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There is absolutely no way around this – losing weight is hard work. Impossible, no. Hard. Yes. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that all that hard work actually pays off.

1. Monitor Everything.

Write down your daily calories. Pay attention to how many times you work out each week, and know the calories you’ve burned, your distances, your average work out times, how many pounds you’re able to lift, etc. Weigh yourself once a week and record your progress. Even pay attention to how much water you’re getting in every day.

Experts say this is really a no-brainer: being more aware of your weight loss habits can not only help keep you on track, it can also help you when you’re ready to re-assess and update your goals, such as increasing your running distance or lifting more weight.

There are many different tools you can use to help track all these things, such as an online app, such as My Fitness Pal, or even just recording everything in a journal.

2. Sleep.

“When you get more sleep, you’re less likely to overeat and more likely to stick to your fitness and diet program,” says Natalie Digate Muth, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. “Plus, too little sleep is linked with weight gain.”

Getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep is easier said than done, right? True, unfortunately, but it’s all comes down to establishing a routine:

  • Prepare for bed an hour before your actual bedtime by relaxing (read, take a bath, meditate, etc.)
  • Power down electronics as soon as possible before bedtime
  • Be consistent about getting in the bed at the hour you’ve decided on every day
  • Try to sleep in a completely dark and quiet room (no flashing LED lights)

3. Make It Harder To Cheat.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, how many days you work out for, or how good you’ve been bringing baked chicken breasts and sweet potatoes to work instead of eating out. There’s going to come a time that you want to munch generously on something you shouldn’t, especially if you have easy access to it.

The best way to control this? Control your surroundings.

This means:

  • Clean out your cabinets
  • Clean out your pantry
  • Clean out your desk drawers at work
  • Throw away any food you can’t trust yourself to always eat in moderation
  • Toss all junk food
  • Replace that junk food with healthier options, that, if you binge on, the damage will likely be more minimal