We don’t talk about weight loss often. Instead, we embrace the idea that if you live a well-rounded nutritious life 24-7, a healthy weight will naturally follow. But no matter the approach we preach, everyone wants to know how to lose ten pounds.
Look, we get it.
Maybe you had a particularly stressful month, leading to sky-high cortisol levels and overeating. Maybe you went on the Italian vacation of a lifetime and decided pasta was going to be a main food group for that period of your life (duh). Or maybe you’ve simply been sticking to healthy habits but still feel like there’s just a little bit of extra weight that won’t budge.
The fact is: there’s nothing wrong with setting out to drop a few pounds if you do it in a healthy way while respecting your body.
But crazy diets that lead to yo-yo dieting are not the answer; the key is figuring out how to lose 10 pounds without losing your sanity, self-esteem, or social life. Try these 10 steps, first.
How to Lose 10 Pounds the Healthy Way
1. Learn to calculate your Hunger Quotient.
Learning how much to eat by listening to your body is key when it comes to losing weight. I teach my clients to rate their hunger using the ‘Hunger Quotient.’ This is the number (related to a feeling) that describes how hungry you truly are. You want to aim to be between a 6 and a 4 at the beginning and end of your meals and snacks. A 6 is “slightly hungry” and a 4 is “slightly satisfied.” When you skip meals and snacks during the day, your HQ gets thrown off, and you end up making poor food choices and overeating.
2. Set and stick to a bedtime.
When you sleep more, you simply have less time to eat, and studies have shown you may also make better food choices. But it’s deeper than that. Those who are sleep deprived have higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that stimulates appetite—circulating in their blood, which causes an increase in hunger. In other words, your body’s hormonal response to being tired is to tell you to eat more. Give it a rest, instead. It’s really just as critical as choosing kale over cookies.
3. Put orgasms on your to-do list.
Ok, maybe not literally, because that may take some of the magic out of it. But when you have sex—and orgasms in particular—your body releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin chills you out and reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you hold onto belly fat. So not only will you feel amazing, you can write off time in the sheets as part of your weight loss regimen. (And don’t forget the fact that you don’t need a partner to take advantage of this happy tip.)
4. Start your day with water and drink it consistently.
Drinking water is important for all cellular functions, and hydration aids in weight loss. One reason? That 3:00 pm slump may actually be due to dehydration, but many people confuse thirst for hunger and end up eating extra calories. Aim for 64 ounces a day.
5. Eat your veggies first.
During meals, fill up on greens first. They’re packed with fiber and water volume, both of which help you to stay full and regular. So, you’ll find that you naturally begin to eat less of other less healthy food groups. Greens are also high in antioxidants, which fight inflammation, that nasty process linked to obesity. Foods high in the antioxidants vitamin C, E, and beta carotene—like greens!—may even help reduce fat storage by regulating your body’s use of the hormone insulin.
RELATED: The 5 Most Filling Vegetables
6. But also prioritize protein and fat.
Studies show that eating protein for breakfast may help increase how satisfied you feel throughout the day and help prevent nighttime noshing. It also helps build muscle, and more muscle means more fat burning. Fat, meanwhile, also helps you burn fat! Portion control is key, but be sure to get about 30 percent of your calories from fat, and eat it consistently throughout the day.
Diet and exercise are important but if stress is throwing your hormones out of whack, you’ll still be out of luck in terms of weight loss. Prolonged excess stress not only causes an imbalance in your hormones which can lead to weight gain, it can also lead to emotional eating. Meditating, even for just five minutes a day, has been shown to reduce anxiety in really impressive ways.
8. Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it.
Set a workout schedule that fits into your life (i.e. you’ll actually stick to it!) but that doesn’t leave you exhausted and starving, AKA ready to emotionally overeat. Doing High Intensity Interval sessions seven days a week, for instance, will just send you off a cliff and stress your body. Instead, alternate high-intensity workouts with rest days and lower intensity forms of exercise like LISS Cardio and yoga.
9. Make friends with a foam roller.
Most people ignore their lymphatic system, but it needs to function efficiently for the rest of your systems to work well. Pros like Lauren Roxburgh say that stimulating lymph—by foam rolling regularly, for instance—gets rid of waste buildup that may be causing your body to hold onto weight. While there isn’t a lot of research indicating a direct link, research does also show foam rolling affects the nervous system, stimulating a relaxation response—and you know what we said earlier about how crucial stress relief is here.
10. See yourself succeeding.
Finally, your mind is a pretty powerful tool. If you start out assuming you’ll never figure out how to lose ten pounds effectively, you probably won’t. Try using visualization to picture yourself happy, at a healthy weight, thriving in that beautiful body. (It may sound corny, but hey, we know you’ve tried wackier things. Admit it!) We can see it, already.