By Lizzie Fuhr
There’s no magic bullet or secret pill — sustainable weight loss does not happen overnight.
If want to learn how to lose weight, you need to first learn how to live a healthy lifestyle to take off weight and keep it off for good.
Here are the 10 ‘golden rules’ of how to lose weight in a healthy way:
1. Thou shalt eat breakfast
Healthy foodie trends may come and go, but breakfast is a must. People who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight, since it jump-starts your metabolism, helping your body to burn more fat.
2. Thou shalt keep it clean
One of the fastest ways to see and feel results is to cut out processed foods and fill up fresh foods straight from the Earth. Whenever possible, opt for whole, natural foods and follow our clean eating dos and don’ts.
Once you clean up your diet and cut out the junk, you’ll start feeling and seeing enormous changes. After a few weeks, you’ll wonder how you ever ate any other way.
3. Thou shalt control portions
Even when you choose healthy foods, overeating these good-for-you choices can sabotage your weight loss goals, and you might not even realize you’re overdoing it. Start learning about just how much constitutes one serving, or instead of eyeballing your meals, pick up some portion-control products so you can be as precise as possible.
4. Thou shalt welcome a sweaty workout session
When it comes to working out and losing weight, 15 minutes a few times a week is simply not enough.
For her clients who want to lose weight, Michelle Bridges of The Biggest Loser Australia recommends working out “six days a week, ideally for 50 to 60 minutes at a time,” and you can’t be afraid to go intense, feel the burn, and build up a sweat.
Your clothes should not be dry when you leave the gym! Not every workout has to be a crazy sweat session, but Michelle says three of your workouts every week should be “hard” exercises like interval training in order to see results.
5. Thou shalt set mini-goals
As you move along on your journey of learning how to lose weight, there is so much more to revel in beyond a tiny number on the scale. Setting specific and personal mini-goals like training for a race, slipping into an old pair of jeans, or grabbing heavier weights will help you stay connected and realize just how much progress you’re making every day.
These may seem like small wins, but they’re absolutely worth celebrating.
6. Thou shalt drink (more) water
You’d be surprised just how many people confuse hunger with dehydration. Keeping your water bottle full all day long keeps your body in tip-top shape and helps you steer clear of unnecessary snacking.
To maximize your water intake for weight loss, dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, recommends “drinking about half of your body weight in fluid ounces of water (or other calorie-free beverages). Cold water provides a brief shock to your metabolism, raising it by about 30 percent so that over the course of a day, your body will burn about 100 more calories.”
7. Thou shalt plan ahead
Occasionally enjoying a sweet treat or special meal out are essential parts of any sustainable weight loss plan, but it only works when you’re realistic about your indulgences and learn to plan ahead. Heading to the beach next weekend? Keep your diet extra clean leading up to your getaway. This way you have a little more wiggle room to enjoy as you please.
We’re big believers in the 80/20 rule over here; 80 percent of the time you keep your diet clean and the other 20 percent of the day you’re able to indulge freely. The math is simple: if you eat three square meals a day, three of those meals are the 20 percent of your week up for grabs.
8. Thou shalt strength train
If you were fed the myth that strength training impedes weight loss and messes with results, it’s time to change your tune. Strength training builds muscle mass while boosting your metabolism. You might not tip the scale, but strength training is where the real re-sculpting of your body happens.
Once you start lifting and moving through bodyweight moves at home, you’ll be hooked.
9. Thou shalt rest well
Getting adequate sleep every night makes sure you have the energy to power through your workout, but it’s also been proven to help curb a ravenous appetite since those who get adequate sleep eat an average of 300 calories less than those who don’t.
Sleep also surprisingly fights against “fat” genes. In one study that looked at twins, the twin who slept longer had a lower BMI than the twin who did not. In short? Wind down and get to bed earlier. Your body thanks you in advance for supporting all its hard work in the kitchen and the gym.
10. Thou shalt remain positive
When you treat yourself with kindness, you’re able to bounce back faster and stay on track for longer. Keep a healthy sense of humor, leave room to laugh, and take it day by day. Every experience won’t be perfect, but when you’re kind to yourself and keep a positive outlook, this whole weight loss thing will feel a lot easier.
Lizzie Fuhr is a freelance writer who has appeared in Yahoo, Health, Women’s Health, SHAPE, and more.
This article was originally published at PopSugar. Reprinted with permission from the author.