A few short weeks ago, you decided 2015 is your year to get to your goal weight. But now that we’re a few weeks into January, you realize it’s much more appealing to nosh on high-calorie comfort foods and curl up on the couch than it is to adopt the healthy habits it takes to slim down.
But who’s to say weight loss has to be hard? It doesn’t. Here are 5 of the best weight loss strategies that you can easily adopt right now. Follow them and you’ll be well on your way to making 2015 your slimmest, healthiest—and maybe even fastest year yet.
1. Make a Few Simple Swaps
You don’t need to follow a strict diet of only lean protein and veggies to shed your winter coat, just aim to eat fewer calories or move a little more. In fact, if you eat just 100 fewer calories every day, you can lose 10 pounds in a year. Pretty easy right? To shave calories off your diet, try these simple tricks: swap greek yogurt in for sour cream and save 22 calories per tablespoon. Or have spaghetti squash instead of white pasta and save 180 calories.
2. Set Mini Goals
Successful weight loss occurs when you don’t make drastic changes overnight but rather small changes you can sustain. For instance, if you want to shed 50 pounds, focus on shedding 5 pounds this January and no more. Then, once you meet your goal, celebrate it with a non-food reward like a new piece of workout gear or songs for a new workout playlist.
3. Be a Slow Poke
You probably don’t aim to run a snail’s pace, but when it comes to eating a meal, taking your time is one of the best things you can do to slim down. The next time you sit down to eat, challenge yourself to be the last one at the table to finish eating. Why? Studies show it takes 20 minutes for our brains to process that we’re full, so by nudging yourself to eat at a more leisurely pace, you’ll be able to recognize these “I feel full signals,” and consume fewer calories—all without even changing what’s on your plate.
4. Step on Your Scale Every Day
It might be one of the last things you feel like doing this winter but trust us—weighing yourself every day is an extremely valuable habit to build, whether your aim is to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds. A few words to the wise: yes, your weight will fluctuate a lot during the day—that’s OK. Seeing that fluctuation is actually really helpful; it allows you to get a lot less hung up on that singular number and more focused on the trend over time. In addition, if you know what you currently weigh, it’s easier to know where you stand—and whether it’s time to tack on a few more minutes to your workout—or if your healthy habits have earned you a little wiggle room calorie-wise to enjoy a food you love. We recommend putting your scale somewhere where you can see it, and then weighing yourself at the same time every day and under the same conditions (a lot of people find weighing in every morning before their shower is a good routine).
5. Get Smart About Giving into Your Cravings
As the temperatures dip, it’s easy to crave carb-heavy, high calorie foods. We get that. But the key to being able to enjoy those foods and still losing weight is to hone in on your short list of favorite treats and enjoy those on occasion. For instance, the next time you have a hankering for fast food, figure out what it is that you really want—a burger OR fries? If it’s the patty you want, opt for a side salad instead of the fries. If it’s the fries, have an open-faced chicken sandwich instead of the burger.