7 Weight-Loss Tips That Work, As Told By Someone Who Lost 20 Pounds

I've been an athlete my entire life, but I also loved my sweets just as much as my physical activities.

I believed I could have a dream body by eating whatever I wanted and “working it off” because I was so active. That doesn't happen IRL. Turns out it was just a dream world that I'm still trying to find.

Nonetheless, losing weight and keeping it off is still a possibility, as I lost 18 lbs and two dress sizes within four months. A nice six-pack made its appearance also -- an accessory I thought to be just as elusive as a Hermés Birkin Bag.

But after getting selected to fight in a charity boxing event, I had four months to train to be a fighter and cut down to a specific weight. The results came in; I won my first amateur boxing fight, lost 18 lbs and two dress sizes.

These tips helped me shed some major lbs, so consider adding these to your new healthy routine.

Set Little Goals to Attain the Major Goal

I like to eat. A lot. Good food just makes me really happy, and yes, I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty fast metabolism, but I definitely realized I was getting more cushion around my curves than I preferred.

That being said, I realized I couldn't just cut out all of my favorite naughty foods right away, or lose all my excess weight overnight.

Setting small goals makes them attainable.

I set little goals for myself throughout my training. Whether it's going a week without ice cream, doing 10 more push-ups than the day before or losing those first five pounds, the small goals are what kept me sane.

Seeing progress in small ways will make the big goal much easier to attain and not want to rip your hair out.

Drink Water -- A lot of Water

The first few pounds flew off my waistline quicker than I used eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's in college. (Maybe not, since I used to eat a pint in one sitting, but you get the idea.)

In fact, I lost six pounds within the first two weeks of training. However, I found myself plateauing when I needed to lose another 10 pounds to reach my goal weight.

It wasn't until one of my closest friends, Juice Carson, who is an Eclipse 1on1 trainer and Stellar Bodies instructor in Atlanta, gave me advice that change the entire game, “Sammy, I need you to drink a gallon of water a day. It's going to suck the first few days, but you'll flush out your body and you'll see the weight drop.”

He was right. Sure, I looked like a total meathead carrying around a gallon of water, and I had to know where the closest bathroom was at all times. But it was worth it seeing the number on the scale drop.

Now drinking a gallon of water is an after-thought and now part of my daily routine.

Protein is Your Friend

Incorporating some type of protein into every meal was essential to losing my weight because it helped build lean muscle.

I became a huge fan of fried eggs with wheat toast in the morning. Sometimes I would go to bed excited to wake up to eat my breakfast (lame, I know), but it worked.

Chicken and salmon were my two staple proteins for lunch and dinner. A nice steak made its way into the mix because let's be real, sometimes you just need a nice juicy steak and nothing else will suffice.

Pack Snacks

I'm a snacker, stress-eater and have been known to be a binge-eater. You name it, I've probably done it.

If there's candy in front of me, then forget it; no one else is having candy because I've already eaten it all.

When I was training, I made sure to pack healthy snacks to avoid temptation. Apples and peanut butter became my favorite treat and bell peppers were always near by.

According to several of my friends, snacking on peppers is apparently kind of weird, but I enjoyed it and they enjoyed making fun of me for my “healthy candy.”

It was a win-win for everyone.

Treat Yourself

Don't be afraid to treat yourself. I started to recognize when something was a true craving or if I was just bored. Eat clean for the majority of time, but don't beat yourself up if you give in to a bowl of ice cream or eat a burger.

We're all human and we have needs. Sometimes those needs consist of a little sugar, butter and carbs or all of the above.

Weigh Yourself

I'd be lying if I said I never stepped off the scale wiping away tears. In fact, I've done it quite a bit. Yes, the scale was my worst enemy at the beginning of training, but it soon became my best friend because it showed my progress.

Numbers don't lie, so getting on the scale at least once a week at the same time is vital to understanding one's weight loss journey. Hopping on the scale becomes less scary and more vindicating, I promise.

You have one body and life so be kind to Yourself

My boxing trainer hated talking about my weight, as did I, but weight is a major part of the sport.

You are worth more than a number on a scale.

He only hated it because he knew it was always a point of contention with myself, but his advice to me during training stayed with me forever, “You are worth more than a number on a scale.”

I was always my biggest critic, but it wasn't until I truly believed his words that I was I able to see progress, not just in losing weight, but also cherishing myself and loving my body. So be kind to yourself- you'll thank yourself later.