4 Ways to Help Kickstart Your Weight Loss

It doesn't take much to start your weight loss journey.

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Losing weight can be difficult at times, especially if you're not quite ready to jump into an intense workout plan or try a diet like Keto, Atkins, or one geared toward eating Mediterranean foods. Still, there are ways to ease yourself into losing some pounds—like one of these four changes.

Fill Your Meals With Vegetables

Including more vegetables in your diet can help you start shedding some pounds. The daily recommended amount of vegetables you need to eat may vary depending on factors like age or level of physical activity, according to the USDA. However, a good place to start would be to have at least one to two cups (a cup is the size of a tennis ball) at each meal—even breakfast. In addition to being low in calories, veggies are rich in nutrients and high in both fiber and water. By making them the main component of every meal, you'll eat fewer calories without sacrificing nutrition, and you'll still feel full.

For breakfast, you could scramble a few eggs in extra-virgin olive oil, Italian seasoning, turmeric, and black pepper, with a handful or two of chopped veggies, like spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bell pepper; enjoy with a side of fresh fruit. At lunch, opt for a salad rather than a sandwich or wrap. You could also substitute some of the ingredients on your sandwich or in your wrap for vegetables like lettuce or tomato, per the CDC. Use "noodles" or "rice" made from veggies (spiralized, chopped, or shredded) paired with a lean source of protein (like salmon, chicken breast, or lentils) and a healthy fat (such as avocado, nuts, or seeds) for dinnertime.

Opt for Increased Intake of Healthier Beverages

Drinking more of the right liquids can lead to weight loss too. Water in particular can help you feel fuller and aids in the digestive process. Additionally, a JAMA Network Open review published in March 2022 noted that a reduction in body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage was associated with the consumption of low- and zero-calorie sweetened beverages (when swapped out for sugar-sweetened beverages).

If you start your day with coffee, go ahead make it the usual way (even if that includes some sweetener)—but limit yourself to just one cup. Then switch to water, or an antioxidant-rich, unsweetened tea (iced or hot); try to have four 16-ounce servings throughout the course of the day. If you're craving a little flavor in your water or tea, add fresh mint, basil, ginger root, or a bit of mashed berries.

However, avoid drinks that contain a high amount of sweeteners (including artificial sweeteners) or bubbles or consume them in moderation. The former may stoke a sweet tooth, or wreak havoc on your appetite, while the latter can leave you bloated.

Snack Mindfully

You should really only snack under two circumstances. The first is when you're truly, physically hungry (and not just bored, procrastinating, or in the habit of nibbling at a certain time of day). The second is when you need some nourishment to tie you over between meals. For example, if you have lunch at noon and dinner isn't till 7 p.m., a healthy snack can keep your metabolism revved, and help stabilize your blood sugar, insulin, and energy levels to prevent overeating later on.

In lieu of processed foods, like chips or sweetened bars, commit to snacking on something more nutritious. Try a golf ball-sized portion of nuts or seeds along with a tennis ball-sized serving of fruit or a cup of raw veggies (like sliced red bell pepper and cucumber) paired with hummus or roasted chickpeas. If you still have a taste for sweets, you can also try eating a square or two of dark chocolate.

Manage How You Eat by Working On Your Sleep

When you don't get enough sleep, it can lead to health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, but another issue associated with less sleep is weight gain. Getting less sleep can also result in lower energy and increased appetite per the Sleep Foundation. According to a March 2019 Nutrients study, participants who slept for shorter periods of time experienced being hungrier, food cravings, and consumption of higher portion sizes of food the following day.

However, when you get the amount of quality sleep you need—at least seven hours for adults, according to the CDC—it can lead to the opposite, as well as a more regulated metabolism. Thus, substituting bad pre-sleep habits for good sleep hygiene practices can not only improve your sleep over time but help you lose a few pounds along the way.

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