We’ve all been there – getting weight loss advice from EVERYONE – your colleague says you need to cut out carbs; your gym buddy tells you the secret to losing weight is to stop eating after 7 p.m; then your Facebook friend swears she’ll be in swimsuit shape by March if she only eats once a day; and lastly your skinny best friend, well, she puts on no weight no matter what she eats (and she will eat everything in sight!)
But do any of these tips really work? To help you shed those extra pounds—and keep them off—without starving yourself, ditching your social life, or eating only at odd times of the day, here are some real-world expert advice you can actually live with, day in and day out. And to keep your weight off for good.
1. Reduce your portions
You can’t even think of losing weight if you don’t let go of your large plate. It’s plain common sense – reducing the size of your plate means eating less, and eating less means fewer calories. Usually, when we are dining, we tend to eat more than what is required – a terrible habit most of us have unknowingly cultivated.
Cut the portions in half and ensure you are choosing smaller portions. A study conducted at The Pennsylvania State University talks about research that has shown the relation between large portions and obesity.
2. Don’t Eat In Front Of The Television
Merging television time with your dining time can lead to mindless eating. You tend to focus on what’s happening on the television screen, and become unaware of what’s going inside your mouth and stomach. And, ultimately, you end up overeating. Eat at the dining table, and focus on your food. This helps you become aware of what you are eating, and you will only eat as much as you require.
3. Eat Until Just Before You’re Full
You must start eating before you feel too hungry, and stop before you are full. This is because when we starve, we tend to eat more than we actually should – and that spells disaster. This is the reason people who starve themselves to lose weight only end up gaining more. Remember to eat slowly and not when you are starving. Also, remember to end your meal just before you are about to be satisfied and let that burp out. Post that, drink a glass of water and you will be fine.
4. Get Good Sleep
Your sleeping patterns have a lot to do with your weight. Lack of adequate sleep can eventually lead to weight gain. Here’s how– you feel tired since you didn’t sleep properly the previous night. As a result, you might be tempted to skip exercise the next day or any other regular activity that involves physical movement. And to make things worse, you are tired at your workplace, and tend to grab a pack of chips or a donut to get an instant burst of energy. And there you go – you have just created the recipe for disaster.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those individuals who got inadequate sleep were prone to late-night snacking. They were also more likely to choose high-carb snacks. Another study had revealed that sleeping too little can prompt someone to have bigger portions of foods. So, just get 8 hours of sleep a day.
5. Follow The 80/20 Rule
Discipline yourself to eat only organic and healthy food 80 percent of the time. And the remaining 20 percent? Yes, you can reserve that for your favorite junk. This way, you can binge less and control yourself when you feel like binging.
6. Always Maintain A Positive Attitude (Stress Less)
Believe it or not, how you think does affect your health in ways you can’t imagine. Maintain a positive outlook throughout, and always say to yourself that you are healthy and active. Most don’t understand, but what you do to yourself can have a dramatic impact on your mind, and ultimately, on your life. Reduce stress and learn not to take everything too seriously.
7. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Veggies
You would have already come across this a number of times. Fruits and vegetables play a vital role in weight management and health maintenance. One major factor that can contribute to weight loss is consuming foods low in energy density (the amount of calories per gram of food). Fruits and vegetables, in their natural state, contain plenty of water and fiber (two essentials that result in a decrease in calories and energy density). Most importantly, the abundance of water and fiber can make you feel full, thereby discouraging overeating or binging on junk. In one American study, it was established that there was a link between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and increased weight and fat loss.
8. Cut Sugar From Your Food
Sugar must be the last thing you should think of if you want to lose weight. Or probably, it must be something you should not think of at all in the first place. In a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, it was found that consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar can cause weight gain in women. Another study had discouraged the consumption of sugar for a healthy lifestyle (11). According to the University of California, San Francisco, sugar can be worse than fat when it comes to harmful health effects.
9. Drink Green Tea
Health experts across the world vouch for green tea for a reason – it is amazingly healthy. Green tea is known to boost the calorie-burning mechanism in our body. According to a study, green tea can indeed help you lose weight (you might have to drink about seven decaf cups a day). Green tea contains loads of antioxidants, the most potent of them being the catechins that have been found to boost metabolism and reduce body fat.
10. Load Up on Vitamin C
We would be saying nothing new when we talk about the unmatchable goodness of vitamin C. But still we say it because most of us don’t realize it. It is not unwise to consider vitamin C as one of the ideal nutrients for weight loss. The fruits that are replete with vitamin C, like oranges, grapes, kiwis, etc., maintain your health and stop you from binging. They make you feel full without adding too many calories. Vitamin C also helps in fat burning, which ultimately leads to weight loss.
11. Avoid Crispy, Creamy, Cheesy
We know that’s a hard nut to crack, but crack it you must. A big no to sauces, fried foods, and high-calorie eats. Does that sound too difficult? Well, you can take some creative steps to keep those unhealthy foods out of your way. You can skip the cheese while having sandwiches. Refrain from adding mayonnaise or butter while you are cooking something at home. Lemon and pepper make a great combination for zest. And yes, coming to soups, ditch the creamy ones and embrace the broth-based ones. Creamy and cheesy foods are possibly one of the best sources of saturated fats, and hence, carry the recipe for self-destruction. They increase bad cholesterol and make you vulnerable to heart disease. Above all, they cause obesity.
12. Eat Good Fats
Hold on right there if you thought fats were bad. Because no, they are not. Not all. Fats, just like the other nutrients, are essential to keep the body functioning at the optimum level. They keep your skin and hair healthy, and also help absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K (also called the fat-soluble vitamins).
The trick lies in differentiating the good fats from the bad. Sources of good fats include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, avocados, and walnuts. These are beneficial in many ways, some of which include keeping the heart healthy, preventing arthritis, dementia, and depression. Most important, good fats have also been found to contribute to healthy weight loss.
13. Drink Plenty of Water
Nothing new here, again. This is something we have been learning right from school. If you are serious about losing weight, drinking a minimum of two to three litres of water must be your everyday goal. Make it a habit of drinking a glass of water before (to prevent overeating) and after (to aid digestion) a meal. It has been found that people who drink more water and less of soda or other high-calorie beverages would be more successful in losing weight. Numerous American studies have also backed the efficacy of water in aiding in healthy weight loss.
14. Exercise In The Morning
Well, there is honestly nothing wrong with exercising in the evening. But exercising in the morning has its own advantages. According to research, morning exercise improves the quality of sleep at night. This, eventually, could also promote weight loss.
15. Lift More Weights
If there is any smart way of losing body fat, it is lifting weights. Weightlifting burns body fat and helps build lean muscles; it also is effective in reducing belly fat. More muscle means quicker metabolism – something that every individual who wants to lose weight must aim for.
16. Move More To Burn More
Extra is always good, isn’t it? You can burn a few extra calories every day by doing a few quick and easy exercises. Simply walk a mile within 20 minutes or clean your house for 30 minutes. All such activities can help burn calories.
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