other hand, if you lose weight fast by adopting a crash diet you find on the Internet you will end up with more weight than before starting the diet. Healthy weight loss takes time especially if you need to lose a lot of pounds. It is much better to make slow and steady progress and be sure that the weight is gone forever rather than losing too much weight too soon.

6.       Learn how to lose weight the safe way

If you are new to dieting and weight loss then most probably you are confused from where to start and what should be your first step etc. This is very common and one of the most popular questions we get from our readers the last 6 years. In my opinion before even starting a diet or weight loss program you should do some reading and familiarize yourself with the basic weight loss concepts. I am not suggesting spending days learning the theory, after all losing weight is a practical matter, but learning a few important concepts in advance can prove very helpful in the long run. The guide you are reading now is a good starting point as it covers all aspects of weight loss, fitness and dieting; you can continue reading our other articles as well since we have planned to gather all the information you need in one place. For beginners I suggest you jump to: How to diet for long term weight loss and Glycemic Index after finishing up with this guide.

7.       Keep a food and emotions journal

For many people emotions and feelings are associated with the quantities of food consumed.  When you are stressed or depressed you turn to food (and especially fatty food) for comfort. This is may be happening to you as well and you know that this is bad and can destroy all your hopes for losing weight. You cannot easily control this but one handy tip to try is keeping a food and emotions journal. This is basically a piece of paper (or an online food journal) where you record what you eat per day and your emotional state. If you do this for a couple of weeks and go back and have a look at the results you may identify some patterns and take some precaution measures. For example you can remove sweets and snacks from your cupboards and replace them with healthy alternatives. By doing so when you are feeling stress and turn to food for relief you will not end up eating a tone of calories but food items that are at least healthier.

8.       No need to measure your weight on a daily basis

As I mentioned above weight loss takes time and by getting on the scale on a daily basis will not make the process faster but most probably will add more stress and frustration. Instead try to weigh yourself once per week and write the result in your food journal.

9.       Do not follow more than one diet or weight loss program at the same time

If you choose to follow a commercial diet or weight loss program then concentrate on one program at a time. Good weight loss programs have different phases, each phase having a clear start and finish goal. Follow the program guidelines correctly for the time required and evaluate your results at the end. Mixing different programs together or not following their instructions will not generate any good results.

10.   Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you are not getting any results. The Internet is a great way to learn how to lose weight but sometimes other factors such as diseases, functional disorders may hold you back. A professional (your doctor or nutritionist) will be able to identify these and suggest ways to overcome them.

Dieting Tips

11.   Select your foods wisely

Even if you are not following a ‘formal’ diet, being selective on the type of foods you eat can make a difference in your weight. Try to eat well balanced meals containing items from all foods groups including healthy fats.  Excluding certain food groups or following very restrictive diets is not recommended. Have in mind that 1 gram of Fat has 9 calories compared to 4 calories in a gram of protein or carbohydrates. Read about the best weight loss foods to understand what is a healthy food.

12.   Fruits and vegetables are necessary for a healthy weight loss

I am sure you all know that fruits and vegetables are needed for a healthy body but in terms of weight loss fruits and veggies have a lot more to offer. They are full in fiber which contributes in maintaining the feeling of fullness for longer periods. They are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and they aid digestion. The dietary guidelines for the Americans (and all healthy diets like the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet) suggest a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables per day.  There are so many choices available for every need or taste. Have fruits as breakfast companions or as snacks and vegetables as a side dish with your main meals.

13.   Diet Friendly Drinks

Drinks such as soft drinks, cream coffees, beer and other alcoholic drinks carry a considerable amount of calories. To give you an idea, a pint of lager (beer) has around 193 calories, a glass of wine 134 kcal, a shot of whiskey 55 kcal while a regular cola type soft drink around 90 kcal. The point is that drinks add calories to your daily diet and should not be forgotten when calculating you calorie intake. There are many alternatives like water, green tea, light soft drinks etc. you can drink without adding to your weight. See also 5 best healthy drinks for weight loss.

