Losing weight with a tight deadline, such as an upcoming beach vacation or reunion, is a challenge. A healthful rate of weight loss is between 1 and 2 pounds a week. Losing more than that requires a restrictive diet, excessive exercise or a combination of the two. Giving yourself plenty of time to lose weight increases your odds of success. Without a tight deadline, however, it is easy to take your dieting for granted by skipping workouts and indulging. Resist these temptations to stay on track with your weight loss.
Modify your diet without choosing an extreme diet. Make simple changes to your usual diet to cut calories, such as substituting water or tea for soda, alcoholic beverages or coffee drinks. Substitute fresh fruit for cookies and candy, and choose nuts over chips if you want something salty.
Learn to recognize proper serving sizes to maintain and manage your weight loss. For example, one serving of pasta would fit into a cupcake wrapper. One serving of rice is the size of a tennis ball. A baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, and one serving of meat will fit into the palm of your hand.
Eat breakfast to reduce the temptation to grab a donut or soda for energy until lunch. A cup of yogurt and piece of fruit, a bowl of high fiber cereal or a boiled egg and piece of whole-wheat toast are all quick, easy-to-grab breakfasts.
Increase your level of daily physical activity. Take a walk every evening after dinner, perform body-weight exercises, such as push-ups and sit-ups, during commercial breaks while watching television, or get up from your desk every hour during the workday for a quick trip up and down the stairs.
Keep a food journal to record everything you eat, including snacks, to stay on track. Use a notebook, online calorie-count diary or phone app to record this information. If your weight starts to creep up, you can look back at your journal and note any recent changes.
Weigh yourself regularly. If you notice several weeks of no weight loss, or even a gain, focus on your diet and step up your exercise program until the scale starts moving downward again.
Among successful dieters, 78 percent eat breakfast every morning, according to the National Weight Control Registry.
The National Weight Control Registry also reports that 90 percent of the people in their registry who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off by exercising for an average of one hour, most days of the week.
Consult your doctor before beginning any new weight loss program.