9 Practical Tips For Losing Weight (That Actually Work)

Since the end of March, I've been on a journey to try and shift some weight. Since going to uni, I had put on about a stone in weight. I know a lot of other students experience the same...it must be something to do with living off pesto and pasta and drinking your body weight in Strongbow for three years. Although I was just over 10 stone and a size 10, I just wasn't happy with how my body looked. So, in March/ April, I thought enough was enough; I'd stop moaning about the extra podge on my stomach and actually do something about it. After two months, I reached my goal weight of 9 stone 3 pounds (my pre-uni weight); around a stone lost and I am so much happier and can actually see muscle definition and the progress I've been working so hard for through training weights at the gym since January. Although many people might say 'you didn't need to lose weight to start with' (another rant for another time), I wanted to do it for me. Everyone has different goals and views their body in different ways. This post isn't meant to be a pushy one at all. I am just happy with my results and proud of my body, and know many people are trying to lose weight so I thought I'd share how I did it and what I found worked well. So here goes...

1. Calories in VS calories out

If there's one point you take away from this, let this be it! If you're eating more than what you're burning, you are going to gain weight. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more than you put in. Simples. Although I don't get on with faddy diets, I did watch my calorie intake in order to shift the weight. Getting a FitBit was one of the best moves for me. I got to see how many calories I burnt each day and be able to gauge how many calories I should be eating from there. The FitBit app allows you to log your food (a bit like MyFitnessPal), and produces a handy graph showing the difference between cals in vs cals out. You can also produce food plans and it will calculate what deficit you need to lose X amount of pounds per week. My aim was 1/ 1.5 pounds per week- a healthy and steady amount for my height and weight. FitBit said I needed a 500 calorie deficit, however, in reality, I found I needed more than this. I aimed to eat around 1400 or 1300 per day (on average I burn around 2000, on cardio days, more). Sticking to this amount meant I could set myself a goal and know that I was on track to lose weight. As I lost weight, I restricted this amount even more. It's all about being aware, staying motivated and dedicating yourself- although we're all allowed a cheat day!

2. Substitute carbs!

One of my biggest downfall is carbs. I used to eat a lot of pasta; I can never get servings right for pasta so ended up cooking far more than I actually needed, leading to tons of calories being consumed and an uncomfortable bloating effect and added water weight! I knew this was one of my main points to cut down on, so immediately started substituting pasta for courgetti. Similarly, I substituted rice for cauliflower or broccoli rice. Both are available from supermarkets or so easy to make yourself. Instead of consuming 200/300 calories in pasta, I was having 40 calories via spiralized courgette. A huge cut down! I initially used a spiralizer my Mum gave to me, but after that broke, bought a £2 one from Asda that was 100% better! It's still tasty and even as a self-confessed pasta addict, found I didn't miss the carbs at all. Even now my diet has ended, I still have courgetti because I love the taste. Another thing which I thought I couldn't give up was crisps (my ultimate vice), but found I could substitute these for popcorn. I bought the microwavable bags (sweet flavour) instead of pre-made; they have fewer calories than the bags you can buy plus you can add your own flavourings, for example a sprinkling of cinnamon or some salt. A decent 13g serving is just under 60 calories (half the amount of crisps) and the perfect little lunchtime or evening snack.

3. Drink water

I am awful at remembering to drink (my boyfriend sends me texts throughout the day as a reminder for me to have some water), but it really is one of the most useful tips for when trying to lose weight. At first, having fewer calories is a bit of a shock to the system (I struggled with hunger for the first week before it became normal for me to consume that amount), and I found frequently sipping on water whenever I felt those hunger pangs really helped curb them temporarily and stop me snacking. They say that often when you feel hungry you are actually just thirsty (although it doesn't feel like that sometimes!)

4. Hidden calories

Carrying on from the calories in vs calories out, when logging my food intake I was really shocked and surprised at the hidden calories in some foods- and drinks! For example, although they're not unhealthy, avocados are very calorific, as are many cereals, cereal bars etc. I'm a creature of habit and always snacked at around 11am when I started to feel hungry post-breakfast but pre-lunch, and usually had some Belvita biscuits. These were 200 calories plus for a packet- just by cutting these out I was saving myself those hidden calories and helping towards that deficit. I bought flavoured water one day, went to log and found it contained 150 calories! Be wary of extra sugar where you don't necessarily expect it.

5. Timing your food

Although they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day (and it is important not to skip it), I found that if I held out as long as I could before eating it, I would minimise the late-morning snacking and cut calories. Instead of having breakfast at 8.30am, I would hold out until about 10am when I get too hungry and just have to eat it. But by having it a bit later, it keeps me full until lunch and stops me reaching for the sweet snacks.

6. Weigh yourself everyday

I know a lot of weight loss groups have weekly weigh-ins, but I found that weighing myself at the same time every morning and taking a weekly average was far more beneficial in tracking my weight loss. Your weight fluctuates according to what you have eaten beforehand; I would find I would be 133 pounds one morning and then 134.5 again the following day if I had, say, eaten bread the day before. That extra weight would then drop off the next day, but it will surprise you as to how much your weight will go up and down throughout the week- hence why it's better to take an average.

7. Exercise

Again, my FitBit has helped with this, but making sure you be generally active is important. You can lose weight without hitting the treadmill three times a week, but even doing some light exercise will help you on your way to burning calories and increasing the deficit. Going for a walk after work, taking a stroll on your lunch break, or getting off the bus a couple of stops early will all help.

8. Healthy baking

I love baking- it's a huge passion of mine. When it came to dieting, I thought this was going to be an issue. No more cakes, cookies and brownies keeping me busy and creative. But it doesn't have to be that way! I've started experimenting with healthy baking recipes, finding ones that work and tweaking ones that don't. My personal favourites are these chocolate protein balls (great for pre-workout) and these low calorie brownies (with frosting) which are the perfect treat without using up a huge chunk of your daily calorie allowance. I also have another brownie recipe for which I don't know the calories but they're made using healthy ingredients and they also taste delicious. These usually do the trick in satisfying my sweet tooth, but if not, I might save some of my calorie allowance for a few squares of chocolate...it's just about being aware of your serving size!

9. Weigh your food

Leading on from my point regarding serving size, I found it really useful to weigh my food. Despite having moments thinking 'why am I wasting time doing this?', it made it so much easier to log food and meant I knew exactly what I was eating and how many calories I was having. If you're going to log your calories, it's not really good enough to guess your serving size as it kind of defeats the point  of knowing how many you've had! It also made me realise that my serving sizes were probably bigger than I actually needed and generally made me more aware of how much I should be having.

Do you have any weight loss tips you want to share? 

Pretty and Polished



  1. OMG sophie you look amazeballs!! Such a good post and so glad you've been able to lose some unwanted weight. I definitely need to do some of your recipes! Weighing food is definitely a big one - especially for carbs. Can't stand courgetti myself though! Hope it's helped with your trich a bit as well, I always find doing exercise helps a bit! Xxxx

    1. Thanks lil G Bear! It's taken a lot of hard work but I think I'm finally proud of my bod! Mate courgetti is lush, what you playing at?! It hasn't helped with trich itself but it is amazing how much weights but moreso running has helped with general mental health, esp depression and general feelings of anxiety. I thought people were lying when they said it helps but it genuinely does (or did for me). Xxxx

  2. You look AMAZING! AHHH! I have a FitBit too and it has made me so much more conscious of what exercise I do everyday. I find setting goals so motivating. xx Nikita

    BLOG//Jasmine Loves

    1. Thanks Nikita! Yes, fitbits are amazing, made the whole journey so much easier!! Xx


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