Real People Share the One Change That Helped Them Lose Weight
Many people start the year with a renewed commitment to get healthier or lose weight, but often struggle to stay motivated, especially if they don’t see results right away. That’s why it can be so important to find (at least) one tactic that really works for you.
Of course, it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as an instant fix or an overnight miracle that will magically make the pounds disappear. Healthy diet and fitness habits take time to develop, so you must be prepared for a long-term commitment. But finding an action step that produces results can help you maintain momentum, so you stick with it. We asked 10 people who have experienced significant fitness breakthroughs to share the one thing that made the biggest difference.
Strategies That May Help You Lose Weight
Think Long-Term Lifestyle Change
“One change that helped me be successful on WeightWatchers is adopting the mindset that this is a lifestyle, not a diet. I know this sounds so cliché! But once I realized that—and how you really can enjoy all the foods you love most (in moderation, of course)—it made a big difference. Meal prepping also helped me take out the guesswork for meals. Making this part of my routine was key for helping me achieve my goals.” – Samantha Potz
Related: 25 Weight Watchers Crock Pot and Slow Cooker Recipes
Retrain Your Taste Buds
“I’ve struggled with having a sweet tooth for my entire life. It didn’t matter how many times I tried to quit sugar—I was always back on the sweet treats shortly after. I finally decided to see if I could retrain my taste buds, just on a whim. Every time I craved something sweet, instead, I had something salty. Sometimes it literally was a few salt crystals if I didn’t have anything else. It killed the sugar craving immediately and over time, I stopped craving sweets. Now, when I have something sweet, I only have a few bites and that’s plenty for me. It’s become too sweet for me. Losing that last 5-10 pounds was much easier when I wasn’t having to fight my sweet tooth constantly.” – James Green, Owner, Cardboard Cutouts
Ditch the High-Sugar Drinks
“Cutting out soda and sugary drinks was key to my weight loss. I lost 60 pounds from just cutting out soda. I wasn’t even drinking that much soda, but it was a lot of added sugar. Cutting out soda was the first change I made and I didn’t change anything else at the time. This achievement gave me the motivation to start making more changes. I recommend to anyone who wants to lose weight to try this one thing. You risk failing if you try to change too many things at once.” – Gladys Santiago, Cofounder of Worth The Fight Boxing
Related: Is the Popular Red Mountain Weight Loss Program Right for You?
Make It Easy to Exercise at Home
“The change that finally helped me get healthy and stay on track was putting together a gym in my home. It started slowly with some hand-me-down equipment from my mom—dumbbells, a curl bar and some weights —but it was enough to get me into a routine and eliminate the things I hated about commercial gyms. Slowly over the last four years I have added more and more equipment and now my gym is as nice as a commercial gym, without all the stuff that bothered me.” – Kyle Divine, Creative Director at Kaizen DIY Gym
Keep a Food Journal
“I started tracking my food intake using a food diary. This may seem like a small and simple thing, but it was a game-changer for me. Before I started tracking my food, I had no idea how many calories I was consuming or what nutrients I was getting from my meals. But once I started writing down everything I ate, I was able to see exactly what was going into my body. I could identify unhealthy habits and make more mindful choices about my food choices.” – Carly Campbell, Mommy on Purpose
Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
“The huge difference that helped me start to notice my weight loss was cutting down my portion sizes. It can be difficult to be mindful of portion sizes when we cook our own meals, or when we go out to eat at a restaurant that wants to upsell us on additional plates and calories. I eat more mindfully, chew slower and drink water throughout my meal to really help me notice when I am feeling full. By slowing down when I eat, I am healthier than I have been in years.” – Troy Portillo, Director of Operations of Studypool
Avoid Fad Diets
“The #1 thing that finally made a difference for my weight loss was abandoning the idea of dieting and embracing the idea of eating healthy. I tried Keto, Paleo, low-fat diets, and everything in between. However, feeling deprived all the time consistently undermined my efforts. By focusing on eating whole foods with fewer processed ingredients, I’ve been able to reduce calories without reducing the enjoyment of my meals. It sounds simple, but a little psychology can go a long way in weight loss.” – Jon Stephens, Director of Operations, Snowshoe Vacation Rentals
Make Fitness a Priority
“I inevitably pushed working out onto the back burner all the time, thinking I’ll do it tomorrow when my schedule filled up each day instead of forcing myself to make time for a workout and sticking to that schedule. That tomorrow attitude turned into several months of pushing off workouts and my health suffered. Once I decided to make working out a non-negotiable priority, my health took a turn for the better. You have one body. You need to take care of it.” – Nick Mueller, Director of Operations at HawaiianIslands.com
Related: We Found the 25 Best Workouts on YouTube
Find a Good Fitness Coach (In Person or Remote)
“Not liking my weight, a global pandemic, and being out of work for 18 months was tough. Add on being a borderline diabetic and having high blood pressure, and things got harder. I wanted to do something for myself, so I started looking up exercises and came across Mighty Health. It’s more than just a fitness app—it’s a family. The workouts are great and the encouraging texts from my coach gave me the push that I needed to drop the extra weight and get to where I wanted to be. On top of losing 50 pounds, I even quit smoking! I’m now the best version of myself and eating cleaner than ever. Friends are noticing the change too. I get so many compliments on my new appearance. Mighty Health is a great app that truly came at the perfect time!” – Renee Walker
Explore Potential Benefits of Varied Types of Fasts (within Healthy Limits)
“In 2020, I was about halfway into my five-year keto journey when I read The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore. I was fascinated by the cited science and studies that taught readers about the benefits of not only intermittent fasting but also longer fasting periods. I learned a lot about the concept of ‘hunger’ being mind over matter and how fasting enables cell-cleansing autophagy, along with how fasting supports weight loss goals, those with Type 2 diabetes, and heart health. After reading the guide, I upped my game from daily intermittent fasting to longer fasting practices which have successfully triggered weight loss during stalls.” – Tracy Block, CPG recipe developer and founder of Block Media Worldwide
Next up, check out these HIIT workouts for beginners.