4 Ways to Help Kickstart Your Weight Loss

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

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Every weight loss journey is an individual one. Because there is a lot of information available for beginning on the path to weight loss, it can be hard to figure out how to get going.

Still, there are ways to ease yourself into losing weight like changing what and how you eat and getting better sleep. Here’s more about what you can do to kickstart weight loss.

Fill Your Meals With Vegetables

Eating more vegetables can help you start losing weight. Veggies are rich in nutrients, like magnesium (which is good for bone health) and vitamin A (which is good for your immune system and eyesight).

They are also low in calories but high in both fiber and water. By making them the main staple in your meal, you'll eat fewer calories without giving up nutrition, and you'll still feel full.

Also, the amount of vegetables you need to eat will be based on factors like your age or how active you are. 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. 

For breakfast, you could scramble a few eggs with the following: 

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • Turmeric
  • Black pepper
  • A handful or two of chopped veggies (e.g., spinach, tomatoes)

You can also enjoy this scramble with a side of fresh fruit. 

At lunch, choose a salad instead of a sandwich or wrap. You could also include ingredients on your sandwich or in your wrap like lettuce or tomato.

For pasta or grains, use "noodles" or "rice" made from veggies (spiralized, chopped, or shredded). You can include a lean protein source (like salmon, chicken breast, or lentils) and a healthy fat (such as avocado, nuts, or seeds) for dinner.

What Are Healthy Fats?

Healthy fats consist of unsaturated fats that are in foods from plants and animals. There are both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help:

  • Lower bad cholesterol (LDL), which is good for heart health
  • Protect against dry eyes
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Promote the functions of your brain and nervous system

Choose Healthier Drinks

Drinking more of the right liquids can lead to weight loss too. A review published in May 2022 found that decreased body weight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage were related to drinking low- and zero-calorie sweetened beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Water is also a great choice because it has more benefits than just helping you manage your weight. Drinking water keeps you hydrated, protects your spinal cord, and helps your body get rid of wastes.

If you start your day with coffee, go ahead and make it the usual way—but limit yourself to just one cup. Then switch to water, or an antioxidant-rich, unsweetened iced or hot tea. Try to have four 16-ounce servings throughout the course of the day. 

You can also add some of the following if you crave a little flavor in your water or tea: 

  • Fresh mint 
  • Basil
  • Ginger root
  • Mashed berries

However, avoid or limit drinks that contain a lot of sweeteners (including artificial sweeteners) and bubbles. Drinks with sweeteners may make your sweet tooth worse and mess up your appetite, while drinks with bubbles can leave you bloated.

Snack Mindfully

You should really only snack under two conditions. The first is when you're physically hungry. 

The second is when you need something 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, blood sugar, insulin, and energy levels in check. Eating healthy snacks can also help you to not overeat later.

Instead of choosing processed snacks, like chips or cookies, go for snacks like: 

  • Nuts or seeds along with fruit
  • A cup of raw veggies with hummus or roasted chickpeas 
  • 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 issues like diabetes or heart disease. Another issue associated with less sleep is weight gain. 

According to a 2019 study, participants who slept for shorter periods of time experienced increases in: 

  • Hunger
  • Food cravings
  • Food reward
  • Food intake the next day

What Is Food Reward?

Food reward concerns how a person measures the short-term value of food (e.g., if they like or dislike it) while they eat it.

Also, the researchers of a 2022 review found that worse sleeping patterns were related to increased snacking on high-carb and high-fat foods. They also found that successful weight loss was tied to better sleep and longer sleep.

Aim to get the amount of quality sleep you need—at least seven hours for adults. Engaging in good sleep hygiene, like going to sleep at the same time every night and limiting time spent looking at screens, can help you get quality sleep as well.

A Quick Review

It can be hard to get started when you want to lose weight. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that can help, such as adding more vegetables to your diet and drinking healthier drinks. Practicing good snacking and sleeping habits can be beneficial for weight loss efforts, too. 

If you find that you’re still having trouble kickstarting your weight loss, a healthcare provider can offer guidance and insight on other ways that can help you lose weight.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Office on Dietary Supplements. Magnesium.

  2. Office on Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A.

  3. US Department of Agriculture. Vegetables.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to use fruits and vegetables to manage your weight.

  5. MedlinePlus. Facts about polyunsaturated fats.

  6. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Choose healthy fats.

  7. McGlynn ND, Khan TA, Wang L, et al. Association of low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages as a replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages with body weight and cardiometabolic risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e222092. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.2092

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water and healthier drinks.

  9. MedlinePlus. Snacks for adults.

  10. Yang CL, Schnepp J, Tucker R. Increased hunger, food cravings, food reward, and portion size selection after sleep curtailment in women without obesity. Nutrients. 2019;11(3):663. doi:10.3390/nu11030663

  11. Papatriantafyllou E, Efthymiou D, Zoumbaneas E, Popescu CA, Vassilopoulou E. Sleep deprivation: effects on weight loss and weight loss maintenanceNutrients. 2022;14(8):1549. doi:10.3390/nu14081549

  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Are you getting enough sleep?

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