If you’ve ever tried to lose weight in the New Year only to quickly gain it all back again, you’re not alone. The truth is weight loss is difficult, and there’s no quick fix. Dietitians and nutritionists know that all too well from counseling hundreds of failed dieters. What they do know is that sweeping changes rarely last, but smaller ones add up over time. Here are five expert tips on how to lose weight and keep it off for good this year.
1. Despite What Everyone Tells You, You Don’t Need to Detox
There are a number of programs that advertise the benefits of an “extreme cleanse” for good health, but the truth is that you don’t need one. While it may not be as exciting, eating a healthy diet of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is the healthiest way to lose weight (and maintain it). The truth is that your liver and kidneys take care of all of your body’s detoxification needs, so there’s no need to follow any special diet in January or the rest of the year.
2. It May Sound Boring, but Small Changes Really Make a Big Difference
Whether it’s skipping that extra cookie or nixing the sugar in your daily coffee, seemingly small changes on a daily basis can add up to a big change in your weight. Since a five hundred calorie deficit each day leads to about a 1 pound loss each week, even a few changes can have a slimming effect. You’ll find five hundred calories in items such as 2 doughnuts, a bagel with cream cheese, 2.5 ounces of potato chips, or a chocolate mocha latte. Pretty simple, right?
3. What You’re Drinking Can Pack on the Pounds
Don’t forget that drinks can have a big impact on your weight-loss success. Whenever possible, opt for low-calorie or calorie-free beverages such as fat-free milk, water, or seltzer. If alcohol is a part of your social life, it can be difficult to abstain completely so make better choices and limit yourself to one light alcoholic beverage like a wine spritzer and drink water the rest of the time. When you drink water can also make a difference. A recent study showed that drinking sixteen ounces of water thirty minutes before a meal may aid weight loss.
4. You Need to Keep It Real With Yourself and What You Eat
We’ve all heard the claims and seen the pictures of people who’ve gone from a size 12 to a 2 in just six weeks. While it’s natural to want these quick results, the fact is that the best type of weight loss is gradual. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. So, keep this in mind when setting your weight loss goal. Setting a realistic goal can keep you from feeling frustrated along the way. “Keeping it real” is important when choosing food, too, so opt for whole, unprocessed foods as often as you can.
5. Some Gimmicks Just Might Work
If you’ve ever sworn off carbohydrates completely, only eaten fruit on an empty stomach, or mainlined grapefruit all day in the name of weight loss, you’ve been on a fad diet. Many diet plans are based on gimmicks, or little tricks that are supposed to help you be successful, but often don’t work. But the truth is that some of these gimmicks can work for some people. So if eating vegan for most of the day or not eating after 8 o’clock has worked for you in the past, then go with it! You don’t have to follow every aspect of a diet plan in order to be successful. A word of caution though: Some gimmicks go too far. If a diet plan permanently eliminates a whole food group or has you living on a diet of celery sticks and grapefruit, then look for a plan that is more well-rounded.