Being lazy makes weight loss hard. Though it usually involves a lack of action when you have the means to improve, laziness can come in many forms, whether it is a lack of motivation to exercise or a failure to make the effort to choose positive and healthy foods and activities.
I gained way too much weight for my little frame by making poor choices for my health, and when I had to take it off, I attacked the problem from as many angles as I could until I found what worked for me. When I did, I lost 33 percent of my body weight and felt healthier than I ever have in my life.
These easy weight loss tips are for generally healthy people seeking weight loss, not those in dire straits with their health. Also, some people are just big and beautiful and healthy that way, so make sure weight loss is actually a good idea. Before starting any weight loss plan, talk to your doctor, and don’t do anything dangerous unsupervised. This means exercising in pairs and keeping a spotter for any weight lifting you do and consulting a doctor before you do anything outside of your normal range of ability or comfort.
Don’t hurt yourself
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but I was well on my way to healthy weight loss when I hit a big obstacle: injury from exercise. Injury from exercise can come from many sources. Injuries from exercise not only stop you in your exercise-bound tracks, but they can also be a deterrent and a bit of a disappointment that can send you spiraling back into an unhealthy state. I think I was down and out for a both a month when, in a burst of enthusiastic yoga, I broke my foot on a poorly placed living room exercise bike.
You can be injured if you lift too much weight, if you run more than your body can take, or if you simply whack yourself when you are not paying clear attention to your body and the exercise. You can also hurt yourself by eating too much, eating too little or eating foods that do not give you proper nutrition. When you cut calories, you also cut vitamins, so make sure you are getting the ones you need.
When exercising, wear the proper safety gear, and always be mindful of your limitations (the real ones, not the ones in your head) and err on the side of caution unless you are working with a professional fitness trainer who knows where to stop.
Save the big dinner plates for guests
One easy way to control portions is to make it impossible for you to heap more on your plate than you should eat. When I was losing weight, I ate only from saucers and bread plates; the small plates in your dinnerware set. It’s a lot harder to pile a ridiculous amount of food onto a tiny plate without spilling.
If you are short like me, you can put the big plates on the top shelves so you can easily access small plates whilst having to work to access the large ones. Second helpings are fine, but make sure you are eating because you are hungry and not just because the food is tasty.
If you don’t want it, don’t eat it
Does this surprise you as a tip? Take a moment to think about the things you may have been offered that you took just to be polite or because everyone else was doing it. Every morning doughnut, every sample at Costco and every piece of office birthday cake you eat has calories that add to your weight and affect your health. Learn to say “no” to these snacks. This includes snacking on the peppermint candies at the office receptionist’s desk.
A helpful way to think about this is to consider saving calories for what you really want. Because on this easy diet plan, you can have it, but you don’t get it all.
Eat what you really want, but only eat a little
Many millions of dollars have been spent to help sugar-addicted dieters get a taste for the sweet tooth without overdoing the calories. When I was losing weight, I didn’t touch any diet cookies like Snackwell’s or any Weight Watcher’s meals. I ate my favorite fast foods, pizzas and desserts and enjoyed fine decadent foods at restaurants. The trick is to eat just what you need to experience the food instead of eating it all, and to challenge yourself to experience it when you really want it.
How do you do this? By planning food celebrations. Instead of denying yourself that bag of potato chips, tell yourself that you will buy the potato chips at a particular time. The time should potentially be a long time away, like a month or whatever you can stand to do. This does not necessarily have to be a date; I buy myself potato chips when the price drops below a level I have set for myself. Then I buy one bag of chips, and I share it.
Food is a joyful experience, and denying that pleasure for good is impossible for a lot people. So order that decadent pie or volcano cake dessert at your favorite local restaurant, and ask the server for extra spoons so everyone at the table can enjoy while you savor every precious bite so you can make sure you remember everything about it.
Make no excuses and feel no guilt about what you ate. Then when you crave it, simply remember it in every glorious detail before giving in again. However, if you got a stomachache or felt unhealthy after eating a decadent food, remember that as well, because it gives you an important clue about what is good for your body.
