I’ve always gone through ebbs and flows with my body—and I’m sure that’s true for most humans (men included). I’ve tried every crash diet and trendy workout craze only to come to the same conclusion every time: It’s not for me. When it came down to it, I hated working out, and I loathed restricting myself even more. I love food. I began to accept that my penchant for takeout is a huge part of me—and, subsequently, my happiness. I wasn’t willing to give that up just to shed a couple pounds. Though, many times, my “this is me” attitude allowed for unhealthy lifestyle choices. I knew I had to make a change, but I refused to let said change ruin my life.
It seems serendipitous, but the more I allowed my brain to give up its lifelong quest for the perfect body—as if there’s even such a thing—the more I started noticing inches gone from my waistline. Why? Because rather than spend two hellish weeks on whatever regime I had read about that month, I began making very small adjustments. Such changes never interfere with afternoons spent on the couch and Chinese food delivery orders (perhaps my two favorite things).
And they work: I lost a significant amount of weight in three months. I didn’t even realize it was happening until one day, my favorite jeans didn't fit. (Don’t worry, I’ve since had them tailored, we're good.) Below, find the secrets to losing weight without giving up… anything.
It’s certainly easier in New York than many other places, but there’s no doubt that you walk less than you could. A long stroll feels meditative—like a much-needed conversation with yourself. Listen to your favorite playlist, call your mother, and get where you need to go (albeit slightly slower) while burning calories. Blocks go by in just minutes, and you’ve blithely worked off lunch by the time you get home. You’ll have more time to think and less time to clock at the gym (if you’re into that sort of thing). Just remember to wear comfortable shoes and stock BodyGlide Foot Anti Blister Balm ($8) in your bag just in case.
Change Just One Meal a Day
Like I said, I can eat. And rather than abolishing all the foods I love, I alter just one of my daily meals to a healthier option. Usually, it’s lunch only because the thought of burrito remnants in my keyboard makes me feel sad. But do whatever works for you! It’s mostly mental in that if you’re always allowed to eat your favorite dishes, you’ll never feel like you have to binge on them. Never binging equals less eating and an overall healthier relationship with food. So much so that sometimes I even choose to go green and leafy for both lunch and dinner—I’ve started to crave it.
Hear me out: When we’re unhappy with our bodies, we tend to hide them as much as possible—even from ourselves. Spending time with yourself sans clothing is the easiest way to get to know your curves and maintain balance. If I undress for bed one day and notice a few unwelcome changes, I can make a note to go to yoga the next day or get something fresh and healthy for dinner. "Think back on the day before, both mentally and physically," recommends Melody Scharff, an instructor at The Fhitting Room. "Scan your body for areas you need to pay special mind to today. That will help you focus on the journey as well as the results."
This tactic allows you to observe positive developments as well. Walking everywhere has helped my legs tone up, which I first recognized as I was climbing into bed. Had I been wearing sweatpants, I wouldn’t have fallen asleep with a smile on my face.
Save Your Leftovers
This one seems counterintuitive, but it works. I used to trash my leftovers because I thought that would save me from overeating. (Most restaurants supply a heftier portion than recommended.) However, if you save your doggy bag, you’ve just supplied yourself with a free meal for the next day. That way, both meals stay in line with the proper serving size, and you can spend your money other things that make you happy.
Another easy option, according to Farah Fahad, a dietitian and founder of The Farah Effect, is to wrap up a portion of your meal and swap in some veggies. "Take your serving of pasta and cut it in half," Fahad says. "Then replace the other half with your favorite vegetable. This will automatically make the dish a lot lighter and nutrient-dense, as well as keep you full and happy."
Weighing yourself can drive you crazy. Our intake of food and drink makes it so that our bodies fluctuate throughout the day. If you weigh yourself in the morning, it may read something different than at night. So why do it? It’s difficult to gauge what that number really means anyway. Muscle weighs more than fat, after all. It’ll make you feel bad if the number is higher than you expected it to be—and feeling bad is a waste of your time.
"I am not a fan of weighing yourself," says Amy Rosoff Davis, Selena Gomez’s longtime trainer. "I think it breeds obsessive thoughts and behaviors. If you work out and eat healthy, your body should do the rest! When you have a healthy mind, body, and soul, the results will come. I prefer the jean test. You know how your pants fit, so go off of that instead of a number." Essentially, leave the scales to your yearly checkups, and you’ll live a far more blissful, body-loving life.
Looking for more wellness tricks? Peep this five-step guide to faking a detox.