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6 Easy But Effective Ways to Kick-Start Your Weight Loss

You’ve made the decision to lose weight, and now it’s time to follow through on your goal. Here are six weight-loss tips to help you get started.

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Lose Weight Now

So your New Year’s resolution is to lose a pile of pounds. Now what? How can you kick-start weight loss and turn that determination into drive gear? “In order to lose weight, people need to make some sort of change,” says Dr. Shahebina Walji, a family physician at the Calgary Weight Management Centre. “It’s an easy thing to say, but not necessarily easy to do.” But if you’re overweight, dropping just five percent of your body weight can bring health benefits and reduce your risk of disease. So it’s worth following these six tips to kick-start your weight loss.

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1. Eat Breakfast

You may believe you can shed weight by passing on breakfast, but actually, the opposite is true: Breakfast is what kicks off your metabolism for the day. “If you skip breakfast, your body is operating at a slower pace,” says Dr. Walji. Starting your day with a good breakfast also means you’re less likely to overeat at other meals.

For best results, go for a well-balanced, sizeable breakfast that includes high-fibre grains, fruit and protein. If that’s a big change in your routine, you can start small and build up your meal – but definitely stop with the skipping. And the earlier in the day you eat, the better. “Don’t wait three hours, or until you get to work. Have it when you get up,” Dr. Walji says.

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2. Drink Water

As it is, most of us don’t drink enough fluids during the day. Water has zero calories, is key for good health, and can even make you feel full when you’re hungry. Best yet, when you’re drinking water instead of other beverages, you’re probably replacing hundreds of sneaky calories from juice, soft drinks, specialty coffees and alcohol, which can range from 120 calories in a cup of orange juice to over 200 calories in an iced cappuccino. Aim for a glass of water with every meal and snack.

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3. Choose Whole Grains

When you’re picking what to put in your mouth, go for the whole-grain, low-sugar options instead of highly processed foods made with white flour and refined sugar. Not only will you feel full on fewer calories (120 in whole-wheat toast with a tablespoon of light cream cheese, compared to almost 300 calories in a jelly doughnut), but you’re also treating your body to more nutrients while helping to prevent heart disease and other health problems.

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4. Be Active Just 10 Minutes More

Going from couch potato to an hour every day at the gym is the kind of change that only a superhero could keep up with. But add just 10 minutes of exercise to your day, and you’re well on your way to losing weight and reducing a range of health risks. Exercise also has a positive effect on metabolism – just what you’re going for. But keep in mind you won’t lose any weight at all if you use your increased activity as an excuse to have a second cupcake. “A lot of people overestimate how much weight can be lost with exercise alone, so they end up consuming more food,” Dr. Walji cautions.

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5. Think About Your Motivation

Put down on paper the reasons why you want to lose weight, not why your partner is nagging you or why your doctor says you have to. Do you want to have more energy, fit into skinnier jeans, reduce your risk of diabetes? When you’re tempted to open a bag of chips or skip Pilates class, use your written reminders to keep yourself on track. Talk to friends who support your goals, and exercise with partners who share them.

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6. Start Now

The new year is a popular time for setting out resolutions, but it won’t be long before other priorities are competing for your focus. That’s when it’s tempting to put off a weight loss plan until the timing seems better. “A lot of people wait until after the stressful project is done at work, or after the vacation,” says Dr. Walji. “But life is always going to happen.” Kick-start your weight loss by telling yourself that now is the best time to begin. “If you have well thought-out goals and a plan in place, then any time can be the perfect time.”