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Weight Loss: 12 Expert Tips to Make It A Happy Experience

Has anyone ever said “I have to lose weight” with a smile on their face? Probably not, but it's actually possible to develop new eating and exercise habits that feel good and help make weight loss a more pleasant, upbeat experience.

Smiley FaceBeing happy and losing weight don't usually go together but here are some tips to make it a better experience. (Photo: Unsplash, raw pixel)

You can lose weight without being miserable on a restrictive diet and without sacrificing favorite foods and fun times with friends. Here are a dozen ways to stay positive, stay motivated, and even enjoy yourself while trying to kicking off those excess pounds and face the inevitable challenges that come with turning your life around in order to get fit and be as healthy as possible.

#1. Never go on a calorie-restricted diet again

Sure, you have to eat less to lose weight but going on a super-strict diet is a sure way to fail. Low-calorie diets almost always backfire. Instead, go on a good-health diet (i.e a Mediterranean-style diet), cut back on portion sizes of highly caloric foods, and look for ways to make heathy eating easier.

#2. Break it down

You have a long-term goal of losing, say, 40 pounds by the end of the new year. Thats great! But the challenge of losing a lot of weight can seem overwhelming at times, enough to make you want to give up. Instead, set smaller, more easily reachable goals, like losing 6 to 8 pounds by the end of next month.

#3. Don’t plan to do anything you really don’t want to do, or can’t do

There are so many healthy foods to choose from within each food category, and so many different types of exercises and sports you can try out until you find what you like and can create a new routine. Don’t force yourself to eat foods you don’t enjoy until you discover new ways to prepare them so they’re more palatable. And if you join a gym or sign up for exercise classes (like swimming or dance), be sure it’s convenient to where you live or work and that you’re able to get there at a convenient time.

#4. Keep it interesting

Vary your exercise routine from time to time, learn to cook new and different types of foods. (Try to find a healthy cooking class!) This way you won’t fall into a diet rut and you’ll keep your body physically challenged in new and different ways

#5. Think inspiring thoughts

You won’t lose weight simply by feeling inspired; you have to do the work. But a refrigerator or calendar covered with meaningful quotes and helpful tips can certainly help you stay motivated. Start collecting positive, thought-provoking materials that will provide emotional support throughout your weight-loss journey. Some examples: “My body is getting stronger,” “I’m excited about losing some of this extra weight,” “I like being healthier,” “This binge was just a temporary lapse, and that’s OK.

woman happy about weight loss(Photo:123rf)

#6. Keep your eye on the prize 

Instead of thinking about how hard it is to change eating and exercise habits, think about how good you’re going to feel once you’ve succeeded. Imagine a time in the not-so-distant future when you’ll be able to say ‘I did it!” You know that’s going to feel good!

#7. Strive for commitment and endurance, not perfection

Never punish yourself for slipping, but always reward yourself for even the smallest accomplishments. Did you eat smaller portions at every meal today? Exercise 10 minutes longer than usual? Buy yourself some flowers! Did you stick to your goals all week? Reward yourself with a book or a beauty product. Make a list of small, affordable reward possibilities to use as incentives in the future, along with a few luxuries for when you start reaching those loftier long-term goals.

#8. Treat yourself to a spa day

Why not be pampered from time to time, while at the same time, learning to eat better, relax, and reduce some of the stress that may be contributing to your weight gain? Got some vacation time coming up? Consider a spa get-away weekend or full week, if you can, to kick-start or replenish your motivation.

#9. Find a weight loss buddy

Try to develop a long-term relationship with someone who can help keep you motivated.That could be a friend or family member who also wants to lose weight, a registered dietitian or nutritionist, or a counselor familiar with weight issues. You’re looking for anyone who you can work out with, check in with, share recipes with, and commiserate with on a regular basis, until you reach your goals, and from time to time even after you’ve achieved your goals.

#10. Stay busy and develop new interests

Sometimes you need distractions from all this focus on weight loss, eating and exercising. Think about all the things there are to do besides eating when you’re not really hungry. You can go for a walk, text or e-mail a friend, write an actual letter to someone, write to yourself in a journal, clean your house, read a magazine, wash your car, go to the library, take your dog to a park, knit, sew, work on a craft project, study poetry or take a language class. Think about what else you could add to that list, and keep the list handy.

#11. Eat out!

Eating at restaurants can be tricky when you’re trying to lose weight but the fact is, you need to be out socializing and adjusting to real-life situations where temptation is calling your name. Want a rich dessert? Split it with your dining partner(s). Same for higher-calorie, higher-fat menu options. If you’re on your own with these challenges, the tried and true trick is to ask for half the dish to be packaged to go, in advance. Save that portion for another day.

#12. Know your physical and emotional limits

Don’t push yourself too hard, especially when you’re first starting out. Overdo the new “rules,” and you may exhaust yourself or frustrate yourself to the point of giving up. Whether it’s a new physical activity or a new way of eating,  start slow and make gradual changes to your diet and exercise routines.

Updated on: January 17, 2019
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