Overwhelmingly, the individuals who enter our transformation challenges have a goal of weight loss.
Some of you reading this may want to only lose a little bit of weight, while others of you may have more ambitious goals.
Regardless, we all share some common struggles when it comes to weight loss -- hunger, periods of low motivation, diet fatigue, etc.
Today, we discuss 10 simple changes you can make to your daily routine that will yield big dividends by the end of your weight loss journey.
10 Changes to Help Weight Loss
#1 Have Protein at Breakfast
We’ve said it before, and we’ll continue to say it -- the most important macronutrient when it comes to fat loss is protein.
It provides the body with the essential amino acids (EAAs) it needs to build and repair muscle tissue as well as ward up any potential muscle breakdown that may occur during periods of low calorie intakes (such as when you’re dieting).
But, that’s not all.
Protein also is the most “expensive” macronutrient for the body to digest, meaning it has to burn more calories to break down protein-containing foods than it does carbs or fats.
Protein is also the most satiating of the three macronutrients, which helps increase feelings of fullness and wards off hunger pangs that could otherwise derail weight loss goals.
A great way to help ensure you’re consuming enough protein is to start the day with a protein-packed breakfast, such as:
- A smoothie made with fruit, milk, and 1UP protein powder
- A veggie omelet
- A Greek yogurt parfait with fresh/frozen berries and nuts
#2 Don’t Avoid Whole Grains
The “cool” thing to do these days is to say you’re going keto or “ditching carbs.”
But, the reality is, you don’t need to do either of these things to lose weight fast.
Carbs can (and for many individuals) should be included in their fat loss diet.
The reasons for this are many, but to sum it up, carbs:
- Give us the energy to train harder
- Replenish muscle glycogen
- Help raise insulin levels (which combats muscle breakdown)
Plus, when you start viewing carbs as “bad”, you create these moral associations that some foods are either “good” or “bad”, and the reality is that no single food will stop you from losing weight -- eating too many calories will.
Furthermore, whole grains are rich in fiber (which helps increase satiety) and contain many beneficial micronutrients, including B vitamins.
Instead of using white bread to make a sandwich or getting the bagel for breakfast, swap whole grains -- oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat bread.
#3 Drink Water Upon Waking
Many times when individuals think they are hungry, they are actually thirsty.
After a long night’s sleep, your body is thirsting for hydration after using water stores throughout the night to perform a wide array of functions.
Give it what it needs by having a big (16oz) glass of water immediately upon waking.
If it helps you to remember to drink, place a glass of water on your nightstand or a filled water bottle as a reminder to drink water first thing upon waking.
As an added bonus, this hydration protocol immediately upon waking also helps make sure you’re sufficiently hydrated for any early morning workouts you may be doing.
#4 Toss Out the Junk
One area where many individuals slip up during their weight loss journey is falling back into old habits, such as snacking on junk food.
The easy change here is to simply not keep junk food in the house.
“Out of sight, out of mind.”
If you don’t keep it nearby (i.e. in your pantry), you’re less likely to eat it.
This way if you do want some sort of high-calorie indulgence, you’ll either have to drive out to the store to pick it up, or make it yourself.
Instead of these foods, stock healthier (and lower calorie) options in plain sight. Some of our favorite ready to eat foods include fresh fruits, sliced veggies, and nuts.
Making this swap may seem small, but it will lead to huge calorie savings in the long run.
#5 Move More
Weight loss ultimately boils down to calories in vs calories out.
If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight.
Typically, people think this means lots and lots of “exercise” or “cardio.”
But, programmed physical activity (cardio or resistance training) is but one (small) component of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). You also have to factor in basal metabolic rate (BMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
And, it’s this final component that we center on in this easy change weight loss tip.
Increasing your non-exercise activity level throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to boost how many calories you’re burning each day without feeling like you’re exercising yourself to no end.
An easy way to do this is to take a few 10-minute walks during the day, or just get up and take a lap around the office once every 30-60 minutes.
#6 Take the Stairs
Building off the previous point, another easy way to increase calorie burning during the day (and the amount of movement you do), is to choose to take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
As an added bonus, taking the stairs also builds strength in the upper thighs and glutes, giving you stronger, leaner looking legs.
Furthermore, climbing stairs for just a few minutes per day can burn enough calories to counteract the typical average annual weight gain of Americans (1-2 pounds per year).
#7 Combine Entertainment + Exercise
If you despise your weekly cardio sessions, why not try to inject some fun into them by listening to a podcast, audiobook, or motivational music?
Sure, you might need to crank away on the treadmill or elliptical for 30-60 minutes, but no one said you had to do it in silence or while listening to the lame music pumped out of the speakers in most gyms.
Put in your earphones, turn on some type of content you enjoy, and get cracking.
By listening to things that excite, motivate, and interest you while exercising, you’ll start to associate training with enjoyment, which can go a long way to helping you stay on track with your fitness plan.
#8 Lay Out Your Workout Clothes
Rolling out of bed and heading straight to a workout can seem like an incredibly daunting task for many individuals, especially if you’re not used to training in the morning.
The alarm clock goes off, and you just want to throw it against the wall to make it stop buzzing.
One thing you can do to help motivate yourself to get up and get moving is to lay out your workout clothes the night before.
Seeing those clothes hanging up or laying on the edge of the bed can serve as a powerful reminder of what you’ve committed to do.
On the flip side, if you’re someone who likes to train after work, then change into your workout clothes before leaving the office and getting in your car.
You’ll be more likely to get in your workout if you’re already dressed for it, then if you get in the car in your workout clothes and just start driving.
#9 Schedule Bedtime
Sleep is vital to achieving your weight loss goals, yet many individuals still don’t take sleep seriously.
The reason that sleep is so important is that is when your body does the majority of its repair, recovery, and growth. Sleep also helps the body restock its mental and physical energy stores so you can perform better the next day.
And, getting enough sleep is also important for keeping hunger and satiety signals functioning properly in the body.
If you’re someone who notoriously short changes their sleep, start setting an alarm to remind you it’s time to go to bed. This alarm is non-negotiable. When it goes off, that’s your cue to start getting ready for bed.
You’ll thank us in the morning!
#10 Be OK with Slip Ups
No one is perfect, and we all have those occasions where we deviate from our diet or exercise plans.
By knowing that it may happen, and realizing it’s ok if it does happen, you’ll be better prepared to come out of it stronger and more determined to stay on track with your goals.
Where individuals get into trouble with these diet and exercise “slip ups” is when they think that a small misstep spells complete and utter doom for their goals.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You can still achieve everything you want to, even when having a small indulgence here or there.
What’s more, is that research indicates that individuals who think positively are more likely to stay on track with their goals and achieve success.
- Phelan, S., Halfman, T., Pinto, A.M. and Foster, G.D. (2020), Behavioral and Psychological Strategies of Long‐Term Weight Loss Maintainers in a Widely Available Weight Management Program. Obesity, 28: 421-428. doi:10.1002/oby.22685
- Allan JL, Sniehotta FF, Johnston M. The best laid plans: planning skill determines the effectiveness of action plans and implementation intentions. Ann Behav Med. 2013;46(1):114-120. doi:10.1007/s12160-013-9483-9