Whether you're looking to lose a few pounds - or have 30, 40 or more pounds to shed - a few creative weight loss tips can make it easier. To help you stick with your diet and meet your weight loss goals, WebMD asked several nutrition and fitness experts to share their secrets of success. The 7 diet tips that follow can help you get on the fast track to safe weight loss, no matter what kind of diet you're on.
Weight Loss Tip #1: Count on more than willpower alone.
By Meryl Davids Landau
When you were in your 20s and 30s, you probably ignored random aches or other minor physical annoyances, and they usually went away. But now those symptoms can come back — often with a different cause, and calling for more serious attention.
It's easy to blame diet failures on a lack of willpower, says Lisa Sanders, MD, a Yale University primary care clinician-educator. But willpower isn't meant to be the only tool you use. It's more like a safety net for when life spins out of control.
Basing your weight loss efforts only on willpower can actually work against your diet goals, says Martha Beck, PhD, life coach and author of The Four Day Win: End Your Diet War and Achieve Thinner Peace. For instance, research shows that trying not to think about something - like that frosted chocolate brownie - can actually make you focus more intensely on it. When you're rested, relaxed, and enjoying life, Beck says, you can suppress unwanted thoughts and feelings fairly easily. But when you're stressed, annoyed, or pressed for time, resisting temptations is much harder. So rather than relying on willpower to get you through, set a goal to develop a conscious awareness of what you eat without obsessing about it.
Here are two ways you can set yourself up to succeed. First, says Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, eliminate any food that doesn't support your weight loss goals. Giancoli is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She says it'll be much easier to resist temptation if unhealthy choices aren't around. Purge your pantry of any foods that list "partially hydrogenated oils" as an ingredient. Toss out sodas or other drinks made with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. And, especially if you prefer bottled water to tap, keep a supply on hand. It's easier to grab on the go.