We’re in the middle of an epidemic. Over ⅔ of American adults are considered to be overweight, over ⅓ of Americans are considered to be obese, and 1 in 20 Americans are classified as extremely obese. Many of us have a choice to make. We can either resign ourselves to a life that’s shorter and unhealthier, or we can get out the fitness equipment and do something about it.

However, we know it’s easier said than done. Weight loss is straight-up hard, and there’s more to it than eating salads. It’s a combination of eating the right foods, the right amount of foods, and getting a reasonable amount of exercise daily. It’s also about recognizing bad habits and transforming them into good habits. Keep reading, and we’ll share a few tips with you to help you drop the weight and keep it off.

  • First, what do you want the end result to be? Do you want to lose 50 pounds, look good in your swimsuit, or go down a few sizes? If you have a vague desire, such as, “I need to lose some weight,” you can expect ambiguous results. Instead, think about what you want and focus on that. If you have goals that are very clear and well-defined, you’ll not only stay more motivated but also adjust your plans accordingly.
  • When it comes to weight loss, the biggest problem we run into is portion control. That’s why a smart move is to speak to your doctor about how many calories you should be eating daily, then use a spreadsheet or notebook to track your calorie intake. This way you can precisely monitor how much you’re eating, and you’ll know when you need to stop eating for the day and when you can eat a little more.
  • Having said that, pick 1 day during the week and designate that to be your “cheat day.” On that day, if you want a bacon cheeseburger or a slice of chocolate cake, you’re allowed it with no guilt or self-recrimination. Many people fall off the dietary wagon because they have cravings for their favorite foods and they think they can never have them. Your cheat day can be a motivational tool, and once you get into the habit of eating healthier, you’ll naturally want to eat less during that day, too.
  • Another thing that can make weight loss harder is weighing yourself on a daily basis and becoming frustrated by your seeming lack of progress. Weight isn’t really an indicator of good health. Muscle is heavier than fat, and if you start working out and building up your muscles, you’ll weigh more. Plus, our weight fluctuates a lot during the day due to water intake. Just weigh yourself once per week, and recognize you’re playing the long game.
  • When people think of a diet, they think that for a temporary and fixed period of time, they need to eat healthily. That implies that later, you can go back to eating unhealthy. Instead, before you make a big change, think to yourself, “Can I live with this for the rest of my life?” For example, if you can’t bear the thought of cutting out pizza, then don’t do it. Instead eat it less often and eat smaller amounts.