10 Tips to Lose 10 Pounds

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Congratulations: You have officially survived the holiday season! Now it's time to get back on the wagon and reach some major milestones in the new year. Weight loss may be at the top of your list of goals for 2013, as it is for many people. And whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, you're going to have to make some changes to your lifestyle habits.

The good news is that you don't have to completely overhaul your life all at once. At SparkPeople, we believe that small changes can lead to BIG results—and the ever-growing number of success stories from our members is proof of that! Millions of people just like you have been in your shoes and have come out on the other side happier, healthier and fitter than they could have ever imagined. And they've learned some bits of wisdom along the way that you can now use to your advantage along your own journey. Are you ready to lose your first 10 pounds of 2013? These helpful weight-loss tips from successful SparkPeople members will help you do just that!

Take Baby Steps
When it comes to New Year's resolutions, people often set multiple big goals to achieve simultaneously. It's great to be motivated, but diving into a lot of change all at once is a recipe for burnout. Instead, start with one habit, and once you've got a handle on it, move slowly onto the next.

Says MUSICGIRL0604: ''Start with something--anything. For example, I felt I needed more water. After a day or two of eight cups a day, I felt more energy for exercise. After a day or two of at least 10 minutes of exercise a day, I felt a desire to try to eat healthier and cleaner. Pick one thing that will be easy for you to stick with and see where it goes from there!''

Remember--slow and steady wins the race. Be consistent with gradually adding more healthy habits, and you'll see results in no time!

Always Have a Plan (And Back-Ups)
When you fail to plan, you're at the mercy of whatever life throws your way--whether it be unhealthy snacks in the office vending machine, or a traffic jam that prevents you from getting to your exercise class on time. When it comes to eating right and getting in your fitness minutes, always have a ''Plan A'' and a ''Plan B'' to ensure that you're never left unprepared for life's little obstacles. These SparkPeople members agree:

''I plan everything for the week--when I will work out, what I will eat, etc. When I know that I will be indulging due to a party or other celebration, I exercise extra that day and eat a smaller lunch.''

''I pre-cook my meals for the week on the weekend and put them in the freezer. This way, I'm sure that what I cook is healthy and true to my weight-loss goals. A great idea for busy people!''

''By planning ahead, you are less likely to fall prey to poor choices. Consider this: You get home exhausted from working late or going to the gym. If you've planned ahead, you will have something cooked up and ready to go, or at least have a quick recipe picked out to make. If you haven't planned, you're more likely to get take-away food, or ''naughty'' stuff. Plan, plan, plan, and everything gets easier--including losing weight!''

Measure Everything
You might think you know how much you're eating, but very few of us are perfect at estimating portions—and that little extra bit of cereal, coffee creamer, or salad dressing can add up fast.

RAVENSONG37 says: ''Make sure everything you eat is measured or weighed… especially if you are new at cooking healthy portions. What we think looks like one cup or four ounces might be surprising! Measuring everything keeps you on track with nutrition and portions!''

Invest in a set of measuring cups and spoons and practice measuring out your portions at every possible opportunity. Keep up this habit over time, even if you feel like you've become a measuring pro. It's amazing how easy it is to forget what an appropriate serving size looks like, especially when we're constantly faced with larger-than-life portions at restaurants.
Drink Water (And Lots of It!)
When it comes to weight loss, water is your secret weapon. Drinking enough H2O will help keep you full, prevent fatigue and crush food cravings. A lot of people struggle with getting the recommended 64 ounces of water per day, but with enough practice, it's a habit that can become second nature. Drink up using these smart tips:

''Give yourself more energy and prevent cravings by downing two glass of water when you get up---before breakfast!''

''My secret is really no secret! When I have gone too long between meals and feel famished, I first grab a glass of water to help me from overeating! It's actually a great thing to do before eating every meal… and an easy way to get water in!''

