Losing weight doesn’t have to be so hard.
Are you having trouble shedding excess kilos? These lifestyle changes and habits are totally doable and will motivate you to stick to those weight-loss goals. Take these small steps to start your journey to a slimmer, healthier you!
SWOP YOUR DRINKS
Instead of ordering a sweetened drink during lunch, bring along a bottle of water to quench your thirst. A typical can of soft drink contains roughly 150 calories and up to four or more teaspoons of sugar, so you’ll be cutting out unnecessary carbs. If you really can’t do without your favourite ﬁzzy drink, look for reduced sugar options and share a can with a friend.
STAND DURING YOUR COMMUTE
Instead of rushing for seats on the MRT, remain standing. It doesn’t sound like much, but standing still burns more calories than sitting. In an experiment by the BBC and researchers from the University of Chester, volunteers burnt an average of 50 extra calories for every hour they stood instead of sitting. Keep that up for three hours a day, ﬁve days a week, and that works out to an extra 39,000 calories burnt over the course of a year.
FIND A SPORT YOU ENJOY
Sign up for classes. Reserving a spot translates to commitment, and you’re less likely to skip your workout if you do so. Essentially, It’s much easier to forgo an evening run that has no strings attached compared to a pre-booked barre class.
AMP UP YOUR WORKOUT
Use heavier weights during your next strength-training sesh. You can stick to the same number of reps, but carrying heavier weights immediately forces your body to work harder. This ups your calorie burn, and you’ll score a more efficient workout. You can also increase your speed during runs. Add sprints whenever you can to get your heart rate higher. You’ll burn more calories, plus the time will go by faster.
ASK FOR LESS
Whenever you order food, make it a point to ask for less rice or noodles. This is an easy way to practise portion control. If you don’t see it, you won’t feel like you’re missing out!
DRINK WATER BEFORE YOUR MEAL
This age-old trick works. Downing a glass of water before eating ﬁlls your tummy so you don’t overeat, says research published in the journal Obesity. In a small-scale study, participants who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes before they ate their mains had better weight-loss outcomes compared to those who didn’t.
Tap your feet, wiggle your ﬁngers, shift your weight in your chair... Fidgeting – as opposed to keeping still – when you’re working at your desk can help you burn a few hundred more calories, say researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US. Think of this as your ultimate cheat code to torching more kcal per day.
HALVE THE DRESSING
Salads may sound healthy, but dousing your veggies in dressing is a sure way to increase your calorie intake without you realising it. Creamy and oily dressings pack a ton of fat, and unhealthy toppings like croutons don’t do your waistline any favours either. Ask for dressing on the side and use it judiciously.
DON’T EAT FROM THE BAG
When you open a new pack of crisps, portion out the amount you want to eat and keep the rest (out of sight!) for another day. You’re much more likely to polish off the entire bag if you eat out of it.
GO OUT & BUY YOUR GROCERIES
As convenient as it is to order all your groceries online, it’s still a good idea to head to the nearest supermarket whenever you can. You’ll get to pick the freshest produce by yourself, and you’ll be more mindful of what you put into your basket. Carrying around the load instead of pushing a trolley also gives you a mini workout.
INCREASE YOUR STEPS
Walking more is really one of the easiest things you can do to lead a healthier life. Increasing your daily step count brings with it a host of physical beneﬁts – from lowered risk of developing cardiovascular diseases to reducing your cancer odds. Invest in a steps tracker to motivate yourself, or go on an active date with your beau to move more.
TAKE MORE SELFIES
You don’t have to start spamming your social media feed with selﬁes, but taking them can be a good way for you to track – and stick to – your weight-loss efforts. In a small-scale clinical study involving 271 overweight or obese patients, those who regularly took full-body photos showing their waist-to-hip ratio were more motivated to shed kilos.
Increase your speed during runs and add sprints whenever you can. You’ll burn more calories, plus the time will go by faster.
