When you’re aiming to lose weight, there are numerous experts to lean on, whether it’s registered dietitians, doctors or psychologists. These folks can all offer important advice based on helping their clients and patients navigate the choppy waters of weight loss. However, when building your weight-loss support group, don’t forget about valuable lessons from your peers. Thousands of MyFitnessPal users have lost weight and kept it off successfully. Jumping into the Community Message Boards yields a treasure trove of genius weight-loss hacks. It’s worth taking a few minutes to read up on the latest fixes for common struggles, get inspiration and become part of a supportive community.
Here are some super-smart hacks that might work for you, too:
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN ADD, NOT JUST SUBTRACT
Downsizing portions is nothing new, but it can leave you with extra space on your plate that can be put to good use. MyFitnessPal user Strudders67 not only spent time weighing and measuring portions to fit within a calorie allotment but also upped their veggie intake. “My vegetable intake has increased to visually compensate for the reduced pasta or potatoes going on my plate. I’ll still have pasta and potatoes, but I’ll fill up more with veg than with high-calorie pasta.” This saves calories, helps you feel fuller longer, and adds plenty of key vitamins and minerals.
KNOW YOUR “SNACKY” TIMES
Everyone has times when they tend to snack more than usual. Knowing what those vulnerable spots are can help you determine actionable strategies to effectively deal with them. For RunsWithBees, a problem time was snacking while watching TV at night. “I made it a priority to watch less or none at all and do other activities instead. It really helped reduce my mindless snacking habit.” For example, try saving your favorite TV show to watch while walking on the treadmill.
LEAN INTO INCONVENIENCE
Make automatic habits harder to accomplish, says steveko89. “The best way to break a [bad] habit is to remove/avoid the decision point where you keep making the choice you don’t like. At one point, I noticed I was torpedoing my progress by getting too many things out of the vending machines at work, purely out of boredom. At the time, the machines were cash/change only, so I stopped having cash on me.”
MEASURE AND LOG EVERYTHING
For people who find they’re drastically cutting calories yet are still stuck in a plateau, claireychn074 has this back-to-basics hack: Use a food scale. “Let me tell you about my peanut butter epiphany. I love the crunchy unsweetened stuff and used to have a ‘tablespoon’ on my crackers. I used a measuring spoon and logged it on MFP. A tablespoon is 15 grams. One day I weighed it, and it was 27 grams. Depending on the brand, that’s between 50–100 calories extra I didn’t know I was eating.”
REPLACE PROBLEM FOODS
Save 100–150 calories by finding snacks that are “pretty good but not great — something in between chocolate cake and carrot sticks,” says MFP user lgfrie. “I got rid of all the cookies, ice cream and chips and replaced them with things like 130-calorie packs of Goldfish and 100-calorie packs of popcorn. I like those, but I don’t crave them, so I tend not to binge on them.” Science shows making smaller changes and aiming for progress, not perfection helps you lose weight without feeling deprived, so it’s sustainable long term.
READ MORE > 23 EASY WAYS TO CUT UP TO 500 CALORIES
HAVE NON-SCALE GOALS
Make small, manageable goals that have nothing to do with weight loss says MFP user lhcp12. “I gave myself a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day. I have a 34-day streak of 10,000+ step days. Due to the freezing cold weather we had, a lot of those steps are from walking on the spot in front of my TV set.” Walking not only boosts mood levels and improves heart health, but it’s great for weight-loss, too.
SCHEDULE A DAY TO ORDER IN OR GO OUT
There’s no reason to stop yourself from eating restaurant-prepared food. You can still incorporate your favorite meals into your weekly rotation. User lemurcat2, who lost about 90 pounds, says having at least one evening bookmarked to go out to dinner or order in was key. “I chose restaurants that worked with my food goals.” For example, read up on the menu and order a high-quality protein like salmon with rice and veggies. Or enjoy a portion-controlled amount of pizza. That way, you can look forward to the event rather than feel as if you failed because you ordered a favorite meal. “Sometimes restricting something completely makes it harder to moderate when you do have it.”
Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.