''Since water is not my favorite, I have found that if I drink my 8-10 glasses of water before I let myself drink any other beverages (unsweetened tea, etc.), it's much easier to get in my  water for the day. By noon, I have normally consumed at least four glasses, and the other four are easier. And on some days I actually exceed the minimum required amount.''
Flex Your Motivation Muscle
Getting motivated is like bathing—you have to do it daily! Motivation comes and goes, and if you let it get too low, keeping to your healthy-living goals can seem like a daunting task. Find something that motivates you and incorporate it into your daily routine.

INNESSMITH says: ''I watch a motivational video on YouTube every night! This helps me to remember that I don't have that far to go, comparatively speaking, and that I can do it!''

Whether it's watching a video, reading an inspirational book, journaling, or finding motivational quotes online, make sure you take some time to replenish your motivation supply every day!
Work on Your Relationship with Food
For many people, eating is an experience that is charged with many conflicting emotions. Therefore, it's not enough to simply go through the motions of eating healthier. You have to mentally change your perception of what food means to you, too.  Although it can be difficult, consciously working to change your relationship with food is one of the best things you can do for long-term weight-loss success.

BLABLA71 says: ''Before I started my healthy lifestyle, I used to treat food as either a friend or an enemy. It was only when I learned to approach food as what it really is—nutrition--that I managed to incorporate my new eating habits!''

Of course, this is a skill that will take a lot of practice. But simply taking time to focus on eating for fuel (rather than emotional reasons) is a step in the right direction.
Take Advantage of Your Tracking Tools
SparkPeople's Fitness and Nutrition Trackers offer more than just accountability—they also enable you to see patterns in your exercise and eating habits over time. Using the trackers in this way made a huge difference for ENUFF81020:

''After working on weight loss for a while, I finally realized that if I looked at my Nutrition Tracker and my Fitness Tracker for the weeks when I had good weight losses, it was easy to find out what I did that really worked. I have found my personal plan for weight loss from doing this--and I have lost weight 9 weeks in a row from following it.''

The food and fitness data that you track is more valuable than you might realize. Don't just track your intake and exercise—really use that information!
Surround Yourself with Goal Reminders
It's easy to let life get in the way of your well-intentioned plans to eat right and exercise. But if you surround yourself with constant reminders of your big-picture plan, it makes it easier to stick to the healthy habits that will get you results. The following strategy has helped KATANIA stick to her plan:

''If you're serious about losing weight, you'll be sure to incorporate healthy habits no matter where you are. At my office job, I have a chain of paperclips to visually remind myself of my goals. 1 clip=1 pound. As I lose weight, I remove clips from the chain.''

Vision boards also serve as great daily reminders. To make one, cut out images and words from magazines and newspapers that represent what your goal means to you. Paste the cutouts on a large piece of poster board, and hang your board in a place where you will see it every day. This small exercise can be surprisingly effective at helping you stick to your goals when times get tough!
Keep a Food Photo Journal
If you're a visual person, taking pictures of your food before a meal is an easy way to get a clear picture of how much you're eating. It's pretty difficult to be dishonest with yourself about what you ate when you have the evidence in photo form!

QUELINDA2 says: ''I've started taking a photo of everything I eat. I review at the end of the day. If you have to have a picture of it, you might think twice before eating it! This is a great way to see what I'm actually eating over the course of a day. I can also snap a quick photo if it's something I don't have time to log. Just log it later. It keeps me mindful of what and how much I'm eating.''

If you feel strange taking pictures of your food in public, don't worry—all you need to do is snap a discreet shot with your phone. Nobody will notice but you!

Be Kind to Yourself Every Day
We can’t all be optimistic 100% of the time. But taking the time to practice positive self-talk really does make the path to success a little bit clearer, and can rekindle your motivation when you need a pick-me-up. Find a quiet moment every day to reflect on how far you've come already—and tell yourself that you deserve to live your best life. Here are a few positivity pointers from some of our successful SparkPeople members:

''All our weight-loss efforts--exercise, planning, tracking, figuring ranges--are all temporary unless we are kind to the person in the mirror. That person is the one we have to learn to love FIRST. Search out the positives. Talk to the person in the mirror about those positive things rather than all the hateful things you are used to saying. Learn to be your own best friend! It leads to a whole world of possibilities--not just in weight loss.''