Like actual, proper, hit-the-streets shopping. Many of us do our retail therapy online these days, but you’ll deﬁnitely burn more calories strolling than scrolling. Make a date with your girlfriends and head to town over the weekend to walk around and take advantage of the in-store sales.
You need to feel satisﬁed in order to feel full. Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has proven that distracted eaters consumed more food than the non-distracted. This means that you’re likelier to wolf down more calories when you have a meal in front of the TV or at your desk during lunch. What’s more, distracted eaters also ate more food later in the day than those who were fully present during their meals. Think about it: it’s easy to mindlessly ﬁnish a bag of chips while binge-watching Netﬂix, but you’d be less likely to do so when you concentrate on every bite.
CUT DOWN ON MEAT
Replacing meat with vegetable-based protein sources, like tofu, is an easy way to cut more calories. A review of previous scientiﬁc studies has shown that a vegetarian diet may help to boost weight loss efforts. We’re not asking you to cut out meat completely (unless you want to, of course!), but you can start with one or two meatless meals in a week.
DRINK MORE GREEN TEA
Make brewed green tea your go-to drink. Besides being great for ﬁghting cancer and reducing inﬂammation in the body, green tea has also been shown to boost your metabolism. It has compounds that help your body increase the number of calories and fat it burns. Just be sure to drink the unsweetened version of this powerhouse tea so you don’t negate its positive effects!
DON’T STARVE YOURSELF
Bid dieting goodbye. Depriving yourself of food and nutrients only sends a signal to your body that it’s starving. This makes it hold on to fat and calories, making it harder for you to achieve your weight-loss goals. You’ll also feel more tired and sluggish due to a lack of energy, which is a double whammy. Focus on eating quality meals that have a good balance of healthy carbs, protein and ﬁbre instead of cutting out food groups totally.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Don’t deprive your body of sleep. That insatiable hunger and crankiness you feel when you’re running on empty is real. In a study published in Obesity, participants who clocked less than seven hours of sleep a night had higher BMIs than those who did. The sleep-deprived were also less likely to be successful in their weight-loss efforts.
No surprises here. The term “stress eating” exists for a reason. When you’re feeling frazzled, your body’s cortisol levels soar and this can stimulate your appetite and slow down your metabolism. Keep your stress levels in check by ﬁnding an activity or hobby to calm yourself on bad days. It could be just taking a stroll after dinner with your other half, or getting lost in a good book before bedtime.
EAT LESS PROCESSED FOODS
Processed foods are often high in unhealthy trans fats, and laden with sugar and salt. Recently, the World Health Organization even classiﬁed processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen (meaning there’s enough evidence to show it causes cancer). These cheap meats not only have no nutritional value, but also contain addictive ingredients, including chemicals, that make you crave more of them. Replace ham and hotdogs with lean cuts of protein like chicken or ﬁsh; they’ll keep you fuller for longer, and you’ll be doing your body a massive favour in the long run.
BUY BLUE PLATES
Research from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab shows that people tend to put 22 percent lesser food on their plates when the hue of the plate contrasts with the colour of the food. With blue being such a striking colour, it stands out while making your food look less appetising. Blue is also a rare colour for food to have so your blue plates will always contrast with your meals.
SNAP A PICTURE OF YOUR FOOD
There might be a science behind taking pictures of your food before digging in. It’s called social media management – something millennials are on board with. The thought that your food choices are up for your followers to see increases your responsibility to adhere to diet-friendly foods in the right quantity. If you don’t have an Instagram or Facebook account, keeping a photo diary of your food also helps. Who wants to take a picture of a greasy bag of fries instead of a colourful plate of salad?
Focus on eating quality meals that have a good balance of healthy carbs, protein and ﬁbre.
CHEW FOOD SLOWER
Are you usually the fastest eater at the table? You might want to slow down because the quicker you eat, the wider your waist will be. A University of Rhode Island experiment proved that consuming food over a time period of 29 minutes made participants eat lesser calories than those who wolfed down their plate of food within nine minutes. The women who ate their food quicker also felt hungrier after the meal, which means they consumed more calories throughout the day.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING DIVYATA RAUT