Published on March 8th, 2017
Losing weight is hard. Losing weight and then keeping it off is even harder. Case in point: 74% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and weight loss is a $20 billion industry. All that said, if you’re trying to slim down, there’s no reason to lose hope.
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While you may know more about how the world works, we bet there’s plenty you can learn from a 20-something about how to lose weight and get healthy. They’re educating themselves about nutrition and physical activity and demanding that the food industry up their game by offering healthier choices.
1. Make Your Diet Part Of Your Identity
Once you find a diet that works for you, start infusing it into your identity. You’re far less likely to order dessert if you told everyone you know that you’ve cut out added sugars.
2. Splurge When It Counts
Not everything you buy needs to be organic. However, when it comes to fruits with edible skins, milk, meat, and eggs, it’s worth the extra cash to get the good stuff.
3. Join A Gym & Find Some Fitspiration
When my parents were growing up, exercise was not prioritized in the way it is today—especially for women. It was certainly gaining popularity, but it was rare for a 20-something to belong to a gym or play a sport.
4. And Don’t Forget To Stay Consistent
While hitting the gym for four hours a week may seem like a lot, that breaks down to just 34 minutes per day. And if you don’t want to hit the gym on the weekends, you’ll need to log about 48 minutes of sweat time Monday through Friday. Still seem like a lot? Don’t forget that recreational activities like walking, hiking, biking, and swimming count, too! These are all popular, social activities among millennials that help them hit the four-hour mark.
5. Eat The Rainbow
More color often means fewer calories. Think about it: Nutrient-void, fatty, and calorie-filled fare like French fries, burgers, white pasta, and chicken nuggets are all white or beige. Healthy things like fruit, veggies, and fish, often have vibrant hues—maybe that’s why 20-somethings like to regularly post photos of their meals online.
6. Get Informed
When it comes to weight loss, knowledge is power. So, make it a priority to learn about healthy eating and exercise. There are tons of great resources (like EatThis.com, of course) available at a click of a button.
7. Add Probiotics To Your Plate
According to food and consumer packaged goods market research firm Packaged Facts, millennials are uber interested in probiotics. Which is why you’ve likely noticed a boom in probiotic-spiked products in the supermarket as of late. Everything from muffin mix to butter is getting the probiotic treatment. While not all of these products are legit, things like yogurt, miso, and kefir are. And they help to maintain the good gut bacteria that fends off weight-inducing inflammation and keeps your metabolism humming.
8. Head To The Farmers’ Market
To find a farmers’ market near you, check out Local Harvest. And while you’re there, stock up on your favorite veggies, along with some ones you haven’t tried before. Experimenting with produce makes eating low-cal healthy fare more enjoyable and enticing, upping the odds that you’ll stick with your healthy eating routine for years to come.
9. Eat Out Less Often
The average main dish from a restaurant packs 1,500 calories—far more than anyone should eat in a single serving—and that’s not including the drinks, appetizers, or desserts. Aim to consume no more than two meals per week at a restaurant.
10. Ditch Soda—Even The Diet Stuff
Follow in savvy 20-something’s footsteps and swap out soda for detox water, unsweetened teas, and kombucha. Even if you drink diet drinks, you’ll likely drop a few pounds. “I was a diet soda junkie for years. So when more and more research came out linking artificial sweeteners to sugar cravings and weight gain and higher BMI, I decided to ditch the stuff in the name of better health,” registered dietitian Ilyse Schapiro, tells us. “And believe it or not, I actually lost five pounds—and that wasn’t even my intention.”
11. Munch Healthier And More Often
Despite diet experts and new research constantly telling you otherwise, many people still consume the bulk of their calories in two or three large meals each day, often—in an attempt to slim down—going for hours at a time eating nothing in between. Sure, you can lose weight on a reduced-calorie, three-meal plan, but you can’t make your body burn fat more efficiently, which is key to long-term weight loss. So, make your meals mini and spread them throughout the day. Things like fruit, veggies and hummus and these high protein snacks all make for satisfying noms.
12. Take More iPhone Pics
Get snappy and try this weight loss secret for yourself. If you’re worried your friends and family will get annoyed by your health-centric pics, consider starting another account to solely chronicle your health and fitness progress. And for even more motivation, take selfies of your progress as you work toward your weight loss goal. A recent study from a nutrition clinic in Barranquilla, Colombia found that people are more likely to stay on track when they chronicle their progress through images. It may sound cliché, but we really are our own best motivation!
13. Ditch Bottled Water
Buy a reusable BPA-free water bottle and aim to sip half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. (Example: If you’re 150 pounds, you should sip 75 ounces or 9.5 cups of H20 daily.) Not only will staying adequately hydrated deter bloat and water weight, it will ward off fatigue and hunger. Sipping more often can help you bring more energy to your workout and fend off the munchies, aiding your weight loss efforts.
14. Don’t Be Afraid To Customize
No matter where you’re dining, don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. If you want the Caesar salad without croutons and the dressing on the side, don’t be bashful; ask for just that. Don’t see something healthy on the menu? See what ingredients are in other dishes on the menu and see if the kitchen can whip something up that fits into your smart eating plan. If there are chicken and veggies in a pasta dish, for example, you can probably ask for a grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies (sans noodles) as a custom order.
15. Byo Snacks & Lunch
As you probably already know, the quality of your diet has a direct effect on the number you see on the scale, so eating smart on the reg is a non-negotiable is weight loss is your primary goal. Set aside time on the weekend to make a work week’s worth of lunches and snacks. Chop veggies, drain cans of beans, bake chicken for salads, put nuts and carrot sticks into individual-size baggies, make homemade energy bites, and wash grab-and-go fruits like apples and pears. This ensures you’ll be prepared with something healthy to eat whenever hunger strikes.
16. Get Spicy
There’s no denying that 20-somethings are totally obsessed with sriracha. To capture the attention of the millennial palate, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway, White Castle, and TGI Fridays have all added the fiery sauce to a number of their menu items. While eating an 800 calorie burger slathered in the stuff won’t help you shed the pounds, adding a kick to healthy dishes may just help you slip back into your skinny jeans.
17. Involve Your Friends
You wouldn’t blow off your 6 a.m. run if you knew your friends were waiting for you at the park, would you? Of course not! Which is why it’s a great idea to set up workout dates. Not only will doing so make it far less likely that you’ll skip a session, it will make your workout more fun, too!
18. Opt For Small Plates
To save calories (and cash!) while dining out, registered dietitian Yasi Ansari suggests ordering a healthy appetizer (like seared scallops, mushroom caps or a salad) or splitting an entree with a friend.
19. Dress For Success
If you can’t imagine bopping around town in a pair of bright blue leggings or trendy Nike sneakers, at least try to add more jeans into your weekly rotation. Researchers have found that people who wear denim to the office take nearly 500 more steps (about a quarter mile) throughout the day than they did on days when they wore more formal attire. The more you move, the easier it will be lose belly fat and get the body you’ve always wanted.
20. Find A Community
If staying motivated is your biggest hurdle to a consistent diet and exercise routine, you might want to consider finding a community of like-minded folks who share your goals. Thanks to the Internet and social media, this is exactly what 20-somethings have begun doing. Just look at Instagram’s foremost fitness authority.
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