''I've been practicing the positive self-talk for a little while now, and I honestly have seen better results. I have been trying to reduce my intake of desserts and empty calories, so when I turn things down, or decide not to eat something, instead of saying that ''I can't have X'', I say that ''I don't WANT X.'' It makes a HUGE difference, and I don't obsess over it because I'm too busy congratulating myself for turning it down.''

''Negative thoughts happen. They're kind of like little birds that flit through your head. The key is to shoo them away and not let them make a nest in your hair!''

''A good way to encourage positive self-talk is to post affirmations where you'll see them several times a day. A good one is to use affirmations or positive words as passwords. You'll be typing those several times a day and sending the message to your unconscious mind.''

Which of these 10 tips will you try this year? Do you have any weight-loss secrets of your own to share?

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All great tips Report
Left off food poisoning? Report
These are all great tips. Report
Great reminders! Report
Good info - thanks. Report
LOVE the food photo journal idea! Such a great idea. I can see using this when I am eating out and tracking right away is not practical. Report
sound and solid advise! I've been maintaining a 30lbs weight loss but I really want to lose more...been maintaining far too long...will follow some of your great tips!
Thanks! Report
I never cease to be amazed how much of a difference consistently drinking 8 glasses of water makes.

And very good point about having a plan as well as a back up. Some days the world throws you a curve and the plan needs to adjust. Good to know where your wiggle room is and how to take advantage of it. Report
Great advise! Report
Taking a picture of your meal gives me an idea. I think I'm going to create a photo portion size gallery! Portion control is one of my biggest problems, and though I've reviewed the portion distortion infographics and written reminder notes about chicken the size of a deck of cards and such, they don't really help me all that much. I think if I can pull out my phone and flip through a gallery of different foods measured correctly, it'd be nice! Plus I can show the preparation different ways. What if my chicken is cut into chunks? No problem! Report
I like the idea of taking a picture of a meal so I can track it accurately later. Chances are, I will have my phone/camera with me. I know I forget to track some things when I think back at the end of the day.
I am also going to try making lunches for the week on the weekend. That is a great idea. Report
As I have referred to myself as "Chronically dehydrated" I think I will try getting my eight to ten in before I drink other things. Water is very important; I just forget it's there! Report
being i have a lot of weight to lose, i am putting $1 in change in a jar for every pound i lose, this way when i get to 25 pounds lost i will have that money to buy me something to wear! Report
Because I have a lot of weight to lose I find it has been helpful to equate my pounds lost to common things. I remember the day that I lost as much weight as my dog weighs and when I lost the equivalent of two large water cooler bottles. I had my picture taken with my nephew who weighs 70lbs when I lost that much. Next I am looking forward to "losing" my neice! Report
I like the idea of taking a picture of my food before eating it. What a great visual check on portions and nutrition. I am doing 10 mins a day period and drink a lot of water to begin baby steps.
I am going to watch some motivational videos every day that was a great tip :) Report
The planning ahead is really helpful. First I started making all 5 of my work week lunches (salad + protein) on the weekend. Later I also began making all 5 breakfasts (Greek yogurt + fruit.) Buy 10 containers -- 5 for breakfasts, 5 for lunches. It's an hour (or less) of work on the weekend, but so worth it all week long. Report
I try to drink a lot of water but it is hard. It's hard because I have to go to the bathroom literally every hour. Kind of makes being productive at work a challenge. Report
I enjoyed reading this article especially the tips from the Sparkpeople members. I am great at seen the positive things about myself ,and saying loving words when I look at myself in the mirror. I also do well logging in my exercise for the day. I need to start writing what I eat on here. I just bought a Ninja blender to start making smoothies in the morning before I go to the YMCA. Report
Love the paper clip idea!!! We are trying to get started with some sort of challenge at work- I think it would be fun to see who can make the longest chain of paperclips in their office :)) I also love the idea of taking pictures of meals. I took a picture of my grocery cart yesterday & posted it on Facebook (mostly because of the prices...and what good deals I was getting)- but looking back, I see that my grocery cart was full of fresh fruits & veggies. Now...I just need to prepare them to be ready for the hectic week. Report
