Can you be lazy and lose weight?
It’s impossible. Well, improbable. We’ve all got those friends that seem to be able to lose weight just by thinking about getting thinner. But for the rest of us, we all know we need diet and exercise to get to our healthy weight. And research shows diet is about 80% responsible for your weight loss efforts.
Research also shows most people fail to achieve their resolutions each year. This poll says over 40% of respondents admitted to failing. Of course, one of the most resolutions is to lose weight.
Some reports suggest as many as 90% of diets fail. After all, if you don’t keep doing whatever caused you to lose weight, you’ll just put it back on. And it comes back quick – like weeds after a good rain.
If it seems hopeless, it’s not.
Sit and Drop Pounds?
Well, if we go back to the study about diet being the primary factor of weight loss, yes, it does seem entirely possible that you could just grab a chair, plant it in the sand, watch the waves all day drink in hand, and drop pounds. That’d be the life, wouldn’t it?
As much as we want to think we can do that and somehow go from flab to fit in 30 days, it just isn’t possible.
So what can you do?
Quitting everything cold turkey is probably going to make you go crazy. You’ll probably be driven back to consuming and doing everything you just stopped doing. But hey, if you’ve got some titanium will power and an extreme amount of desire, go for it.
If not, start small. After all, small changes can make a huge difference. More important than that though, small changes can make lasting change.
Drink Water to Lose Weight
Start by drinking a few more glasses of water each day. Work yourself up until you get the proper amount of water. Generally, that’s somewhere in the range of 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight.
You’ve probably heard about water weight. I used to think (a looong time ago) that it was weight you could drop at a moment’s notice. (Hint: it’s not).
Your body needs water to function properly. You’re more water than anything else. So if you’re not drinking enough water, your body will try holding onto it. When you start drinking enough water, you’ll not only lose weight, you’ll also lose some bloat.
Track Your Food
It’s not as difficult as it sounds anymore. You don’t have to weigh everything out and read labels and grab a calculator. All you need is your phone and this friendly app: MyFitnessPal. There’s also a web version.
Keeping track of everything you eat is important, especially in the early stages, because you just never really pay attention to that handful of Skittles. Or the food your kids didn’t finish that you felt guilty about throwing out.
Don’t be overly critical of yourself though. You still need calories and nutrients to function. And, if you don’t eat enough, your body will go into starvation mode (it’ll start storing fat). Definitely not what you want to do.
Change Your Coffee
Coffee is one of those vices that nearly everyone has. Coffee’s got all sorts of benefits, so it’s generally OK – as long as you’re not dumping all sorts of cream, sugar, and milk into it.
Try drinking your coffee black. Or as close to black as possible.
1 cup of black coffee? 1 calorie. No carbs. 0 grams fat.
Add one serving of creamer and you get 40ish calories and 7 carbs (depending on what you’re using).
Teaspoon of sugar: 16 calories.
¼ cup of 2% milk: 32 calories.
Add it up, multiply it by 5 and you get almost 500 calories a week if you’re just drinking ONE cup of coffee a day. Now, I realize you’re probably not adding everything above into your coffee. It’s an exercise in opportunity and to get you thinking about easy ways to help yourself lose weight.
If you’re having trouble drinking coffee black because it’s bitter or you think it tastes awful, reach for a light roast. Or, spend a little more more on some coffee you can brew at home because you’ll be saving a ton of money (you can buy a whole bag of coffee beans for the price of less than 2 drinks at most coffee houses).
Walk…A Little More
It’s awesome that you started walking. Don’t get me wrong. Much love goes out to you. Just increase your walking time by 5 minutes.
I don’t want to reduce your efforts to calories-in vs calories-out because it’s not really that.
This is your determination. This is your will power. It’s your desire to succeed. And there’s a study that showed people lost weight faster and were able to actually keep the weight off 3 months later by making this change amidst other small changes.
The idea that you’re supposed to chew your food 20 times or 32 times isn’t a bad one. As annoying as it may seem, it’ll help you out in a few different ways.
Let’s go back to biology for a second. Or maybe food science. Wherever you learned it, you learned that digestion starts in the mouth. The first bit is breaking your food into smaller chunks and the second is that your saliva starts breaking down your food.
The more broken down your food is, the better you absorb the nutrients. Trust me, if I’m paying $8.97 per pound of salmon, I’m going to enjoy every second and I’m going to wring absolutely every milligram of omega-3s out of it.
Besides getting more bang for your buck, you’ll also eat less than normal. Your stomach, mouth, and your brain aren’t as close as you think. It takes time for your food to get down to your stomach and for your stomach to tell your brain it’s had enough. If you inhale your food without enjoying it much, you’ll wind up eating more than you actually need to.
Does it have to be exactly 20 or 32 times? No. Just chew more and longer and you’ll see the results.
Fiber It Up
It’s not just for old people. Fiber’s for everyone. Everyone should consume more fiber. It’s got an amazing list of benefits, but it’s especially beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight.
Fiber will help fill you up and will keep you feeling full. Shoot for 20-24 grams of fiber per day.
Crunchy vegetables are rich in fiber (you want some texture in your meals anyway, so get some), nuts, beans, and berries. Berries are better than most other fruits because they’ve got a better ratio of skin to mesocarp (the part of the fruit that’s normally eaten). Less mesocarp = less sugar.
The Smart Way to Manage Your Weight
You don’t have to make drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle. In fact, it’s better if you don’t.
A lot of the reason I believe people fail to reach their New Year’s Resolutions and goals is because they’re so focused on the end goal and not all the steps that it takes to get there.
When you make small changes, you’re really concentrating on the process to achieve your weight loss goals. And they’re easy to achieve.
What seems more difficult:
- Chewing your food 20 times or losing 20 pounds?
- Dropping 2” from your waistline or drinking 3 more glasses of water each day?
- Fitting into a certain swimsuit or eating crunchy veggies?
You can do it.
You can achieve all your weight management goals. One small step at a time.