1. Track. Your. Food!

This is the easiest thing in fitness to do but 9/10 people won’t do it because it has to be done every day. Science has made it incredibly easy to accurately estimate our resting metabolic rate (measured in calories) and the caloric value of foods (energy intake) and many common physical activities (energy expended). These known values have been programmed into free applications like My Fitness Pal that make it extremely simple to set a weight goal, follow the timeline and path to that goal by tracking your net calories each day, and voila, hitting your weight goal!

Bonus Tip: you don’t need to track fibrous vegetables, water, or dry seasonings. You’ll learn in the first week or two how some things you eat consistently don’t actually contribute much, if at all, to your caloric intake. Don’t track them! Save yourself the time and only track the starches (carbohydrate), fats (oils and animal fats) and protein you consume! Another tip, don’t forget to track alcohol, aka the bane of weight-loss.

2. Create Your Own Accountability

Now is no time to keep your new project to yourself. If you want to succeed at this, you need to hold yourself accountable by letting others know what you’re trying to do. This way they will expect to see changes, and you’ll be extra motivated to deliver on those changes! This will let them know that it’s OK to make comments on your physical appearance and will motivate them to give you emotional support along the way (hopefully even steer their behavior in a healthier direction so social gatherings are less around burgers and booze and more around physical activity).

3. Embrace Your Body-Type, Then Train It

Your skeletal structure can’t be changed. Some people have long bones, some have short bones, and they can be more narrow than average, some thicker, and proportions between segments can range just as widely. If you want to be tall and thin but have a short and wide frame, embrace your build and train to your strengths! For example: shorter people have a lower center of gravity, meaning they have an advantage at balance-challenging activities like gymnastics, olympic weightlifting, and rock climbing. Taller people have advantages with speed and coverage, so running, sprinting, reaching and throwing come easier for them. Wider people have larger muscles which makes strength and power more natural for them, whereas narrower builds are lighter so they use less energy during movement making them good at endurance activities.

Don’t let your natural build stop you from pursuing success in an event you’re not genetically advantaged in, but don’t blame yourself and give up on anything just because someone else out-performs you. Knowing what your body is built for helps you set your expectations for how successful you can be in different activities, because we all know how discouraging it is when you don’t see the results you want. You can be better at anything you invest time and hard work into, but you can see even greater success when you align that effort with activities your body is built for!

4. Brush Your Teeth Before Dessert

You know when you finish dinner and you get that craving for more food? You know you’re trying to lose weight, but man that craving is strong. Go brush your teeth! Most people don’t want to eat right after they brush their teeth, so brush them super well and I bet that’ll buy you enough time away from that craving that you’ll get close enough to bed time to just go to sleep and let your body burn off that unwanted body-fat through the night!

5. Keep Junk OUT of the Grocery Cart

This is a no brainer, but if you truly don’t want to eat salty snacks, fatty condiments, and high calorie desserts, DON’T KEEP THEM IN THE HOUSE. You’re going to eat what you have, so find some recipes that sound good, buy what you need to make those, and keep some fruits, nuts, veggies and other quick healthy options around for when you need food faster than you can make it. Set the stage for success, not for setbacks!

6. Careful with Coffee – Swap for a Shake

There’s not much I enjoy more than a cup of rich dark roast with cream, sugar and vanilla or mocha flavor in the morning. Most of the time those extra 150-250 calories are no big deal on my total calorie goal, but when you’re getting to the last few pounds you need to lose, those extra calories and that less-healthy decision can set your day up for more setbacks.

Swapping out for a protein shake will cost you the same amount of calories, but do your metabolism a favor and keep you more satiated through the day. Even better, you can throw a serving of Cold Brew into your milk and protein shake and have yourself a lean latte!