23 Jan 2018
When it comes to weight loss, it’s the little things that can really add up
When it comes to weight loss, it’s the little things that can really add up to make a big difference. Think "diet" and you might assume it requires a radical revamp of your life or misery-inducing restrictions. But when it comes to lasting weight loss, research shows you’re better off making small, consistent changes rather than aiming for a major diet or lifestyle overhaul. The key is that the changes are practical and sustainable so that you can permanently adopt them into your everyday life.
To help shed pounds, without making any huge changes, follow these easy habits for weight-loss success. I need to improve on the last one!
1. It is a proven theory that we eat less when we use smaller dinnerware. The theory is that our eyes get tricked into thinking we are eating more because our plate is full, making the food portions look bigger. The result: we are satisfied with less food. Try eating your meals on salad plates instead of larger dinner plates.
2. Change the way you eat by holding your fork with your non-dominant hand to slow you down. Eating slower helps you consume fewer calories without you even realising it.
3. Drink up! You’ve probably heard it before but this is one diet-friendly adage that’s tried and tested, so start hydrating. Drinking 2 cups of water before eating a meal can help you lose weight. The water helps you feel full sooner, so you eat less and in turn weigh less.
4. You know the phrase "out of sight, out of mind"? Not what you want when it comes to eating more fruits and vegetables. Produce delivers lots of nutrients but not a lot of calories. Plus, it’s packed with fibre, which helps fill you up. Don’t shove your beautiful apples to the back of the produce drawer, or bury your carrots under your other groceries. Instead, bring the fruits and vegetables front and centre in your refrigerator and out in your kitchen. Try keeping fruit like bananas and oranges on the counter in a fruit bowl where they’ll be in plain sight. You’ll also be more likely to reach for diet-friendly fruits and veggies if they’re ready for easy snacking. Wash and slice celery, peppers and other delicious produce, and then pack them in bags so you can easily grab them for a quick and healthy treat.
5. Don’t banish all your favourite foods. Doing so may lead to failure. A drastically limited diet is not sustainable, and feeling deprived may eventually cause you to overeat. Savouring a small treat daily really won’t sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Keep the treats small, aim for about 150 calories or less. Try savouring two squares of dark chocolate, a ½ cup of ice cream or one small glass of wine. This is one habit most of us can stick with for the long haul.
6. Food Diary. Mindlessly munching on a bag of crisps could result in easily polishing off the whole thing; write down how much you've eaten and you're more likely to practice portion control and see how to lose weight fast. Keeping a food log helps control extra calories in two ways: the combination of a plain old reality check (I just ate 30 minutes ago!) and awareness that what you're putting in your mouth will soon be recorded for posterity. People who keep a food journal generally lose twice as much weight as those who don't when combining it with a moderate diet and exercise plan. Writing it all down also gives you insight into your eating habits. Do you skip meals? Eat the same during the week as on the weekend? Binge when you're feeling stressed? Knowing your routine helps you figure out what changes are right for you.
7. Get moving during your favourite TV programme. Skip, dance, go up and down some stairs, run in place anything that gets your heart rate up so you feel somewhat breathless. Do it for each 2-minute advert break during a typical 2-hour TV night and you could burn an extra 270 calories a day which can translate to a 28-pound weight loss in a year.
8. Eat fruit and veg - don't drink them. Skip juice and eat the whole fruit, instead. You’ll not only get more heart-healthy fibre in your diet (3.5 g for a small apple versus 0.5 g in a glass of juice), you’ll also stay satisfied, longer. Liquid carbohydrates just aren’t as filling as solids. When you chew a food, you generate more saliva, which in turn carries a message to the brain that your gut needs to get ready for digestion. Drinking doesn’t require such digestion, so the body doesn’t register that it’s full as quickly. Plus there are the extra calories, 48% more if you’re drinking that juice rather than eating the whole apple. (Do that daily and you may gain up to 4 pounds by the end of the year.)
9. Sleep! Make a point of going to bed earlier and you’ll see weight loss within a week. Even just a few nights of sleep deprivation can lead to almost immediate weight gain. When your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess", insulin is disturbed and effects the body's ability to break down fat cells. You are also more inclined to eat more!