How to Make Simple Changes to Lose Weight

Grilled meats and vegetables
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Losing weight takes dedication, motivation, and hard work. But you can make weight loss easier. These are strategies that can help you to slim down with less effort, but keep in mind that you can't trick your body into sustainable weight loss. If you are unable to maintain the behavior, you will not sustain the weight loss.

Changing what you eat might seem like the first—and most crucial—step. But it is important to first consider if changing what you eat is accessible to you. If it's not, then your weight loss efforts and results will be temporary. When considering how feasible overhauling your diet might be, ask yourself the following questions: can I afford to make these changes?, can I commit extra time to learning new recipes? will I be able to continue with this plan after my initial weight loss?

Simple Changes to Make Weight Loss Easy

You can lose weight by changing how much food you eat, but if you change what you eat, the weight loss process gets even easier. Here are the diet changes that we suggest.

Eliminate or reduce the amount of red meat in your diet. 

If foods like burgers and fatty steaks are staples in your current diet, you may want to consider cutting back. Reducing your red meat consumption can go a long way in helping you to cut calories and slim down. If you choose to eat red meat one or two times per week, choose the leanest red meats to keep your diet on track. Then start to build meals around healthy types of fish and poultry. Eating lean protein helps to curb hunger so you eat less. You should also make better choices at fast food restaurants to keep fat calories in check. To keep your shellfish, fish, chicken, and turkey diet-friendly, be sure to choose the right preparation method. Skip creamy, high-calorie condiments like tartar sauce or "special sauce" on grilled chicken sandwiches.

Use healthy cooking methods. 

Cut out fried foods. Keep your diet-friendly food choices more healthy by grilling, baking, roasting, broiling or boiling them. The best cooking methods for your diet are low fat and low in calories.

You can also set up your kitchen for weight loss. Organize your kitchen so that healthy food preparation is simple. Keep your cupboards stocked with plenty of herbs and spices so you fix your favorite dishes without adding additional fat or calories. You can even plant an herb garden and you'll never run out.

Start your meals with soup or salad. 

Having a healthy salad or cup of soup at the beginning of your meal can really pay off when you're trying to slim down. These low calorie "filler foods" can help curb hunger, and prevent overeating.

So which soups are best? Skip the creamy soups and choose a broth or tomato-based soup like minestrone. Vegetable soup made with broth, stock, or tomato soup is ideal because the veggies will help fill you up and give you a fiber and nutrition boost.

If you choose to have a salad, top your salad with low-cal dressing, balsamic vinegar or lemon. If you love creamy dressings, make your own ranch-style dressing at home to limit fat and calories.

Finish your meal with fruit.

Instead of reaching for the cookie jar or helping yourself to dessert after meals, finish off your meal with naturally sweet fruit instead. Not only will you save fat and calories, but you will also have the added benefit of extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Few of us eat as much fruit as is recommended.

Change What You Drink to Make Weight Loss Easy

The next step in your weight loss plan is to change your drink choices. Cutting back on certain drinks can make a huge difference to your long-term weight loss success.

  • Cut back on soda. If you drink regular soda, you may be surprised at just how many additional calories you're taking in. For example, for every 20 ounces of Coca-Cola you drink, you consume 250 calories. Drink several glasses a day and you can easily down 1,000 liquid calories.
    If you drink a lot of soda, think of how many calories you'll be saving if you trade it in for diet soda or water. Hundreds? Even thousands? Remember, every 3,500 calories saved equals one pound lost.
  • Drink more water. When you're trying to slim down, it is important to drink enough water every day. Try to drink eight glasses each day. You'll stay hydrated and the increased water consumption may help you to cut back on soda. You may even find you crave water instead of soda once you begin drinking it more often. If you don't like water, learn to make flavored waters at home that will satisfy both your sweet tooth and your salty cravings.
  • Be cautious with diet sodas. Diet colas and other diet soda drinks may sound like a diet-friendly way to lose weight since they're calorie-free. However, there is a controversial issue about artificial sweeteners' indirect effect on weight loss that might surprise you.
    Some studies have suggested that drinking diet soda may encourage you to eat more or to make less healthy food choices. Some health experts have suggested that artificial sweeteners actually cause cravings for sweet foods to increase. 
  • Cut back on alcohol. Booze calories add up quickly. They don't call it a beer belly for nothing. In addition to the calories in alcoholic drinks, drinking can lead to out-of-control eating. Try to cut down or even eliminate alcohol.

Change What You Do to Make Weight Loss Easier

There are simple habits that will help you get slim and keep the pounds off for good.

  • Keep a food diary. There is no better tool for weight management than a simple food diary. Keeping a food journal consistently will show you your trouble areas, the foods that get you started on a binge, the worst times of day, etc. Try keeping a detailed food diary for at least two weeks to accurately reflect your habits.
  • Learn about nutrition. Use good weight loss books and good online sources to learn all you can about nutrition and diet. Understanding the reasons behind healthy food choices might make the right decisions easier to make.
  • Manage emotional eating. If you feel you have issues with emotional eating, you may want to track your feelings in your food diary, too. You should record how you feel before, during, and after eating. Periodically check over your entries to see what cues set you off to binge-eat or practice other unhealthy eating behaviors. If you discover frequent binges or you can't seem to cope with stress or sadness without eating, you're an emotional eater. Don't hesitate to make an appointment with a qualified therapist or clinical social worker to get the help that you need.
  • Start exercising. You don't have to join a gym or invest in exercise equipment to slim down. You can start an easy exercise program at home to slim down. Or simply get outside and start a walking program for weight loss.  Remember, any activity is better than no activity. Just be sure that you are healthy enough for exercise before you begin.

Remember, any of these healthy changes that you make to your diet, your drinking habits and to boost your daily activity level is going to make weight loss easier. Start with simple easy changes and build your program gradually.

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