Trying to lose some weight is always a daunting prospect. It’s so difficult to suddenly start following strict eating plans or having long workout sessions. Just the shock of the change is sometimes enough to put you off the idea of slimming down and to give up only a few days in. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s best to start small. Changing your lifestyle just a little bit, and then another bit, and another, is how you get lasting results, according to research.
“When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time, you begin to ingrain some healthy habits that last for a lifetime, rather than trying an all-or-nothing approach that more often than not fails because it’s too hard to follow,” says Dr. Lesley Lutes from East Carolina University.
Here we have 10 tips, compiled by VT, that are sure to help you lose weight. You don’t have to apply all of them at once. Even if you choose only a couple of them, it will be enough to make a noticeable difference in just a few months.
1. Move while you’re waiting around for something
It doesn’t matter whether you’re waiting for the microwave to beep, or the commercials to finally end: get up and move around. You could go for a few lunges, or for some jogging on the spot, or simply holding a squat. All of these will activate your muscles and raise your heart rate. You can burn up to 270 calories if you move for 2 minutes to the point of getting puffed up. So don’t skip the intro of your Netflix show – use those couple of minutes more wisely.
2. After breakfast, stick to water
You can have some orange juice for breakfast, but stick to water after that. Don’t drink juice or fizzy drinks to sate your thirst, because of their high sugar content. They contain a lot of calories, but food with the same amount of calories will fill you up more. That’s why the best option is water. If you prefer a warm beverage, you can have some tea or coffee. Coffee with milk is fine, as long as you don’t add too much sugar or cream.
3. Drink more water anyway
Sometimes you think you’re hungry, but you’re actually thirsty. Your body needs some liquids, and it doesn’t care if it gets them from a nice glass of water, or from a juicy hamburger. So, if you’re starting to feel a bit peckish, drink some water and wait about 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry, go and eat. The water you drank has another role: it will make you absorb less fat from the food, and it helps with the digestion.
4. Grab a pen
People who write down everything they eat in a day consume 15% less food than those who don’t, according to a recent study. They also lose twice as much weight. If you write it down, you’ll realize how much you eat and how often. You’ll notice the different amounts of food you consume in different parts of the day, or when you’re in different moods. This practice will stop you from mindlessly eating when you aren’t that hungry. There’s even an app for this!
5. Limit high-fat foods
The most awful thing about this whole weight losing process is giving up your favourite foods. Chocolate, crisps, candy, ice cream… How can one live without them? You don’t have to! All you need is to limit how many high-fat/high-calorie foods you’re consuming. “If you’re eating six of these foods a week, try to go down to five,” says Dr. Lutes. Remove one item each week until you get down to one or two foods you can indulge in weekly.
6. Try to balance it out with 80/20
Above all you need balance. You can’t just eat healthy food and be miserable anytime your frineds are eating pizza! Stick to the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat nutricious food that is good for your health, and the other 20% eat whatever you want. Enjoy a donut, or a hamburger. Also, if you know your dinner will be large, have a smoothie for breakfast and a light lunch. If you spend a weekend indulging in feel-good food, balance it out with a healthy diet during the week.
7. Walk more
Get off the bus one stop before your destination. Carry your groceries home. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. All of these activities will burn calories and prevent you from gaining weight. You could try the 1.5km rule. Don’t use your car unless the place where you’re headed is more than 1.5km away: walk instead.
8. Sign up to E-newsletters
According to a Kaiser Permanente study, those who get weekly diet and fitness emails tend to start moving more and adopting healthier eating habits. So, signing up for a fitness website newsletter, or following accounts about healthy food on social media can contribute to improving your lifestyle.
9. Switch it up
Switch up the products you buy, it’s as simple as that. You’ll get extra fiber and nutrients if you eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking a glass of fruit juice. Don’t use creamy or sugary sauces; go for a hot one, it will improve your digestion. Replace your white bread with the grainy, wholemeal kind – the latter contains more fiber and protein, and it will fill you up quicker. When you choose your milk, go for the 2% one (it has 20% less calories than the full-fat milk), but avoid the watered down no-fat milk, because it contains sugar which is there make up for its lack of taste.
10. Eat from a smaller plate
We don’t want our plates to look empty so we load a lot of food on them. This of course is one reason why we end up eating more than we need. But if you serve your meal on a smaller plate, you can avoid consuming more food than you intended. Another good idea is to serve the meal on the plate and remove the platter from the table. It’s less likely you’ll be tempted to reach for seconds.
Try applying one of these tips, and after it becomes part of your everyday life, apply another one. Soon your new lifestyle will have yielded the results: you’ll be much healtier, and more active, and most importantly you’ll start feeling much better.