Smart Ways to Get in Shape

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It’s All About Planning: When you have a lot of weight to lose, it means playing the long game. And during that time, you’ll face challenges. Weight loss experts and people who have done it offer you their ideas to cut calories, fight the “hangry,” make exercise easier, stay on track, and more. Some are tried-and-true, and others may surprise you.

Go Big for Breakfast

People who eat more in the morning and less at night tend to lose more weight. Some studies suggest that starting your day with a high-protein meal — especially warm, solid food — helps you feel fuller and less hungry later. Shoot for 350-400 calories with at least 25 grams of protein, says Domenica Rubino, MD, director of the Washington Center for Weight Management & Research.


Keep a Photo Diary

“We have horrible memories in terms of what we eat,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of EatQ. Save your food photos in a daily file. Before your next snack or meal, review them. They’ll remind you what you’ve already eaten. And that may help you decide to downsize or choose something else.

Use an App

“I just do not see food and portions the way normally thin people see them,” blogger Lisa Durant says. She used My Fitness Pal to focus on her relationship with food. She tracked what she ate and how much. That helped her be honest with herself. She also set weight loss and fitness goals for tracking her progress. Without an app, “I would absolutely gain some weight back.”


Try a Meal Replacement Plan

Under a licensed professional’s care, you’ll eat one regular meal per day and swap the others for special shakes, soups, or bars. “If you can stick to it, you’ll see big results in 6 months to a year,” says Ken Fujioka, MD, an obesity specialist at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego.

Set Up Your Food Storage

Out of sight, out of mind — and mouth. After you purge your home of those treats you can’t resist, Albers recommends taking the idea a step further: Assign shelves in the pantry and the fridge so your healthy food becomes easy to see and reach. Put fresh veggies and fruit at eye level instead of inside a drawer, and you’re more likely to grab them when you open the door.


Shop Smart

Don’t leave your meals to chance. Have ingredients on hand so you aren’t tempted to resort to take-out. Think about menus that work for the household: Maybe your veggie stir-fry can be their side dish, too. Make a grocery list together, even if you’re cooking separately.

Stay out of bulk warehouse stores, Albers says. The oversized items can invite overeating.

Find a Fan Club

Support from a group can help you lose more weight than doing it alone. You’ll gain perspective, encouragement, tips — even a little competition if that’s the kind of thing that gets you motivated. Durant, who lost 115 pounds, started with Weight Watchers. “My leader was fantastic,” she says. Besides in-person meetings, check out online forums and social media. Support from family and friends helps keep the weight off, too.

Outsmart Your Inner Critic: When (let’s be honest, there’s no “if” about it) you get off-track, it can be hard to forgive yourself. So pretend it’s a friend who slipped up and is upset, Rubino says. Write a note to them. Then read it out loud — to yourself. It will likely be kinder and more encouraging than anything the little voice in your head would say 🙂 🙂

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