14.   Snack with caution

I am sure that you all agree that snacking is a factor that may lead to diet success or failure. Snacks are usually food items that carry a large number of calories and taking one or two a day outside our meal plan can negatively impact our diet. What can you do about it? For starters you should not completely abandon snacks from your diet because this makes them more desirable. Instead you should revise your snacking options and choose more wisely. For example instead of eating a chocolate bar which may carry 150 kcals go for an apple which has 70 calories. There are many options to choose from you just have to plan in advance and do a bit of research. Some healthy snacks ideas (some are less than 100 calories) to help you out: Fruits (apple, banana, pear, orange), low fat yogurt, smoothies, berries, rye crackers, dried nuts, black chocolate, raisins, air popped corn, dried mango, rice crispy and many more.

15.   Start your day with a good breakfast

I have talked in the past about the importance of a good breakfast for weight loss but for the purpose of this article, I will summarize the most important points here:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day since your body needs energy after the night sleep.
  • A good breakfast will wake up your digestive system
  • Digestion in the morning is faster
  • Eating a good breakfast can give you enough energy until lunch time and reduce your hunger
  • A good protein breakfast (eggs, ham, cheese and yogurt, fresh juice and black coffee or tea) is ideal to get the energy you need to kick start your day!

16.   Size of your food portions does matter

Think about it this way, if you eat a large portion of food aren’t you consuming more calories than when eating a smaller portion? Even if what you are eating is low fat and low calorie, if you eat large quantities you are consuming more calories. Some studies suggest that you should eat meat the size of your palm or potatoes the size of a tennis ball etc. I do not agree with this approach. Your goal is not to get obsessed with what you eat and start counting calories and taking a tape to measure the size of your meat but to learn how to eat sensibly and avoid exaggerations. If you really want to lose weight then you know in advance that you need to eat less than what you are used to. When filling your plate ask you self if the food you have chosen is accordance with your diet or not, is your plate full up? Is it well balanced?  Just think for a bit and take into account the tips provided in this article and you will soon realize the ideal portion size for you.

17.   Read the food label and understand what do the different numbers mean

You should learn how to read a food label correctly since the information in the label can help you decide whether the particular item should be included in your diet or not. Foods that are low in fat and calories are welcomed while food items classified as bad or junk (empty calorie foods – high in calories with no nutritional value) must be avoided.

18.   Stay away from rapid, fast or crash diets

Try searching for “how to lose weight” on the Internet, you will find hundreds of diets promising that you will lose weight without effort in a very short amount of time. These are known as ‘fast weight loss diets’, ‘crash diets’ or ‘fad diets’. In their majority they are cleverly presented by a celebrity or a model and there are trying to convince you that you can get a fit body by following their plan. In reality this is not the case. If you are overweight then this means that you are doing something wrong for a number of months or years and you cannot just reverse the situation without really trying. So stay away from any plan or program that looks too good to be true and concentrate on how to deal with your problem using well-know and healthy techniques.

19.   Do not skip meals and especially breakfast

I have explained the importance of a good breakfast for weight loss above but it is equally important not to skip any meals. Start your day with a good breakfast and then try to eat at predefined intervals without skipping meals. Eating every 2-3 hours can boost your metabolism and help you spread calorie consumption evenly throughout the day which is very important if you are trying to lose weight. Plan your meals in advance to ensure that you know what to eat at each meal and not fall into the traps of choosing the easy solution (fast foods or junk food).

20.   A balanced diet is the best weight loss diet

I have left the most important diet tip for the end. The best weight loss diet is a balanced diet; this is proven and tested for a number of years and this is what all studies and weight loss experts suggest. Very low calorie diets (VLCD), very low fat diets, high protein diets, liquid diets, detox diets and anything else you may find on the Internet, work only for the short term and are not suitable for everyone. A balanced diet (such as the Mediterranean diet or Dash Diet) is the best way to lose weight and is suitable for everyone. There are diet techniques you can use like carb cycling or calorie shifting to get better results but as a general guideline stay away from diets that are restrictive and not balanced.

