When people ask me how to lose weight, I hesitate because there isn’t a simple answer. Weight loss is complex and different for each person. But one general tip that I tell people who are trying to lose, or just maintain their weight, is to pick their splurges. Specifically, pick 2-3 favorite food or drink-related splurges and then decide how much you’re willing to limit them. You may decide to have just one splurge a day or one a week depending on your weight loss goals.
If you’re not sure what to pick for your splurges, consider this. Many adults who are struggling with their weight tend to (1) eat out a lot, which often means big portions and high calorie meals, (2) enjoy too many sweets, and (3) drink a lot of calories in alcohol and/or sugary drinks. When you’re trying to lose weight, these habits are often the reason why the scale doesn’t budge (or even nudges upward). And yet many people go to a restaurant, order a few glasses of wine or beer, eat a big meal, and then have dessert. That’s all three splurges at one sitting! You could have easily polished off 3500 calories (the amount needed to gain a pound) in that one meal!
If this sounds like you, consider making eating out, desserts, and calorie-rich drinks your three splurges. Rather than indulge in all three splurges at once, choose just one. If you want to eat out, then that’s your splurge. But that means you won’t order alcohol, soda or other sugary drinks, and you won’t have dessert. If you really want dessert, than make that your splurge for the day, meaning no dining out and no calorie-containing drinks.
Picking your splurge lets you still indulge in your favorite foods/drinks, just not all at once. I use a similar technique in my book, Read Before Dieting, but I specifically focus on picking the changes you want to make on a diet. The idea is that you don’t have to follow diets exactly as written because chances are, they don’t fit your lifestyle. So you decide which of the diet’s changes you are willing to make. Doing this makes you more likely to stay on the diet and lose the weight.
If you want to lose a few pounds (or keep from gaining them), give this “pick your splurge” trick a try. Decide what your splurges are, then give yourself one splurge a day or 2-3 per week and you may see results from that simple switch alone.