5 Back to Basics Weight Loss Tips

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5 Back to Basic Weight Loss Tips

I know many of you are waiting for me the "Rules" I mentioned a few posts ago. I’ve been thinking of them for sometime but so much of what I do is intuitive now it’s hard for me to collect my overall approach. That being said these are my 5 back to basics tips. I plan on getting more into details about my specific food choices but in my experience most people know what to eat (or what not to,) it’s just a matter of making the right choices on a consistent basis. These tips may help.

1. Food Journal the WHY
Nothing goes in the mouth you aren’t willing to write in the journal, And you better know why you are eating it! That’s the philosophy. When you are actively trying to lose weight food journaling is invaluable. It helps me pause before finishing food from the toddlers plate or grabbing a handful of Dorritos from the husbands bag because if I do, I’m going to have to write it. And if I write it what will I put in the "why" column? "Because it was there" is not a good enough reason to sabotage my goals.
2. Breakfast. Always!
Breakfast sets the tone for the day. I’m not going to tell you it revs your metabolism or quote some study about how important it is. That’s not what it’s about for me. Eating breakfast is symbolic. It’s about taking a moment to remind myself that I’m worth an extra 10 minutes to make an egg or warm a bowl of oatmeal. Life is so go go go, take time in the morning to breath and nourish yourself before all the craziness starts. It helps to have go-tos. For me it’s eggs, oatmeal or a smoothie. Of course every now and then I get creative but having consistent go-tos takes the guess work out of it.
3. No Snacks out of a Box or Bag
That’s pretty broad but it’s my way of saying "avoid processed foods." My pantry is a death trap. With a husband and 2 boys I have lots of grab-able temptations that seduce me when hungry, but when I’m activity trying to lose weight I skip the pantry and go for fruit, carrots sticks, yogurt, leftovers or make something like english muffin pizza. I’ve learned the act of preparing or making something is ultimately more satisfying then grabbing a quick processed snack every time.
4. Go To Bed Hungry
I may get some flak on this one but it works for me. When I go to bed on an empty stomach I feel great the next day. Light, energetic, ready to "break my fast" with one of my healthy go-tos. Alternatively, the morning after a binge or late night mindless munch I feel bloated, sluggish and really hungry the next morning which usually results in me eating something I regret or skipping breakfast all together. Starting the negative cycle all over again. It comes down to momentum and one night of snack skipping tips the scales in a positive (or do I mean negative?) direction.
5. Make Moving a Conscious Decision Daily
It’s not how many miles you run or how many hours you spend at the gym. It’s about making the conscious decision every day to do SOMETHING active. That may mean a walk today and a game of touch football tomorrow. It may be a run in the morning or a hike on the weekend. How about a day with the kids at a skating rink or a swim at the local pool. Every day find some way to move. Make it a non-negotiable and you may be surprised where it takes you.

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There are 37 comments so far.


    July 3, 2012

    Good rules. I have noticed the same thing about going to bed hungry. It works great for me. If I am full when going to bed I don’t even sleep well.

    maria @ mim

    July 3, 2012

    I 100% agree with all of them–especially going to bed hungry. Another one I personally try to follow is keeping it lean and green at dinner (protein+veggie) unless I’m doing a long run the next day, then I add in carbs. :)


    July 3, 2012

    Not having time to talk or think about food/eating all the time should be on there. If your focused on food all the time…well, then it becomes a disorder and not re-fueling after work/working out.


    July 3, 2012

    I like the going to bed hungry too. Also I always to try to be hungry before every meal! Seems silly, but countless times I eat meals just because it time for it, not because of hunger…. If I have not over eaten the meal before I should just be geting hungry when the next meal rolls around!


    July 3, 2012

    I totally agree on the going to bed hungry thing, for me just stopping eating early in the evening and “closing the kitchen down” is HUGE. Great rules thanks for sharing!


    July 3, 2012

    Great intuitive basics. I read them and kept saying “I totally agree and she’s totally right!” The one thing I haven’t done before is taking the time to document the “why” in the food journal. Gonna try it!


    July 3, 2012

    Flak. You may catch flak for this. Not slack. Slack is what you SHOULD get, because it’s a perfectly sensible rule.

    That is all.


    July 3, 2012

    That’s interesting about going to bed hungry. I know that whenever I try it, I toss and turn and eventually cave to the hunger, but maybe it’s about waiting that out. But, also I was thinking that I often delay breakfast for few hours because I don’t like to work out on a full stomach. Do you have one of your omelets before your work out?


    July 3, 2012

    Thanks Jes! Off to edit! :)


    July 3, 2012

    RG – I rarely eat before my workout. Breakfast is always after unless I know it’s going to be particularly grueling then I may grab a banana before.


    July 3, 2012

    I feel better if I go to bed slightly hungry, too. But if my stomach is growling and I can’t sleep, I’ll have a few almonds or something to calm it down. I never can sleep well with a FULL stomach, at all!

    Holly James

    July 3, 2012

    I know what you mean Lyn, I used to get stomach growls keeping me awake at night but a little healthy snack tends to tide things over. Although I recently found that if I have my meal 2 hours before I go to bed then that seems to work perfectly, I don’t feel too full or too empty. All these tips are fantastic, I especially like 1 and 2. It’s important to take time for you and prepare yourself for the day. And as for putting a why column in the journal, that’s simply genius, there’s no point lying to yourself.


    July 3, 2012

    thank you so much for the rules. You open my eyes.
    thank you again.


