Everyone has had the struggle at one time or another, how to lose those extra pounds that you packed on during a holiday season or over the winter. It’s hard to find one thing that works, but there are some natural ways that can help the process of losing weight. Nothing is a quick fix, and you don’t want a quick fix because your body will just bounce right back from it and you’ll be fighting those extra pounds again. There are some simple changes you can make to your everyday life to be healthier and get the added advantage of losing weight. Some tips are going to be easier than others, but it is a journey you have to be willing to take to reap the benefits.

            The first thing you can do to lose weight naturally is something we’ve been hearing our whole lives: drink lots of water. No really, drinking lots of water can and does aid in weight loss. If you drink the recommended amount of water a day, you will not only be less hungry, but your skin will look healthier also. One trick with water involves drinking two large glasses before each meal, which will help you feel fuller and you will eat less overall. As you can imagine, if you do this with every meal you will begin to see a compounding effect. Another thing you can do is add lemons to your water. Lemon juice makes you feel more alert and energized and also aids in metabolism. So if you put those three tips together, you can lose weight just by doing what your body naturally needs. Of course, it takes some effort to reach for the water over the juice or soda, so you have to be willing to use some self-control.

            Another obvious, yet true way to lose weight is by adding some physical activity into your days. I’m not talking running a marathon or Olympian weight lifting, but those are some options that would work. The best thing to do, especially if you are like me and don’t enjoy a good hour of sweating, is adding more walking into your day. Studies have shown that walking and running show no distinct different in the amount of weight lost, and that even exercising one or two times a week is better than none. What helps me is doing little things like parking farther away in the parking lot, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Adding little challenges can add up over a period of time and show some real progress. It is good to at least aim for a 30-minute walk at least three times a week though. More than that is ideal, will help you feel happier and healthier, and help the weight come off and stay off.

            You can exercise all the days of the week for every week of the year and see little to no progress if you don’t make one not so simple change: the way you eat. If you are really struggling with weight, you have to be willing to take a step back and look at your diet. Is it overall healthy? Are you really eating fruits and vegetables every day? Are you skipping meals or forgetting to eat, even? Other studies and many personal trainers agree that losing weight is as much as 90% of your diet and only 10% exercise. If you reach for those carbs, or sugary snacks instead of that apple, it is going to make a difference. Making sure what’s going into your body isn’t completely unneeded is the best way to lose that extra weight. And it’s not going to fall off over night. It took time to gain the weight, and it will take time to shed it off again.

            The very last tip I have for you is about alcohol. If you want to lose extra pounds, cutting alcohol out of your diet is one of the best things you can do. A lot of people don’t realize just how many calories are in alcoholic beverages, and how many extra they may be adding to their diet in just that way after being careful about food and going to the gym. Just one shot of liquor can have anywhere from 90 to 150 calories in it, and I know most people don’t stop with one. Alcohol is also processed as sugar, which isn’t needed by the body and the excess ends up as, you guessed it, body fat.

            I hope these tips are simple enough that it doesn’t seem like climbing Mount Everest to lose some extra weight. My goal was to show some easy changes we can make in our day to day lives without having to give up everything we like to eat or having to spend half of the day exercising. Just check with yourself before you consume anything, ask yourself if your body needs it. Give your body the water it needs to thrive, and don’t ditch all the goodies, just try to eat them in moderation.