Go lite when it matters
Many types of food these days have “Lite” or “Diet” versions that you can choose if you want to lower the calories or fat in your food. Some of these may be worse for you than the original, and they certainly don’t always taste good. Read the nutritional information if you plan to go low calorie. Some lighter foods have such negligible calorie differences that you are better off enjoying the full-calorie version than suffering over a paltry calorie savings.
Some lite foods even have more sugar to make them taste better after they lower the fat. But, as mentioned in #7, eat only what you really want. Having low calorie or light foods is not an excuse to pig out, and you may end up eating more calories than you would have if you just ate the one you really wanted. Here’s an easy tip: If the light version tastes good to you, go for it. If not, read about what makes it “light” to determine if the difference is enough to justify the taste sacrifice.
Do everything faster
Get things done and burn calories by just stepping it up a little. If you can get yourself a bit winded by doing physical tasks like housework just a little faster than you usually do, you will burn more calories and have the added bonus of getting your stuff done faster. If you are feeling particularly spry, throw a dictionary or two in your backpack and wear it around the house as you clean.
Good activities for this include cleaning the kitchen, making the bed, doing laundry and vacuuming the house. You can also choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator, and if you already take the stairs, you can decide to take them a little faster. Just don’t overdo it, and know that it doesn’t count as actual exercise. (Sorry.)
Nerd out when you exercise
Exercise is not the time for worrying about how you look or whether your thighs look dimply on the treadmill. When exercising, give it your all and even punch it up to try to look as dorky as possible so you have a good time. Wear a stupid hat or get the most ridiculous jogging suit you can find.
If what tickles you is video games, get a Wii and do the fitness exercises or simply hook up a Playstation while you pedal on your exercise bike. Make exercising “you time” by making it all about having fun while getting fit and you’ll find yourself doing it a lot more often.
Cook your own food.
When you eat out, you almost never know what kind of calorie content you are getting. A plate of spaghetti with meat sauce at the Olive Garden can run you upwards of 700 calories, while a plate of the home version only runs around 400 calories per serving. If you are a junkie for a certain type of food, whether it is pizza, cookies or creme brulee, making an at-home version can give you the satisfaction of a job well done while giving you the same food for lower calories. You may find you even prefer the healthy version. Bonus: you also burn calories while cooking it.
YOU are beautiful
Being fat seems to be somewhat of a litmus test for total jerks. It angers me that being fat in public can yield a host of humiliations from unkind strangers, and in extreme situations, getting fat can even expose who among your friends is true to you. If you learn to feel good about yourself when you are not at the weight you desire, you will feel good about yourself all the time.
Getting skinny is not going to make dumb people genuinely like you, but they may start faking it better. Realize that you are an amazing creature and celebrate that. Own what you are and do not deny it.
If you are fat and you are healthy and you feel good and you exercise, maybe you should not mess with success. If people around you are putting you down for your weight, hang out with other people who react to you more positively. If you do it for you, you do it for good. If someone’s putting you down, either confront them or get out of there. You deserve real love.
Losing weight so you will look good is losing weight for other people. Getting skinny so people will like you just makes it obvious that you are hanging around with a bunch of jerks. Most likely, losing weight will not fix your emotional, social or financial problems, but it can help you feel better if you are not at a personally healthy weight. Encourage yourself and surround yourself with people who support that frame of mind.
If you are one of those big beautiful folks and need some help feeling good about yourself, check out the fat-positive book Fat!SO? by Marilyn Wann.
There is no diet. There is no quit
Lots of people embark on an ambitious diet just to quit when it gets hard or doesn’t work out. This is not a diet that you can just quit. When you lose weight the lazy way, you lose it slow and healthy; that’s just the way it is. You are not on a diet; you are on a lifelong quest to enjoy a healthy life through good, mindful eating habits and joyful exercise. Yay!
When these tips begin to work for you, take the time to create your own tips that work for your life, because they may not necessarily be what worked for me. Challenge yourself to make positive changes until you are the best you can be.
Be fat positive. Weight loss is not for everyone; having more body fat than others may be healthy for some people and unhealthy for others. I got myself to my unhealthy weight with a consistent sedentary lifestyle and binge eating of delivery takeout, but some people are just big and beautiful. Is this you?
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