Theoretically, the key to weight loss is simple—eat healthy and exercise. But that’s so much easier said than done. We talked to women subscribed to our newsletter who never diet, to uncover their secrets to staying slim.
1. Get plenty of sleep
You may have heard that chronically sleep-deprived people are more likely to be overweight. That’s because we all produce a hormone called ghrelin, which signals your body when it’s time to eat. Sleep-deprived people make more ghrelin, making you feel hungry even if you don’t need to eat. “When I am well-rested, I have energy to hit the gym, work more efficiently, and battle cravings for sweets or junk food,” says certified clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle, MS, RN.
2. Walk everywhere
Raquel Riley Thomas, pageant queen and owner of eauty pageant production company An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC, swears by her Fitbit. “I track my steps to make sure I get at least 10,000 steps every day,” she says. “This changes how I interact with the world. Instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs, and I will clean my house trying to get extra steps in. I am excited when I get 10,000 steps, and physically my body is getting in better shape. It’s a win for all!”
3. Don’t eat in front of a screen
Yep, that includes all TV, phones, computers, and tablets. People who eat while distracted consume more and are less likely to remember how much they ate, sometimes by as much as 25 percent, found British research. “Often, we consume calories mindlessly when distracted by technology,” says Jill McKay, certified personal trainer at Narrow Road Fitness.
4. Don’t obsess over weight loss
Once your mind is in a healthy place, your body is sure to follow, says registered dietitian nutritionist Rebecca Scritchfield, author of Body Kindness. “Put energy into other hobbies, interests, and pursuits that give life more meaning. When we are so focused on self-improvement, we simply don’t put effort into living in the here and now. We can gain so much from letting go of the notion that our bodies need to be fixed.”
5. Stay hydrated
Water gets the blood flowing through your body and aids in weight loss. “Hydration is key to avoid false hunger cues,” says registered dietitian Amanda Baker Lemein. She recommends aiming to drink three liters of unsweetened liquid each day, including water, sparkling water, and unsweetened tea.
6. Use essential oils
Klingbaum also loves to use essential oils to help curb cravings and control metabolism. “I’m a certified aromatherapy specialist, and there are certain oils, like grapefruit oil, that you can add to a glass of water to help control your appetite,” she says. “It’s a lifesaver when you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t eat and know that you’re going to be hungry.”
7. Don’t restrict the food you love
For a happier relationship with food, avoid categorizing anything as “bad,” says Ivana Chapman, nutrition coach and founder of Lean365. “It’s tempting to fall into the latest diet craze by banning gluten, carbs, sugar, or processed foods, but it’s not necessary to do that in order to stay slim,” she says. “Restricting certain foods, especially those that you love, just makes you more obsessed with them and more likely to overeat when your willpower gives in.”
8. Avoid diet labels
While it may sound good in theory, products advertised as “diet-friendly” can set the brain up for wanting more sugar, leading to potential weight gain. And that’s not all, says registered dietitian Ashley Reaver. “These products are usually processed gimmicks, filled with chemicals, and don’t satisfy our hunger or cravings,” she says. “This can lead to us eating more later in the day because we made a ‘good’ choice earlier, but it didn’t satisfy us. If you have a craving for a treat, just have the real thing in a smaller portion.”