photo by lululemon athletica
Note: This post is an adaptation of a post by Leo Babauta. You can find the orginial on ZenHabits.net.
Need some extra motivation sometimes? I’ve got a bunch for you.
Over the past couple months, I’ve been reading a lot of Leo Babauta’s stuff to get some tips and motivation. He’s got a ton of posts, and it’s been pretty helpful. So I took one of his posts and modified it here (thanks to the “uncopyright” he has).
Leo asked his reader to comment on their best weight-loss tips, and he was very pleased with the results. I’ve highlighted over 40 of them here.
It’s not a step-by-step guide, and there are contradictory tips — but there are some great ones here, so pick and choose those that will work best for you and give them a try.
People are different. I don’t agree with some of these tips, but they may help someone else. For example, tracking everything might make one person quit their healthy diet, but it might be the one thing someone else needs to push them forward. Decide which of these helps you and try them out. Ignore the rest.
Here’s the list!
- Remember to keep your goals in sight to motivate yourself.
- 5 Word Diet Plan – and the only one that works: Eat Less and Move More!
photo by Swen-Peter Ekkebus
Doing a 30-day challenge to make something a habit really helps make exercise a no-brainer. The first step is getting yourself to do it, after that, the gains are much easier to make.
- Don’t try to lose weight. The number one indicator of excessive weight gain in the future is attempting to lose weight in the past. Don’t diet, it won’t last. Instead get up and go get more exercise.
- Avoid processed food, or at least food where you can’t pronounce the ingredients. Keep it as natural as possible.
- Stop watching the scale every day. If you weigh yourself, do it just once a week — as soon as you wake up, after you use the bathroom.
- No matter how much you want a change in your life, nothing will happen until you DO something. You can talk about starting an exercise regimen and eating healthier foods all you want, but nothing will change until you START DOING IT.
- Change your schedule, if possible. If you exercise in the afternoon but overeat while while watching TV at night, try exercising at night. Go to work earlier, come home later, schedule your walks during times you know you’re vulnerable to snacking. Switch things up to help break bad habits.
- Start small. Changing your lifestyle overnight is very bad for your body and your mind. You’ll get sick of eating oatmeal 3 times a day, or grapefruit. Your life should be enjoyable and healthy!
- Tell people around you what you’re doing. This will keep you motivated to continue. Don’t ask for their support, but say “I’m on this new thing where I’m going to kick my butt at the gym/road/bike today and” whatever.
- Derive your self worth from something other than a number on a scale and instead gift yourself a body that will function well to serve your noble life’s goals.
- Never give up, even after you have failed a few times. When you fail, start over. Watch those TV programs like “The Biggest Loser” or “Celebrity Fit Club”, because they are great motivators.
- Rewards! New clothes make awesome rewards for weight loss. Going out with friends (but not for anything food related) is a great reward.
- Weigh yourself but also take your measurements. Sometimes your scale won’t budge but your waistline will.
- Get enough sleep – that’s the first and most important step. Without sleep, it’s harder to plan your meals, to exercise, or to consciously eat healthy.
- Tell others your goals. Not only will you then have someone else also expecting you to perform but you’ll gain a cheering section!
- Find motivation other than within yourself. Workout FOR somebody else that you care about (your kids, loved ones, friends etc.). When you don’t feel like working out, remember that you’re doing it for them.
- Focus on health and NOT weight loss. It is far more important that you live a happy, healthy life than look good naked. You’ll thank yourself when you are 80 and still lead an active life.
Healthy eating tips
- Water water water. It kick-starts your metabolism. Stop drinking soda.
- Make one change at a time. Don’t cut everything out at once. For example, cut out fried foods. When you’re used to that, cut out soda, etc.
photo by Liz West
Lay off the rubbish food, apart from one day a week where you can eat what you like – it’ll help you stick to it and you won’t have the temptation to eat rubbish all the time.
- Eat according to the Glycemic Index, sticking with low and medium index foods.
- Stop the evening eating. You don’t want to eat and then go to sleep. All those calories just sit there unused while you sleep.
- Brush your teeth early in the evening rather than just before bed. It keeps you from snacking if you’re not really hungry.
- Cut wheat-flour based products out of your diet. Wheat is surprisingly easy to replace when you start thinking about it – rice, oats (still some gluten there, but a lot less), more vegetables.
- Cut out sugar.
- No fast food. Period.
- Eat slow and you will only eat as much as you need to be full.
- Learn to cook, from scratch. That way, you control what you are eating.
- Don’t buy into the idea of “diet” foods. It’s better to eat the original food that has been less processed and only eat less.
- Go to bed early and get up early. If you stay up late, you will overeat, guaranteed. It doesn’t matter if you are a night person; change into a morning person. When you go to bed early, you don’t think about food all night.
- Try to enjoy your food, eat it slowly and consciously.
- Positive change is easier than negative change. Instead of thinking of foods that are “bad” and that you feel like you need to cut out, think about all the new recipes and foods you will get to try if you start experimenting with more vegetables, more beans, more spices, etc.
- If you’re a stress eater, try sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Lots of chewing, not many calories. Just don’t spit the seeds on the floor.
- Exercise: any kind any time. Sure there are better times and better exercises for fat burning, but they all beat sitting on the couch.
photo by Mike Baird
Buy a pedometer and try to get 10,000 steps per day in. That’s about 5 miles +/- depending on your stride length.
- Walk everywhere (carrying a baby while you walk also helps a lot).
- Find fun exercise. Join a softball team, commute to work on a bike, whatever. Your strategy should be time-sensitive – only make choices you can see yourself committing to for years, be it gym, dieting, whatever – temporary won’t work.
- Do squats while brushing the back sides of your teeth and calf raises while brushing the fronts. Then you get in at least some exercise and also brush long enough.
- Take the stairs. Walk or bike ride that short distance instead of driving.
- Use those multi-colored stars on the calendar for each day you’ve achieved your goal — exercise, diet, whatever it is. Gives you something, small as it may be, to look forward to.
- Start walking outside to get fresh air, which translates into better mood. If rains, use treadmill. But walk fast, no sissy stuff.
There’s more where that came from
Zen Habits has so many posts related to weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle. Leo’s sort of the internet’s foremost authority on simplicity and minimalism, and that carried over into his fitness.
Leo’s given permission to use his posts, so I’ve put together a compilation of posts from Zen Habits. There are over 30 posts – almost 100 pages – of nuggets to find tips and motivation for your own healthy lifestyle. We don’t agree on everything, but the principles make it worthwhile.
For a bigger preview of what I’ve put together for you, here’s a free 10-post preview to download.
Download The Zen of Finding Your Fitness Preview
If you just want the whole thing, I’ve got you covered there as well. You can pick up your copy here, for just