Our diet expert clues you in on everyday things you can do to maintain your feel great weight.
In the past, I lost weight by being super strict during my "diet" phase, but when I reached my goal, I fell back into my old ways and gained the pounds back. When I finally decided to lose weight once and for all, I knew I didn't want to torture myself with restrictive dieting, obsessive calorie counting, and constant hunger. I wanted to shed pounds (for good) by adopting healthy eating and exercise habits that were balanced and livable, so I started to make small changes to my current lifestyle. Those little things added up and helped me lose the weight and maintain it for nearly eight years. A key to my success was finding everyday ways to keep my weight in check.
2 of 15Getty Images
Eating frequently might sound counterintuitive if you're trying to lose weight, but aiming for three healthy meals and two small snacks a day means you're eating something every three hours or so, so you'll never let yourself get too hungry. This prevents overeating later and keeps your metabolism humming along.
3 of 15Getty Images
Say no to extras (sometimes)
I love cheese, and I'd eat it everyday if I could. But, an easy way to cut calories from my diet is nixing the cheese (or other high-calorie ingredients, like spreads and sauces) from my meals once or twice a week. A slice of cheddar adds a little more than 100 calories to a sandwich, so I'll hold the cheese and replace it with extra veggies, a pickle, or some grainy mustard for added flavor. Do the same for your favorite high-fat ingredient.
4 of 15Istockphoto
Get cooking with your oven
I love roasted vegetables, and I often keep them in the refrigerator as an easy snack or quick addition to a meal, so anytime I turn on the oven in my kitchen, I almost always add a baking sheet full of vegetable to roast along with whatever I am cooking. That way, I always have a nutritional option on hand.
5 of 15Getty Images
My online calendar keeps me organized with all aspects of my life, including my workouts and my motivation to do them. I schedule my workouts for the week every Sunday. Having them all laid out with plenty of time to exercise motivates me to stick to my routine. I also add an email reminder to each workout, so a pop-up also appears on my screen, which instantly sparks my motivation.
6 of 15Istockphoto
Create a motivation board
When I felt down-in-the-dumps and unmotivated about fitness and exercise, I made a motivation board on Pinterest. Just the act of creating it got me out of my funk, and now it's a constant source of inspiration when I'm just feeling lazy but know I should exercise. You can make one on a cork board or on the refrigerator, too!
7 of 15Getty Images
At every meal, pour yourself at least 16-ounces of water to drink with a goal to finish it by the end. Doing this, of course, hydrates your body, but it also slows down your eating pace and will fill you up to help you feel satisfied. When I do this I end up consuming few calories overall.
8 of 15Getty Images
When preparing meals, aim to have fruits and veggies make up about half of the plate. My breakfast, for instance, includes a large banana or cup of fresh berries, and my lunch and dinner often include roasted veggies and/or a big salad. All of that brightly colored produce packs tons of nutrients, but not many calories!
9 of 15Getty Images
Eat real food
You've probably heard this one before, but the more packaged and processed foods you eat, the less satisfied you're likely to feel. Instead of eating a package of pretzels or cookies, for example, I reach for half of a sandwich or a banana with peanut butter, which fills me up and satisfies my hunger.
10 of 15Getty Images
Most mornings, I know what and when I'm going to eat. If I plan it out at the beginning of the week and the day, I find that I'm not scrambling for something to eat when I'm really hungry. This can help you resist junk food and take-out when your stomach starts to grumble.
11 of 15Getty Images
Dance your butt off
When you're cleaning or picking up around the house, turn on some fast-tempo tunes and burn some calories by showing off your dance moves. Dancing makes the time spent doing chores fly by, and you'll torch some extra calories in the process!
12 of 15Corbis
Snack on hard-to-eat foods
When I’m feeling especially snacky, I reach for foods that require some work to eat, like oranges, pistachios, or edamame. These foods make you work for it, which forces you to slow down and become more aware of what you're putting in your mouth.
13 of 15Getty Images
Eating is not a race! When I'm dining out with my husband or friends, I try to be the last person to finish eating. Doing this helps me slow down and properly chew my food instead of inhaling what's on my plate. Try this out and you'll consume fewer calories and focus more on the overall dining experience.
14 of 15Getty Images
Eat by the numbers
When enjoying a big meal, I stop eating when I'm at a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is stuffed to the gills). When I stop at a 6 or 7, chances are 20 minutes later, I'll feel quite a bit more full, closer to 8 or 9.
15 of 15Getty Images
Put it on the list
When I run out of a healthy food, I immediately put it on my grocery list, so I remember to buy it the next time I'm out shopping. This makes sure you'll always have healthy options in the house.