Christa Sgobba wrote in the Silver Sneakers blog that shedding pounds does not require a complete diet-and-exercise overhaul. You know you want to lose weight, and you have a pretty good idea of what you should do to make it happen. You just need to get started. And unfortunately, that’s often the hardest part.
When motivation is lacking, remember this: Shedding pounds does not require a complete diet-and-exercise overhaul. In fact, starting small is often the best way to meet—and maintain—your weight loss goals, says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., founder of CORE in Boston. The good habits you adopt can snowball, leading to bigger changes down the line too, he says.
Here are ten ways to start losing weight with minimal effort.
1. Eat Foods That Hydrate You
It may sound counterintuitive, but eating more food can be a key to weight loss—as long as we’re talking about foods with a high water content, says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., author of Food and Fitness After 50.
Eating water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, or broth-based soups can fill you up, leaving you less likely to overeat on more calorie-dense foods, she says.
In fact, a study published in the journal Appetite found that when people ate a broth-based vegetable soup 15 minutes before a pasta lunch, they consumed 20 percent fewer calories overall, compared to when they just ate their main meal. The researchers believe the soup slows the rate at which food moves through your digestive tract, which can increase feelings of satiety.
There’s a mental benefit too: Seeing more food in front of you can make you feel less deprived, Rosenbloom says. And that can cut your urge to end your meal with a calorie-rich dessert.
Try starting your meal with a broth-based soup, even if you’re eating at home. Not a soup fan? Look for other ways to include more water-rich foods to your plate. “Add two or three leaves of lettuce or more tomato on your sandwich,” Rosenbloom says.
2. Wake Up to Protein
Eating a protein-rich meal in the morning can set you up for a whole day of healthy eating, Rosenbloom says. That’s because, like hydrating foods, protein boosts satiety. And if you’re feeling satisfied, you’re less likely to graze all morning.
“Aim for 30 grams of protein at breakfast,” she says, adding that most people get less than 15 grams.
Adding a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie is an easy way to pack it in: A single scoop contains roughly 20 to 30 grams, depending on the type you choose. If you prefer solid foods, “think eggs and a whole-grain cereal with filtered milk, like Fairlife, which contains more protein than the regular kind,” Rosenbloom says.
Want more ideas? Check out these seven protein-packed breakfasts that trim your waistline.
3. Give the Sweatpants a Break
One of the perks of retirement is not having to get dressed up every day. But living in yoga pants or sweats might actually be doing your belly a disservice since you’re missing out on the instant feedback of a too-tight waistband, Rosenbloom says.
“It’s a little bit of self-monitoring,” she says. Noticing your go-to pants suddenly feel tight can lead you to make changes to your food or exercise routine—which you may miss if you’re wearing elastic pants that are more forgiving. Your weight may change more significantly before you realize something’s up.
You don’t need to swear off sweatpants for good. Even trying on the same pair of dress pants every Sunday can be enough monitoring, she says. Read more