12 tips on how to lose weight
Fad diets seem to have taken over healthy-eating for quite a while now, but it seems like their reign is finally over. These diets seem to do the trick in the short run, but the fact of the matter is: you’re depriving your body of whole food groups and valuable nutrition in the process.
Rather than rely on gimmicks and quick fixes, that do nothing for you in the long run, follow these 12 steps to successfully manage your weight. These tips will not only help you lose weight, but make lifestyle changes that will enable you to maintain your weight and create new goals for yourself.
1. Start by fixing your diet
Follow a healthy diet by adding plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean sources of protein and legumes. Include fish, poultry, other lean meats, and low-fat or skimmed dairy foods, so you can add all food groups to your diet. In addition, you should aim for 20-35 grams of fiber a day from plant foods, such as oats or fruit, to help you feel fuller and slow the absorption of carbs.
Eliminate as many refined grains, sugary foods, and snacks high in saturated and trans fats. Avoid eating fast food and items which provide empty calories.
2. Keep an eye on portions
Eat all the broccoli and spinach you want, but for high-calorie foods, portion control is essential. Check food labels for serving sizes—some relatively small packages contain more than one serving, so if you intend to eat the entire pack, you’ll have to consider the calories, fat and sugar you’ll be consuming. The rule of thumb is you’d generally fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Grains and protein should each take up about a quarter of the plate.
3. Eat mindfully
Aside from adding healthy elements to your diet, turn each meal into an experience. We mean don’t eat in front of the TV, while working in front of the computer, driving or while taking a phone call. Think about when and how much you’ll be eating, give attention to every bite and learn to savour healthy food. You’ll find that, in the long run, you’ll stop snacking at random times and control your portions.
4. Eat slow and chew well
Eating slowly allows more time for satiety signals to reach the brain, so slow eaters tend to feel more full and eat less. The process of chewing may also stimulate satiety signals. So, eating slowly will make you more aware of the smell, taste, and texture of food, leading to greater satisfaction with fewer calories.
5. Don’t rely on willpower
A change in lifestyle works a whole lot better than willpower. Control your food intake and diet so that you don’t overfill your plate, eat excess calories and eat when you’re not hungry. Try to change your routine a little bit to help with your diet; for instance, avoid passing your favourite food outlets and restaurants, and avoid snacking at the office between meals.
Use smaller plates, bowls and utensils to control meal portions and avoid going for seconds, unless they’re low calorie foods. When snacking, use small bowls; don’t eat from large bags or packages.
6. Go for volume
Avoid high calorie foods and swap them with foods that contain fewer calories when compared to their weight and volume. This way, you’re likely to feel full after consuming fewer calories. In general, the best way to lower your calorie intake is to eat more foods that have a high water and fiber content (like fruits, vegetables, and cooked whole grains) instead of low-moisture and high-fat foods (like cheese, cookies, and chips). Incorporate more of these foods in recipes, and add more vegetables to your soups, pasta and other dishes.
7. Get adequate protein
Foods high in protein are a lot more satisfying than those high in carbohydrates. Protein also helps limit muscle loss during weight loss. According to research, distributing your protein intake throughout the day, rather than eating it in one meal, helps in weight-loss. Look for sources of lean protein or those also rich in healthy fats.Higher-protein diets that include at least 25 grams of protein at each meal may reduce appetite and eventually body weight, compared with lower-protein diets.
8. Don’t skip meals and eat healthy snacks
Going longer hours without food will actually increase the likelihood of overeating later. Instead, eat 5 meals (including two snacks between main meals) to prevent feeling lethargic and eating unhealthy foods. Figure out a meal plan that works for you so that you eat at fixed intervals. A few options for healthy snacks are apples or bananas with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with chopped fruit, chopped veggies with low-cal hummus or low fat turkey slices on toast.
9. Follow these rules when dining out
Know a restaurant that includes calorie listings on their menu? Opt for that instead. Restaurants that list calories are more likely to stick to the stated amounts and avoid packing on lots of fats and carbs. Share appetizers, include a salad and opt for grilled or steamed foods. If grilled or steamed options are unavailable, speak to your server about low-calorie options or dishes that are prepared with less butter, oil and other high- calorie ingredients like cheesy sauces. When ordering a salad, ask for the dressing on the side so you can control the quantity that is used. Avoid deep fried food, pasta dishes (unless brown pasta is an option, and rice dishes (especially those that are cooked using oil).
10. Indulge in moderation
Let’s face it: we’re only human and the chances of you indulging every now and then are definitely there. While this is fine, the key is moderation, meaning that it shouldn’t turn into a daily or even monthly occurrence. This way you avoid losing your progress or packing on the calories in one meal. Foods high in fat or sugar are generally considered satisfying by most people since they activate your body’s nervous system reacts to it as pleasure. Treating yourself occasionally is fine since going without them for prolonged periods of time could lead to binge-eating. So the bottom line is: a treat every now and then is fine as long as it doesn’t drastically affect your calorie intake.
11. Sleep well
Believe it or not, sleeping actually helps your body tremendously when it comes to weight management. The optimal amount of sleep generally varies from person to person depending on their gender, age, lifestyle and other factors. However, according to research, poor sleep habits have been linked to weight gain since it affects fat storage, food intake and other factors like your body’s metabolism.
12. Realistic goals and non-scale victories
Just as weight gain piles up and takes time, shedding excess weight takes time. Losing 5 or 6 kilos every week isn’t realistic. Remember, it’s not a race. The key is consistency- losing 3 kilos a month could result in an overall weight-loss of over 30 kilos after a year of lifestyle changes. So don’t give up, stop focusing too much on the scale, and give your body time to adjust. Another helpful tip is to take pictures during our weight-loss journey and come up with non-scale goals, like dropping a few inches, fitting in an outfit that didn’t before or running further than you’re used to. Weight-loss should be a lifestyle change that doesn’t result in additional source of stress, but is rather an escape and a reason to be happy; enjoy the journey! Lost only a kilo this month? Be happy about it, because you’re that much closer to your goal.