How to Make Simple Changes to Lose Weight

Grilled meats and vegetables
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Losing weight takes dedication, motivation, and hard work. But you have the ability to make weight loss easier. There are simple strategies that can help you lose weight with less effort—but keep in mind that you can't trick your body into sustainable weight loss. If you are unable to maintain certain healthy behaviors, you will not sustain the weight loss.

Dietary Changes for Weight Loss

Changing what you eat might seem like the first—and most crucial—step. But it is also important to consider if changing what you eat is accessible to you. If it's not, then your weight loss efforts and results will be temporary. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Can I afford to make these changes?
  • Can I commit extra time to learn new recipes?
  • Will I be able to continue with this plan after my initial weight loss?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may need to rethink your strategy. Follow these tips for simple dietary changes to make weight loss more accessible.

Choose Lean Protein Sources

If foods like burgers and fatty steaks are staples in your current diet, you may want to consider cutting back. Reducing your red meat consumption can go a long way in helping you to cut calories and lose weight. If you choose to eat red meat one or two times per week, choose the leanest red meats to keep your diet on track. Then start to build meals around lean protein sources like fish and poultry. 

To keep your shellfish, fish, chicken, and turkey healthy, be sure to choose the right preparation method. Skip the creamy, high-calorie condiments like tartar sauce or "special sauce" on grilled chicken sandwiches.

Eating lean protein helps to curb hunger so you eat less. You should also try to make better choices at fast-food restaurants to keep fat calories in check. 

Use Healthy Cooking Methods

Cut out fried foods from your diet. Keep your food choices healthy by grilling, baking, roasting, broiling, or boiling. The best cooking methods for your diet tend to be low in fat and calories.

You can also set up your kitchen for weight loss. Organize your kitchen to make healthy food preparation simple. Keep your cupboards stocked with plenty of herbs and spices so you can fix your favorite dishes without adding additional fat or calories. You might even plant an herb garden so you'll never run out.

Start Your Meals With Soup or Salad

Having a healthy salad or cup of soup at the beginning of your meal can really pay off when you're trying to lose weight. These low-calorie "filler foods" can help curb hunger and prevent overeating.

Be sure to skip the creamy soups and choose a broth or tomato-based soup like minestrone. Vegetable soups made with broth, stock, or tomato soup are ideal because the veggies will help fill you up and give you a boost of fiber and nutrition.

If you choose to have a salad, top your salad with low-calorie dressing, balsamic vinegar, or lemon. If you love creamy dressings, make your own ranch-style dressing at home to limit excess fat and calories.

Finish Your Meal With Fruit

Instead of reaching for the cookie jar or helping yourself to dessert after meals, satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead. Not only will you save on fat and calories, but you will also have the added benefit of extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Many people do not eat as much fruit as is recommended.

You can certainly lose weight by changing how much food you eat, but when you also make changes to what you eat, the weight loss process becomes easier.

Making Changes to What You Drink

The next step in your weight loss plan is to change your drink choices. Cutting back on certain drinks and prioritizing others can make a huge difference to your long-term weight loss success.

Quit Drinking Soda

If you drink regular soda, you may be surprised at just how many additional calories and sugar you're taking in. For example, for every 20 ounces of Coca-Cola you drink, you consume 240 calories and 64 grams of sugar. Drink several glasses a day and you can easily gulp down 1,000 liquid calories and a ton of added sugar, which can be detrimental to your health.

If you drink a lot of soda, think of how many calories you'll be saving if you trade it in for diet soda or water. Hundreds? Even thousands? Remember, every 3,500 calories saved equals one pound lost.

Limit Diet Sodas

Diet colas and other diet soda drinks may sound like they fit into a weight loss plan since they're calorie- and sugar-free. However, there is a controversial issue about artificial sweeteners' indirect effect on weight loss that might surprise you.

Some studies have suggested that drinking diet soda may encourage you to eat more or to make less healthy food choices. Other health experts have suggested that artificial sweeteners actually cause cravings for sweet foods to increase.

Reduce Alcohol

Booze calories can add up quickly and contribute to belly fat due to their high sugar content. In addition to the calories in alcoholic drinks, drinking can also lead to out-of-control eating. Try to cut back or even eliminate alcohol, if possible.

Drink More Water

When you're trying to lose weight, it is important to drink enough water every day. Aim for about eight glasses daily. You'll stay hydrated, and the increased water consumption may also help you to cut back on soda. You might find that you start to crave water instead of sugary beverages once you begin drinking it more often.

If you don't like water, learn to make flavored waters at home that will satisfy your sweet tooth and even your salty cravings.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Monitoring your calorie intake, following a healthy, balanced diet, and limiting your consumption of sugary beverages is only one part of the weight-loss equation. Here are some simple lifestyle habits that will help you lose weight and promote long-term weight management.

Start Exercising

You don't have to join a gym or invest in exercise equipment to lose weight. You can start an easy exercise program at home, or simply get outside more and start a walking program for weight loss.  Remember, any activity is better than no activity. Just be sure you are healthy enough for exercise before you begin. Your healthcare provider can clear you for exercise if need be.

Keep a Food Diary

There is no better tool for weight management than a simple food diary. Maintaining a consistent food journal will reveal your unhealthy eating habits, such as the foods that get you started on a binge. Try keeping a detailed food diary for at least two weeks to accurately reflect your habits.

Learn About Nutrition

Read expert-backed weight loss books and refer to reliable online sources to learn all you can about nutrition and diet. Understanding the reasons behind healthy food choices can help make it easier to make the right decisions.

Manage Emotional Eating

If you think you may have issues with emotional eating, you might want to track your feelings in your food diary, too. Record how you feel before, during, and after eating. Periodically check over your entries to see what cues set you off on a binge or led to other unhealthy eating behaviors. 

If you discover that you frequently binge or you can't seem to cope with stress or sadness without eating, you could be an emotional eater. Don't hesitate to make an appointment with a qualified therapist or clinical social worker to get the help that you need.

A Word From Verywell

Any of these healthy changes that you make to your diet, your drinking habits, and your level of daily activity are going to make weight loss easier and more sustainable. Start with simple easy changes and build your program gradually. Consult your primary care physician before starting a weight loss plan that includes changes to your diet and physical activity.

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Article Sources
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