Very informative, Great advise. Report
Ooh, I got mentioned! Cool (lol)! I'm always struggling to find new passwords - what a great idea to use something that will be motivating, too! Report
Great reminders to keep 2013 going strong. I like the paper clip idea. Report
I weight and measure everything item for about 3-4 days every six months. Keeps me honest (especially when tracking). Report
I really like the idea of using positive affirming words or phrases as passwords. Phrases where you use only first letters and substitute numbers where you can can make secure passwords that are hard to hack. Report
Loved this blog. It it all the major things I need to work on in a gentle and kind way. Report
I'm the "kind of person" who really needs to be reminded of all these ideas every day- so Thank You! Report
I love the idea of the paper clip chain. Take away one paper clip for every pound loss. I'm starting it today. I will have a pretty long chain to start. Report
So many great ideas, but using the 'baby steps' idea I am going to pick one to work on, LOVE the possitive word 'password' idea! Now if I can just think of some great single word possitive wonderful words...
This go round I've learned what works for me is to keep my food choices to a minimum. Healthy, delicious and repetitious works. Too much variety is the enemy! Report
I like all of the tips. Be kind to myself is the one that I am focusing on. Report
Great tips
I loved the quotes from "real" SparkPeople interspersed with the advice. Most of the advice if familiar to those of us who are "retreads" - that is, starting AGAIN or resuming the journey after a hiatus or detours. However, reading the advice AND tips from other sojourners makes it fresh. I like the paper-clip chain AND the rocks in the glass ideas: gives some visual cues beyond the scale! - Maryjean Report
Excellent tips. I love the idea of positive self talk. This is one area that i need to work on. I am very hard on myself. Instead of focusing on slip-ups, i need to remember to congratulate myself for all the good things i have done and am doing.
Thanks. Report
Great tips! I love the paperclip chain idea!! I have a goal to lose 16 more lbs before vacation, and I just created and hung my chain! Thanks for the tips! Report
This was a fantastic compilation of helpful tips! Wanting to make this one of my "favorites" so I can refer back to it again! Report
What a wonderfully helpful blog. Report
all of theses things were very helpful went to the Dr and he says when I come back I should be out of the 200's I weighed in at 203 my next appointment is 2/26 how can I do it? so with all the things I read here we will see Report
This is a great review for me as I have been on this journey for almost nine years. I did some major backsliding in the past two years, so 2013 is a new beginning for me. I think I will take time this weekend to make a motivating poster. Visuals work really well for me. BTW, including comments from "real" Spark People made the article much more interesting. Report
This blog is for any part of our journey. It helps get you started or from slipping after losing the weight. I like the reminders to start weighing portions and being kind to ourselves. I have always lost weight in the past and I am determined to keep it off this time. I will be drinking more water and practicing positive self praise. 2013 ... success to us all on our path to maintain or lose and reaching our goals. Report
Thanks for the great tips! The whole concept of baby steps being OK is very empowering to me. Just feeling like I can give myself permission to build up to a holistic state of health & fitness really helps my personal journey. Report
Great ideas! I am just starting so any advice is helpful! Planning is my big downfall! I am a full time student, have two kids and a husband, and also work full time 3rd shift. So many times I eat things I shouldnt because I havent prepared! I think I will sit down and pack my lunches for the whole week so that it is all ready to go! Report
I think I will use the taking pictures of my food and measuring my food more to get the right portion sizes. Report
I really like the idea of taking a pic of the food I eat. I think that will be very helpful. Thank you. Report
Planning what to take for lunch at work in advance has helped me save tons of calories and $$. Report
Great article. Enjoyed the member comments. Liked the paperclip idea though I think I'll give myself a paperclip for every pound lost and see how long I can get my chain. Maybe you can run this again in a few months - always good to have these reminders. Report
I am currently cooking 3 healthy meals now. Next time I need to plan better, hubby and son just left to go to the gym for the first time so I missed the 1st workout. I think I'm going to put on a coat and go out and take a walk as dinner is cooking. Report
Paper clip chain and water, water water! Report