7 Ways to Jump-Start Your Weight Loss Plan This Fall
Why wait for January? Fall is the perfect time to launch a diet and fitness program.
7 Ways to Jump-Start Weight Loss
If you need help getting started, here are seven expert tips to help you
jump-start your weight loss this fall:
- Control your cravings. In the 3-A-Day survey, 52% of the
moms said cravings were their biggest challenge in losing weight. Eating every
few hours will prevent hunger, keep your blood sugar stable, and reduce
cravings, says Sass. "Moms are so busy they tend to go too long without
eating, then end up eating too fast, or the wrong kind of foods," she says.
One trick is to plan ahead: Bring along a baggie full of unsalted nuts and
dried fruit for when hunger strikes. If sweet cravings are your downfall, Sass
recommends chocolate – a few small pieces, that is. Let it melt slowly in your
mouth so you can really savor the taste. Don't avoid the foods you crave; just
eat them in small portions.
- Lace up your sneakers. Half the surveyed moms wanted to
lose more than 20 pounds but 72% said they had 30 minutes or less to devote to
exercise each day. "Something is better than nothing … even if it is 10
minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night," says Sass. "It does
not need to be formal; just find ways to add more steps into your day." If
you make exercise social (such as walking with a neighbor), it's more fun, less
of a chore, and more likely to become routine. Owning a dog is another great
way to get more exercise, as they need to be taken on walks regularly.
- Don't fail to plan. Write down your master plan for how
you'll fit in fitness and eat healthier and factor it in as you plan schedules
for the new school year. "It is not enough to say you are going to exercise
daily; you need to be more specific, such as going to the gym on the way to
work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday," says Elisa Zied, RD, author of So
What Can I Eat?. And don't forget to include snacks in your planning:
"If you think of them as random eating, they are less likely to be
healthy," says Krieger. She suggests buying portable snacks such as fruit,
nuts, single-serving yogurts, and low-fat cheese so they'll always be handy.
Snacks high in fiber and lean protein will keep you feeling full between
- Stock your kitchen with healthy choices. Having
nutritious foods readily available makes it easier to work them into your diet.
Always have cut-up fruits and vegetables on hand; pair them with low-fat yogurt
dip for an instant snack or side dish. "Make it a rule to have some fruit
or vegetables before you have a treat, like chocolate, and this way you are
less likely to overdo the treat," suggests Zied.
- Start each day with breakfast. "Having breakfast gets
your engine started during those critical morning hours when you are busy at
school or work," says Zied. "Skipping breakfast is an invitation for
over-consumption of less nutritious foods later in the day." Try to work
fiber, lean protein, and fruits or vegetables into your breakfast. If you're
not a breakfast person, you don't have to have much: A low-fat yogurt and a
piece of fruit is enough to get your day started and control your appetite.
- Strive for progress, not perfection. If you follow healthy
food and fitness guidelines 80% of the time, the new habits will become a part
of your life without overwhelming you. "Many people think in terms of black
and white when they think about eating and fitness habits," says Zied.
"In reality, we should get comfortable living in gray, somewhere in
between. Doing even 20 minutes of exercise, cutting portions by even a few
bites, and switching from 2% milk to 1% milk -- these small things can have a
big impact on your health and on your life."
- Don't forget portion control. As you get back into a more
structured routine, it is a great time to get more detail-oriented. "Just
like sharpening your pencils to get ready for school, break out the measuring
cups and see how much food you have been putting on your plate," says
Krieger. "Portions have a tendency to get larger, so keep portion sizes in
check by measuring the quantity once in a while."