Every year, when January rolls around, many of us take a good look at our own rolls — the ones that have accumulated around our midsections, perhaps as a result of indulging in all the delicious holiday foods we love. And every year, many of us vow to stop eating sugar (or fried foods, or bread, or drinking alcohol) and shed the extra pounds that keep our favorite pants from buttoning.
If this sounds familiar, take heart! We’ve rounded up the best weight loss tips from people who really know: Personal coaches from Noom, the popular app that’s helped millions of people change their eating habits and reach their weight loss goals.
Noom coaches, all of whom are experts in the field of nutrition and wellness, are very familiar with the pitfalls that dieters are most likely to encounter, as well as what helps them succeed. If there’s a secret to losing weight and keeping it off, they know what it is! We asked them for their best weight loss tips, and they delivered. Keep reading to find out how you can make 2021 the year you finally feel good about the number you see when you step on the scale.
Set realistic goals.
“A common challenge for Noom users wanting to lose weight is the difficulty of making healthy habits sustainable,” says Anne Gillespie, National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). “It can be tempting to try and make a lot of really big changes at once when starting a health journey. Although ambition is a beautiful thing, overcommitting can lead to burnout, especially in the midst of navigating a hectic schedule, family obligations — or a worldwide pandemic.”
That might mean, for example, making a resolution to get back to your pre-pandemic weight — not your pre-wedding weight. “To develop sustainable habits, it’s important to set realistic goals, as this will help you stay on track,” Gillespie explains. “At Noom, we work with users to set small, weekly SMART goals that help get them closer to their long-term health goals.” (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.) “Breaking down big goals can help build confidence and keep motivation up. Plus, as many Noom users can attest, little changes add up to big progress!”
Don’t deprive yourself.
Many dieters decide they need to forgo certain foods entirely, cutting out sugary treats (like these easy, delicious cookies) and favorite comfort foods like potatoes. But this might not be necessary — and in fact, might set you up for frustration and disappointment. “My best advice to reaching your health goals is to lose the labels!” That’s the philosophy of Kelli Peters, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (NTP, BCHN).
“This means not seeing food as good or bad, and allowing yourself to explore all foods from a more neutral and curious mindset,” she explains. “At Noom, we believe that no food is off-limits, and encourage mindfulness and moderation so that you can truly enjoy the foods you love. This practice will help you begin to trust yourself around food again. Removing the outside label also allows you to become an expert on yourself and how different foods fit into your routine, whether it’s broccoli or potato chips.”
Avoid the all-or-nothing trap.
“When it comes to reaching your health goals, it can be common to fall into all-or-nothing thinking,” says nutritionist Diana Weil, MS (daughter of renowned physician Andrew Weil). “An example of all-or-nothing thinking might be heading into a holiday party with the mindset that you won’t have a single bit of the delicious treats offered. When you do inevitably take a bite of one of those delicious brownies, instead of truly enjoying it, you may start to feel guilty, which can lead to negative self-talk like, ‘I never stick with anything’ or ‘I have no self-discipline.’ Before you know it, you’ve thrown in the towel and are eating your way through the entire dessert table.”
Instead, Weil recommends giving yourself a little grace — and letting yourself enjoy that brownie. “It is more than okay to have room in your diet for treats. In fact, leaving room for your favorite foods is a much more realistic way to reach your weight loss goals, and can help you avoid that all-or-nothing trap.”
“An important factor in weight loss that’s frequently overlooked is stress, which has perhaps never been more relevant than this year,” says Noom coach Alexandria Quigley Houlihan. Indeed, many of us are more stressed than ever before, with almost eight in 10 adults reporting that Covid-19 is a “significant source of stress” in their lives, and one in five people saying their mental health is worse this year than last, according to one recent poll.
“Stress is often the culprit when you step on the scale and see your weight fluctuating or hitting a plateau, where it seems like no matter what you do, your weight just won’t budge. Chronic stress is not only linked to weight gain, but also a host of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer,” says Houlihan. One of her best weight loss tips? “Making time for self-care practices and finding ways to unwind and de-stress is essential to any wellness journey.”
De-process your diet.
“One of the most common issues I see is people falling for the marketing pitch of ‘healthy’ processed food,” says Rebecca Washuta, Licensed Dietician Nutritionist (LDN) and Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). She suggests looking more critically at the items we toss into our grocery carts, rather than relying on what it says on the box. “Just because it’s labeled as ‘gluten-free’ or ‘all-natural’ doesn’t mean it’s good for you! These types of foods can be loaded with sugar and other hidden additives.”
In fact, we might be better off ditching the boxed stuff altogether. “My best advice is to focus on eating real whole foods as often as you can,” says Washuta. “De-processing your diet, or reducing your intake of processed foods, is one of the most powerful ways to reach your health and weight loss goals.”
Ready to crush your goals in 2021? Join Noom to get your own personalized plan for losing weight and feeling great. With Noom, you’ll get access to the best weight loss tips out there, as well as encouragement and advice, all delivered by your very own health coach!
It’s a new year. Are you ready for a new you?