Fitness Tips

21.   Metabolism boosters

Metabolism is a term used to describe the rate which our body burns calories. A good way to improve metabolism is by eating frequent meals throughout the day (as explained above). Other ways to boost metabolism have to do with fitness and in particular regular exercise. By exercising 2-3 times per week you can increase your metabolism provided that you gradually increase the effort you put on a workout. What this means is that if you exercise with the same pace over and over again sooner or later your body will get used to this pattern and the benefit in terms of weight loss will be minimized. If on the other hand you increase you repetitions, difficulty level and time of exercise your heart rate is increased and metabolism is raised.

22.   Walking is easy and efficient

Walking is the easiest form of exercise and can be performed by anyone, anywhere. There is absolutely no excuse for not walking at least 20-30 minutes per day. You can wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning and walk for 10 minutes; you can do another 10 minutes after lunch and 10 minutes at night. If the weather does not allow going outdoors you can always use a treadmill and still enjoy the benefits.  The average person can burn around 100 calories for a 30 minute walk; pace and weight can play a difference but on average this is the number you can assume.

23.   Be active throughout the day

You don’t have to spend endless hours in the gym to be an active person. There are many activities you can do in a day and burn calories without realizing it. For example instead of using the lift try to walk up the stairs (where applicable), don’t park your car to the nearest parking slot when going to work but take the opportunity to walk as much as you can. These activities are not enough if you want to lose a lot of weight but they are great ways to keep your body and muscles moving. Every activity helps even if it’s not significant and it is certainly better than sitting on the couch all afternoon and watching TV.

24.   Find a sport or a hobby

Many people do not like (or want) to go to the gym or join a formal fitness class but they still need to lose weight. This is where sports come to the rescue. Doing a sport such as football, basketball, racquetball (to name a few) is a great way to burn calories by doing something that you like and enjoy. This is also true for hobbies. Having a hobby that requires movement like rock climbing, swimming, cycling etc. can have the same benefits as going to the gym or doing regular exercise.

25.   Don’t do these exercise mistakes

People who exercise for weight loss do a very critical mistake and are not getting the most out of their workout sessions. When you do the same exercises over and over again, at the same pace and duration, you are not getting any weight loss benefits. In order to burn calories while exercising your heart beat rate has to be at high levels and the only way to achieve this is by increasing both the duration and pace of your exercises. You need to constantly push yourself to do more and exercise harder if you want to burn more calories.

26.   Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval training is a great technique to increase calorie burning. You can apply HIIT to both cardio and weight lifting routines by following one simple rule:  alternate between high to low training periods in a single workout. For example have a look at the following 15 minute routine of how HIIT works:

Warm up session (2 minutes)

Walk for 40 seconds and jog for 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times

Finish up with 3 minutes stretching

HIIT is a very good way to get faster results and it is recommended by fitness experts and personal trainers.

27.   Best time to lose fat is the morning – best time to build muscle is the afternoon

Many studies have shown that morning exercise can generate better fat burning results while exercising in the afternoon is better for performance. So if you want rapid results you can do some cardio exercises in the morning to accelerate fat burning and weight lifting exercises in the afternoon to build more muscles. See also: Best time of the day to exercise for weight loss

28.   Combine both cardio and resistance training exercises in your weekly routine

Elaborating more on the previous tip, for a complete weight loss fitness program you need to include both cardio and resistance training exercises in your schedule. If you’re plan is to exercise 3 times per week you can include resistance training (such as a weight lifting session) between your cardio workouts. For example you can do cardio on Monday, weight lifting on Wed and Cardio again on Friday. Resistance training exercises can help you build more muscle mass which in turn will increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (the rate which your body burns calories even at rest).

