When we took a family trip to Las Vegas last year, I had every intention of eating well and getting in a couple of workouts so my weight loss efforts wouldn’t go down the toilet, but once we boarded our flight and I ordered a glass of white, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was in dire need of some R & R, and if I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, the last thing I wanted to do was spend our precious vacation time munching on kale while simultaneously doing squats in the hotel gym. So I ate, and I drank, and I ate some more, and by the time we boarded our flight home 7 short days later, I weighed 5 lbs more than I did when we arrived.
Now, I wish I could tell you that the excess weight dropped off the moment we got home, but I’m afraid the exact opposite happened. Not only did I gain an additional 5 lbs in the weeks that followed, but I also became lethargic, irritable, depressed, and downright angry at myself. I have worked so hard over the last few years to maintain my weight, and I couldn’t get over how a week of unhealthy choices could take over my life and cause me to spiral so far out of control.
Fortunately for me, my personality doesn’t lend itself to sitting around feeling sorry for myself for long, and once my skinny jeans became too tight to fasten, I knew I had to get myself back on track. So I took a long, honest look at myself, my eating habits, and my exercise routine, put together an action plan, and made a commitment to lose the weight once and for all.
I remember thinking it would take me MONTHS to get back to my ideal weight, but I was absolutely stunned to see how quickly the pounds started to melt off once I made a few key changes to my daily routine.
Learn how to lose 10 pounds in a week with 10 of my best weight loss tips below and make this year your best one yet!
1. EVALUATE YOUR DIET
The first thing I did when I made the commitment to lose weight was to write down everything I had eaten for the previous 3 days as well as any physical activity I had engaged in. This was relatively easy for me as I am a creature of habit when it comes to my food consumption and exercise, and with the help of my favorite calorie tracker (I use the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone), I was able to properly evaluate the calories I consumed versus the calories I burned.
I remember feeling both stunned and embarrassed when I saw just how damaging each tablespoon of peanut butter and slice of cheese was to my weight loss goals, and I was also surprised at how ineffective my light jogs on the treadmill were in helping to balance my input versus output. But once I identified my optimal calorie intake to achieve my weight loss goals, I was able to adjust my diet and make smarter food choices.
2. INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE
When I was researching the best tips to lose belly fat FAST last year, it seemed that adequate water intake was on the top of everyone’s list of effective strategies not only to reduce bloat, but also to lose weight. So I decided to give it a try, and I was amazed at the results. When I am conscious of my water intake, I find my stomach is less distended, I have more energy, I feel less fatigued, and if I down a glass of ice water whenever I feel hungry, I am less likely to overeat.
3. EAT BREAKFAST
There are so many different studies out there on the pros and cons of eating breakfast as it relates to weight loss, and while some would argue that it makes no difference and that you should focus on your caloric intake as a whole rather than at certain times of the day, experience has proven otherwise to me. I find if I start the day with a well-balanced meal that is high in protein, my metabolism is at its best, and I am much less likely to crave and gorge on unhealthy foods over the course of the day.
4. EAT LEAN PROTEINS AT EACH MEAL
It’s no secret that protein makes you feel full longer, and ever since I started to incorporate lean proteins (think: low fat Greek yogurt, low fat cheese, lean chicken, a handful of almonds, etc.) into each of my meals and snacks, I have seen a noticeable decline in my hunger pangs.
5. AVOID SUGARS AND SIMPLE CARBS
I have never really been one to eat sweets, and I rarely indulge in white breads and pastas, but when I took the time to read the labels on my favorite foods and evaluate my diet, I was surprised not only by how much sugar and how many simple carbs I was consuming, but also at how quickly the weight started to fall off when I made a conscious decision to stop consuming both of those items. Even though I was only having a handful of chips and crackers here, and a bite of my daughter’s cookies and chocolate pudding there, it all added up over the course of the day and had a devastating effect on my waistline!
6. EXERCISE PROTION CONTROL
I have never been very diligent with portion control, but when I was comparing my diet versus the amount of physical activity I was getting each day, I decided to take the time and measure out the portions I was consuming. And guess what? I was underestimating my portion sizes by 2-3 times!
Of course, measuring portions sizes is time consuming and not practical when you’re out and about, but if you invest the time upfront, you will soon learn how to eyeball a serving size, which is essential for long-term weight loss success.
7. CUT OUT LIQUID CALORIES
If you have a tendency to indulge in a mid-morning latte, enjoy a soda in the afternoons, and/or pour yourself a glass of white when your kids are in bed for the night, I strongly urge you to stop. Liquid calories such as these offer absolutely no nutritional value to your diet, and will hinder your ability to reach your weight loss goals. Of course, this isn’t to say you can’t indulge every now and then, but if you are trying to lose 10 pounds in a week, do yourself a favor and save those empty-calorie rewards for another time.
8. COMBINE HIIT WORKOUTS & STRENGTH TRAINING
There is a lot of literature online about the different types of workouts you should do to increase your metabolism and ensure you are burning fat even after you stop exercising, and while I am sure this is an effective way to lose weight FAST, I do not have the time or energy to learn the science behind it all. Instead, I like to do a combination of HIIT and strength training workouts because I have found they are the most effective in my weight loss goals.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, involves intense periods of exercise followed by short recovery periods so you burn more fat in less time, and strength training increases your muscle mass, which in turn speeds up your metabolism.
I have a fabulous collection of HIIT workouts, as well as great arm workouts, leg workouts, and ab workouts to get you started!
9. GET 8+ HOURS OF SLEEP
I do not have a great track record when it comes to sleep. I have always been a night owl, and while I know it’s in my best interest to hit the sack early so that I’m not so grumpy and tired when my daughter wakes up at the crack of dawn, I really struggle to get myself into bed before midnight each night. But when a trainer at my gym came down hard on me for my unhealthy sleep habits and explained that sleep deprivation increases hunger and slows down metabolism, I made a conscious choice to go to bed at least an hour earlier each night. As it turns out, she was 100% correct, and I find my weight is much more stable when I make an effort to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night.
10. STAY MOTIVATED
While all of these weight loss strategies will definitely help you in your quest to lose weight, the single most important tip I can give to when it comes to shedding unwanted weight and getting back into shape is to stay motivated. Weight loss takes hard work and dedication, and if you’re only willing to give 50% of your effort, you have no one to blame but yourself if you fall short of your goals. So be your biggest cheerleader, tape a skinny picture of yourself to your fridge and pantry, stop making excuses, and remember: YOU’VE GOT THIS!
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