When we get disgusted with our weight, we go on a diet because usually it results in rapid weight loss and that represents gratifying progress. The problem is that no one can live with deprivation forever, so at some point every dieter goes off the reservation and starts eating again. The long term consequences of this type of calorie deprivation are a slower metabolism and less lean muscle mass. Those repercussions make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Not good.

Yet, many people repeat this cycle many times. Some even get desperate and succumb to downing Dr. Oz’s latest miracle fat burning pill. The likely result: your wallet is lighter but the scale doesn’t budge.

Get real. It’s time to live in the real world, with all of its temptations. Inexpensive, highly processed, calorically dense, extremely tempting food is everywhere. Order a restaurant entrée and you get 2 to 3 servings. Go to MacDonald’s and you’ll be super-sized. Walk into a Hometown Buffet and you’ll eat until you’re about to explode. Walk through the office kitchen and you’ll be lucky to get by scarfing down only a single donut.

Want to lose weight for good? Follow these 8 simple practices:

#1: Practice Self-Compassion

Stop hating yourself for being overweight. All the external cues point to overeating. There is nothing wrong with you if you yield to those temptations. But, if you want to maintain a healthy weight, you need to plan to be healthy, start from a place of self-compassion, and slowly develop some healthier habits.

self-compassion

#2: Exercise Portion Control

Most overweight people eat too much food. Acquaint yourself with portion sizes and eat accordingly. Every time you eat out, ask for a take-out box as soon as your entrée arrives. Divide your meal in half and eat the second serving the next day.

#3: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain lots of healthy nutrients, are low in calories, and fill up your plate. Ditch packaged foods and eat real food. Sub out mega quantities of starches for healthier alternatives.

fruits and vegetables

#4: Get Adequate Sleep

Research demonstrates that scrimping on sleep leads to weight gain. Your hunger signals do not have time to properly reset. Plus, you’ll likely mistake your tiredness for hunger and eat more than you should.

#5: Drink Water

Drink a minimum of  eight glasses of fluid per day and more when you exercise. Coffee, tea, and soup all count. Keeping hydrated will aid in digestion and keep you feeling full. You won’t make the mistake of thinking you’re hungry when you’re really thirsty.

drink water

#6: Eat Breakfast

Your mother was right. People who’ve lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for years share the common practice of eating breakfast. Consider the fact that your body has been fasting while you were sleeping. If you expect your body and brain to get in gear, it needs fuel. A cup and joe and a croissant won’t do. Aim for a meal that includes protein and complex carbohydrates.

healthy breakfast

#7: Be a Little Bad

As a Wellness Coach, I counsel my clients to “be a little bad.” The point is to develop healthy, sustainable habits. Resist the temptation to go into diet mode. Continue to indulge in your favorite foods so you don’t crave them and overdo it when your resolve wears thin. Just enjoy them in moderation. Deprivation is no way to live.

be alittle bad

#8: Exercise Regularly

While exercise will not burn enough calories to help you lose a lot of weight, it’s an absolute necessity for maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise also keeps many diseases at bay, including Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, you’ll find that when you start paying attention to your body and moving it more you’re more likely to make healthy food choices as well.

As much as we try to tell ourselves differently, deep down we realize that quick fixes don’t work in the long run.  Why not give these simple tips a try and start adopting healthier habits?