29.   Find a fitness buddy

Having someone to share your weight loss goals is important. A fitness or weight loss buddy can help you stay focus on your goals. Find someone who has the same goals and agree on the fitness plan to follow. Maybe there are days you are not in the mood for exercising or do not want to go to the gym; this is where your fitness buddy can give you courage and motivation. Setup your mini contests and prices (who can run faster on the treadmill or who can lift more weights) and make your exercise sessions more enjoyable.

30.   Experiment with different fitness programs until you find the one that works for you

There are many fitness programs you can use, for example: you can try yoga (for weight loss), Pilates, Zumba fitness, pole dancing, PX90, beachboy, weight watchers, bootcamb and spinning (to name a few). How do you know that a program is suitable for you? You just have to try them out and find out! What is important is to find something that you like and can do for long periods of time. Do not select a program because it is trendy or because your friends are doing it but choose a program that can work for your needs and lifestyle.

Motivation Tips

31.   Figure out why you want to lose weight

Motivation is about believe and self-confidence. To get motivated to do something you first have to believe in what you want to do. When it comes to losing weight the first thing you need to clear out in your mind is why you want to lose weight. Is it because of health reasons?  Is it because you want to look better? Is it because you are tired of having those extra pounds for so many years?  Find out your reasons and believe in yourself. If others can lose weight, there is no reason why you cannot do it.

32.   Set both short terms and long term goals

Starting a weight loss process is like starting a big project. It is important that you set measurable goals for the short and long term. Just saying “I want to lose weight” is not enough, you need to be more specific as to the how and when. For example you can say “I want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months and I will do that by losing 1 pound per week”. This is a goal with both short term (1 pound per week) and long term targets (15 pounds in 3 months). You do not have to make complicated goals or calculations but having a clear set of objectives with deadlines will help you get there faster.

33.   Visualize your success

This is a trick that many successful people use. When you set up a target or dream you need to start visualizing that you have achieve it. Think how good would you feel and how your life could change if you finally manage to lose weight. Visualize your success and look forward for the day that this will become a reality and not a dream. After all do not forget that nothing is impossible if you really want it.

34.   Reward your self

I have said above that you need to set short term and long term goals; it is also a good idea to set rewards when you meet your targets. Rewards can be anything from a day off from work, to buying something that you want or from going out to a restaurant to eat what you like without thinking about calories and diet.

35.   Get motivated from weight loss success stories

Another good way to get motivated is to read the stories of other people who have managed to lose weight successfully. Search the web and find inspiring stories, read about their problems and solutions and learn from their mistakes. While reading them imagine that one day you will be writing your own success story and this day is not very long to come.

36.   Don’t be afraid (or shy) to talk about your goals

People who want to lose weight are sometimes afraid or shy to talk about their goals with friends or family. There are many reasons why this is happening but the most important is because you do not truly believe that you can do it or because you are afraid to fail and disappoint everyone who knew about it. If you think about it for a while this is just silly. Instead of being pessimistic and shy try to open up and talk about your goals with your close friends and family. See this as an opportunity to try harder and succeed and use their encouragement and advice as a motivation source.

37.   Opportunity to learn something new

Dieting and weight loss are not something bad or a torture. It is a great opportunity to learn something new and reveal the secrets of healthy living. It is an investment for health and life and you should be happy that you are actively trying to improve your quality of life. Consider your experience as a step towards a better and more enjoyable life rather than a burden you have to deal with.

38.   Beat your habits and beat the scale

Have your ever thought why you are overweight? Is it because of your genes or is it because of your habits? Both reasons can be true but in the majority of cases our unhealthy habits are to blame.  Unfortunately the modern way of life and hectic lifestyles are the major causes of obesity and it takes a lot of effort to make the switch to a healthier way of living. If you can manage to beat your unhealthy habits then be sure that you can beat the scale as well.

39.   Learn from your mistakes

During the process you will make mistakes that’s for sure. What is important is not to get discouraged and quit but to learn from your mistakes and continue until the end. Mistakes can teach us a lot of thinks and learning from our mistakes makes us stronger and willing to do more.

