The Daily Habits That Helped 6 People Lose 10 Pounds
We asked people to tell us the one single habit or lifestyle change that helped them to lose 10 pounds or more.
Losing weight is not one-size-fits-all
The truth about losing weight is there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Many weight loss products, including detox teas, diet pills, and "fat-burning" gadgets, make claims that they can help you lose 10 pounds or more—fast. However, the key to successful and healthy weight loss is to adopt sensible eating and exercising habits. That can look different for different people, and also requires a sustained effort over time to change daily habits.
“People tend to give up easily,” says Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS, senior bariatric psychologist at the Bellevue Center for Obesity & Weight Management and clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City. “They think if they lost five pounds in the first week, that’s realistic for every week.” It's important to set up realistic goals that are in line with what you can accomplish.
If you're looking to lose weight, the healthy way, here's how six people were able to lose 10 pounds, each by making at least one important change to their daily lifestyle.
Stop counting calories
David Isaacsen went from 240 pounds to 185, but getting those last few pounds off meant he needed to let go of his focus on calories and shift it to the type of meals and snacks he was eating. Even though he calls himself a "good ole' boy" who loved meat and thought vegans were "weaklings," he gave a plant-based diet a try to see if it would help him knock those final pounds. As he learned, plants can still provide healthy protein sources.
"I didn't really exercise or count calories, carbs, or proteins. I just ate whole food, plant-based meals: Which means nothing processed, no dairy or meat. The weight melted off me, within a week I was able to lose 10 pounds," he shared. Now, he maintains the diet and is proud that he can do 100 push-ups daily, hold a plank pose—plus get great scores on his blood tests. His next challenge? Running a Tough Mudder race in August, and turning 50 in November, he says.
More cardio, switch to Paleo
Cardio is key when it comes to losing weight. However, for actor and director Eric Schumacher, cardio wasn't enough for his weight loss goal (10 pounds) for a future audition. Schumacher didn't just need to drop the weight ASAP, but he had to keep it off for filming if he got the role of Doc Holliday in the feature film, Tombstone Rashomon. Because the character was ill and suffered from tuberculosis, Schumacher needed to look the part.
"After panicking for about two days, I finally called my two fittest friends, and they both recommended specific cardio-heavy workouts focusing on the core. One also suggested that I immediately start on the Paleo diet, and reduce calories little by little as needed. That was the one habit that made the most difference," he says. Schumacher got down to a trim 135 and landed the role. (Here are 13 things experts won't tell you about weight loss.)
Walk for every meal
Walking for weight loss works. But, consider this—what if you sought food, you went on a hike? That would definitely cut down on mindless snacking, and it worked like a charm for Pasquale Brocco, enabling him to shed the last of his incredible 328 pound-loss as he dropped from 608 to 280. "The habit I set up was to walk to get every meal! I decided I would throw away all the bad food in my house and, if I wanted to eat, I would exercise to get my meals! So I walked two miles for each meal, three to four times a day," he explains. Walking helped him lose 10 pounds—and then some. Plus, here's how to train your brain to hate junk food.
Recognize sugar addiction
It can be difficult to accept and cope with a sugar addiction. Do you know the best way to break your sugar addiction? If not, you're not the only one."I finally addressed my 'sugar addict' and created this rule/habit for myself: I only have sugar on Sundays," says Renee Jones, after shedding her last few pounds. "In the first week or two I might have been standing in the pantry staring down the chocolate chips and saying the rule through gritted teeth, but even that process reinforced my commitment. Reducing sugar led to a decrease in my cravings, balancing my blood sugar and regulating my hunger. Now, I sometimes skip the sugar altogether because sugar always wants more, igniting cravings, and depositing extra on my hips. Who needs that?" Check out more tips to get over a weight-loss plateau.
No matter how hard you try to manage (and micromanage) your time, there's always a day when you can't finish your to-do list. When your daily schedule is full, what gives? Like most people, Scott Deuty use to skip exercise when he got too busy. But he wasn't able to reach 172 pounds (after starting at 221) until he restructured his priorities to focus on fitness. "I started to plan my day around my workout, instead of planning my workout around my day. And to make myself stick to it, I made my routine fun instead of difficult. I hiked the beauty of Colorado and worked with dumbbells on the deck instead of inside a gym," he said.
Start lifting weights
To get the physique that she always wanted, this personal trainer knew something had to change. To lose pounds or more, there wasn't a big change in her cardio 0r diet. Instead, Kyra Williams started pumping iron to get from 165 pounds down to 140. "When I started strength training, it built muscle, and my metabolism increased exponentially. I fell in love and it got me motivated to go to the gym every single day, not just because of the physical changes I saw, but also I just thought it was so fun," she says. "Because it increased my metabolism, I didn't have to be quite so careful about things I put into my body. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to eat healthier to fuel the workouts I was so passionate about, but a few bites here and there of cookies and pizza didn't seem to throw off my physique nearly as much." Essentially, she was able to lose the pounds by making her muscles put in overtime. Don't miss these secrets from people who lost (and kept off) 50 plus pounds.
- Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS, senior bariatric psychologist at the Bellevue Center for Obesity & Weight Management and clinical assistant professor, department of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, New York City