Losing weight isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. What helps one person shed pounds may backfire on another. Because we’re all so different, from our food preferences to our body chemistry, the only successful way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to find what works for you. There probably are a million ways to gain 10 pounds, but here are 42 simple ways to lose them—whether you want to know how to lose the last 10 pounds or first.
1. Drink more water
Research shows that dieters who guzzle plenty of H2O lose more weight than those who don’t. Keep things interesting with different flavoured waters. Lemons with cucumbers are highly tasty and a great thirst quencher.
2. Split your meal portions into two
Divide your normal portion by two and save the rest for later. You’re likely to feel full on less food than you think.
3. Go vegetarian
In general, vegetarians have lower body weights than their meat-eating peers. Go vegetarian until at least you drop the first 10 pounds.
4. Or go Vegan
Vegetarianism not helping you lose? Take it to the next level by swearing off eggs and dairy, too. Cheese can be a diet killer.
5. Get fresh
Eliminate packaged foods and eat only fresh ingredients you’ve prepared. No bags, boxes, cans, or cartons allowed.
6. Diet 2 days a week
If you can’t stick to a program all the time, try slashing your calories to 650 a day just two days a week and eating normally the other days. One study suggests this offers protection from breast cancer as well as assistance with weight loss.
7. Not so sweet
Everyone knows sugar isn’t healthy, but when you start reading labels, you find it in unexpected places, like pasta sauce and frozen entrées. Cutting the sugar out of your diet will mean healthier meals overall.
8. Cut the flour
The short-term elimination of floury foods like white bread and pastries can efficiently kick-start your weight loss plan.
9. Go virgin
Alcoholic beverages are some of the emptiest calories out there. Replace them with water, and the weight comes off.
10. Walk 2 minutes every 30 minutes
Short walking breaks add up to weight loss. Plain and simple.
11. Be fidgety
Studies show that fidgety types burn significantly more calories than their stationary peers. So go ahead: Tap that foot, drum those fingers, and totally shake those knee.
12. Sleep on it
Research shows that those who don’t get enough sleep, eat more and reach for more fattening grub than people who get plenty of rest. Be sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
13. Have more sex
Thirty minutes of sex burns at least 60 calories for a 150-pound woman.
14. Eat at home
Meals eaten away from home have 134 more calories, on average.
15. Start a blog
The weight loss blog is practically a literary genre. Start one, and you aren’t just losing for yourself. Your public needs you.
16. Tweet your weight
Some call it the #humiliation diet, but many credit the accountability for their weight loss success. Use the hashtag #tweetyourweight.
17. Find a buddy
You know you’re more likely to show up at the gym if someone is there waiting for you.
18. Fill your plate with vegetables
Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, which are less calorie dense and more nutritious than any other type of food.
19. Eat more nuts
A recent study found that dieters who snacked on shelled pistachios shed more pounds than those who ate other snacks, even though they contained the same amount of calories.
20. Try a grapefruit diet
Eating one grapefruit daily helped 58% of subjects to lose weight, according to research.
21. Use less scented products
Scented products make us crave the foods they remind us of, which ultimately makes us eat more.
22. Remind yourself to eat better
One study found that people chose better-for-them foods when they were prompted to “consider the healthiness” before digging in.
23. Learn to knit
Doing something—anything—with your hands can distract you from your cravings.
24. Train for a race
Many people find that having an athletic goal motivates them to exercise regularly in a way that nothing else can.
25. Join a sports league
Fitness can be fun, and if it is, you’re more likely to stick with it. Pickup softball, anyone?
26. Quit sugary drinks
Some supersized sodas have 500-plus calories, and juice isn’t much better. Drink water instead.
27. Lay off dessert
Cut a slew of calories by ordering a skim cappuccino instead so you have something to do while your dining companions devour a cheesecake.
28. Join a program
US News recently rated Weight Watchers the best choice for weight loss.
29. Work standing up
Standing burns at least 30% more calories than sitting on your backside all day.
30. Get a treadmill
Studies suggest you can burn an additional 800 calories during your workday—if you continually walk at a very slow pace.
31. Swap your supper for soup
Soup’s high water content makes it a low-calorie and filling option. Just steer clear of the creamy kinds.
32. Stop dieting
Yo-yo dieters don’t tend to get thinner—they get fatter. Instead, make a serious lifestyle change.
33. Quit snacking
The real reason the French don’t get fat is because it’s a cultural faux pas to eat between meals.
34. Go gluten-free
It isn’t a miracle diet, but it can be a useful short-term experiment that often leads to weight loss and ultimately a less bread-heavy diet.
35. Add some spice in your life
Cayenne pepper really can rev your metabolism.
36. Abandon your car
Walk or bike to work for a slimming—not fattening—commute.
37. Don’t skip breakfast
Those who enjoy a morning meal have been shown over and over to be slimmer than breakfast skippers.
38. Drink more milk
Low-fat dairy consumption seems to speed weight loss—scientists credit the calcium.
39. Eat more yogurt
A recent report revealed the foods most identified with maintaining a healthy weight, and yogurt ranked among the best.
40. Drop the potato chips
At the top of the list for foods that make you add pounds? Potato chips.
41. Take a 2-wheeled tour
A long weekend bike ride around your hometown will help you see the sights in a new light, all while you torch a ton of calories.
42. Weigh in daily
For some, the scale is a bummer and a distraction. Others like the daily feedback and accountability. Try it, and see if you lose weight.