    July 3, 2012

    I have what i call “eating concepts” that have been working for me for years.. it’s just guidelines i have felt really work for me to maintain the weight i want to be.. Mostly they are .. 1. concentrate on eating protein, veggies, fruit (mostly lower sugar varieties) ,and very little starches. 2. Very little processed foods (think thin protein bars are my weakness though). 3. very low sugar intake 4. try to not eat within 3 hours of going to bed (this one makes a big difference for me) 5. Always choose fat over starches, and rarely eat foods that are starches with fat …worse combination for your weight loss efforts! I think if more people had eating guildlines instead of always trying to go on a diet and off a diet, they would have more success and not always be thinking about trying to lose weight… even if it is just a few guildlines that they can be consistent with.


    July 3, 2012

    I think those are good goals. For me, I’d add “BE HONEST” with myself. “Estimating” calories or not being honest about the nibbles and bites doesn’t help me!


    July 3, 2012

    Hi. I really like what you wrote today.

    I went to bed hungry last night:I was just not that hungry at supper. Maybe because of the weather, I don’t know.

    This morning, I went jogging and it fell so good. It was my best performance ever.

    I have to stop writing because I am going for a long walk!!!

    Thank you for these tips and have a good day.



    July 3, 2012

    I love the idea of adding “why” to the journal!!!!


    July 3, 2012

    I have been tracking my food for about 6 weeks, but just the food, not the why. Then I visited a nutritionist and she’s going to be checking in on my food logs so I started blogging the “why” at first as a way to justify what i was eating, but then realized that it would help me, too!

    I also go to bed hungry, not because I haven’t given my body what it needs, but because I’ve given it time to digest.

    Love all of the tips. Breakfast is something that I never miss now. :)


    July 3, 2012

    I love these. I always go to bed just a little hungry. I’ve read that it gives your body 100% rest. Digesting food doesn’t allow the body to rest, and it needs restful sleep for health. I think I need to incorporate # 3 as I’ve been experiencing issues with snacks at work that come out of the bag or box. I need to post it on my board next to my desk!


    July 3, 2012

    Great tips Roni.

    I agree with going to bed a little hungry is OK. I’ve been saying to myself after my last bite of dinner “the kitchen is closed” and I imagine a rope cutting off the kitchen and it works!

    Hope G.

    July 3, 2012

    I am just learning to go to bed hungry but it really is important. I also try not to eat within 3 hours of bed but with a busy life that one is more difficult.


    July 4, 2012

    Great tips!!! Simple and to the point! I am going to print them and put them on my bathroom mirror as a reminder :) Thank you for the motivation! It really IS this simple, and not THAT hard!

    Great! i am watching the comments of you all and being inspired a lot for reducing my weight also!
    Thanks to all of you!

    I love your tips, and for the most part, I follow all of them. Breakfast is a definite! I never EVER go a morning without my smoothies. I also ALWAYS go to bed hungry…always! I agree with you about waking up in a better mood, not feeling bloated, feeling lighter. Still working on the snacks and food journaling. I just joined a gym not that long ago, so have been making exercise more of a priority.


    July 4, 2012

    I can’t go to bed hungry or I can’t sleep, so I have a small snack each night…lately it has been 1/2 cup of All-Bran. Seems to trick my body into being full for the night. :0)


    July 4, 2012

    This list is one of the best ‘back to basics’ I’ve seen in a long, long time. I love the feeling of waking up after a night of not caving to hunger. It’s funny that I usually don’t even wake up hungry. My second fave is ‘no snacks out of a bag or box’. I haven’t heard it put like that before but it’s so true – unless, of course, you’re munching on pre-sliced jicama out of a bag like I did yesterday! :)


    July 5, 2012

    I have to add my comments to the “go to bed hungry” debate. Personally, I find that I do best if I don’t let myself get hungry. If I’m hungry, and I’m intentionally not eating and letting myself be hungry, I start to feel like this deprived, martyr kind of person, which leads to a binge. But I think the key here is to know yourself. I know that if I never let myself get hungry, I do a much better job of sticking to a clean eating plan. Others might do better another way. You’ve got to know what works for you.

    By the way, I do love the tip of adding “why” to the food journal. I’ve tracked my food intake for years on end, and I never thought to add “why.”


    July 5, 2012

    Linda I totally agree with you in the too hungry during the day. That ALWAYS backfires for me and leads to binges but the right before bed thing seems to be my key. If I just start to feel hungry and I go to bed in stead of ear, that’s when I feel best the next morning but I totally agree with you, everyone has to figure out what works for them.

    Agree 100% will these rules!! Great post!! We just need the willpower to do them!

    I can do all 5 of these things today!


    July 7, 2012

    Too much thinking and talking about FOODFOODFOODFOOD!!!
    Do something else! Talk about something else! No wonder women have weight issues!


    July 7, 2012

    And you spend too much time trolling blogs. Do something else and stop wasting YOUR time.


    July 10, 2012

    You are such an inspiration. I was wondering if you could recommend a free food journal that is available online. I used to write everything down in a notebook but have gotten out of that habit and think doing something online might make me want to start again. I am not very computer savvy though. Thanks.


    July 10, 2012

    Thanks Sue! I used to use but I know spark people is also pretty popular.


    July 11, 2012

    Gotta love the ”WHY” column on the journal :). I think the simplest thing to do to avoid temptation would be to get rid of all junk food/snacks from your house!


    Darrin Fletcher

    April 8, 2015

    Great tips! Your blog will help me a lot. You’ve taught me a lot with your guide. Thanks for the useful post.

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