40.   Put excuses away

This is my favorite tip. When you say to someone that they need to start a diet or exercise they can find 1000 excuses why they cannot. They can think all sorts of reasons to convince themselves that they cannot do it, either because they don’t have the time or because it is too difficult or because… There are no excuses! You are probably still reading this guide because you want to actually lose weight so stop thinking about excuses and start thinking about your first step.

Lifestyle Tips

41.   Change your lifestyle and not diet

So far all the weight loss tips, dieting tips, fitness tips, motivation tips explained above had one purpose: to teach you how to change your lifestyle. This is the single most important secret about dieting and weight loss. If you can manage to change your eating and living habits then everything else becomes easier. It’s all in the lifestyle and this should always be in the back of your head. Follow the tips in this guide and try to incorporate them in your daily life and start watching the pounds go away and never come back.

42.   Learn more about the Mediterranean diet

When I talk about a healthy lifestyle the Mediterranean diet comes to my mind. If you are not familiar with Med diet do a bit research and learn more about the Mediterranean dietary pattern. Basically the Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle approach and not a commercial diet but its principles can help you lose weight and enjoy a healthier life. I follow the Mediterranean diet principles for years and it’s not only the best way to lose weight but it’s also a great approach to living.

43.   Close your ears and eyes to advertising

For the next couple of days count the number of advertisements you can find on the Net, newspapers, TV and magazines that are related to weight loss / diet / fitness. I am sure you will be shocked with the result. The weight loss industry is considered by many as the million dollar industry and companies try to take advantage of people who want to lose weight end especially those who want to lose weight fast. Different products, services and fitness equipment are promoted without passing basic health controls and without the approval of official bodies, the result? You are wasting your money and time and risking your health on marketing chimp sticks. Stay away from fad diets and products and do not listen to their false promises, there is only one way to lose weight and this is the healthy way.

44.   Take all opportunities you have to move

The more you move the more calories you can burn. Take every opportunity to move either at home or at work. Walk, do the garden, wash your car or dog, clean the windows, paint the house, build a tree house for your kids and in general do anything possible to stay away from the couch. Sitting on the couch all day cannot do any good, on the contrary it makes it difficult to stand up and exercise.

45.   Watch TV only at night

One of the causes of obesity (especially for young children) is TV. Watching TV all day has nothing to offer to anyone. Set up a rule to watch TV only at night and spend the rest of you day doing something creative and interactive.

46.   Stress, rest and sleep

Experts suggest that you should sleep at least 8 hours at night. This is also beneficial for your weight loss efforts and is our way (as humans) to relax, clean our minds and rest our muscles. Stress on the other hand is bad for your health and weight. I am not going to go in detail how to handle stress but if you can manage to control stress in your life the benefits are endless.

47.   Have fun

You cannot be stressed and busy all day and expect to follow up your diet or fitness program. You may be able to do it for a couple of weeks but you will soon get tired and quit. Try to do fun activities at least once or twice per week and refill your batteries with energy to do the rest of your activities.

48.   Buy a fitness magazine

Once in a while it’s not a bad idea to go and buy a lifestyle or fitness magazine. It can be relaxing and motivating to see how other people are handling diet and fitness.

49.   Register for our newsletter

We will remind you of your goals by sending you our new articles. Register now for our newsletter or download our android app to stay connected so that we go through this process together.

50.   Make the first step now

Before doing anything else drop as a comment below and state your goals. This is your first step towards a healthier and happier life. Do remember to come back and let us know that you have achieved your goals!

Way forward

If you have gone this far it’s a sign that you are serious about losing weight. The next step is moving from theory to practice. As a last advice I would say that better take it slow and succeed rather than moving fast and fail. Try to follow one tip at a time and give yourself enough time to get used to the changes.  Now it’s your turn and remember: start now, not tomorrow, not end of month, not on Monday but today, good luck!

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Alex Chris
About the author

Alex is editor-in-chief of Calorie Secrets. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also contact Alex for any comments or suggestions about the web site.

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