Spoil your meals
Many people grow up being told not to spoil a meal by eating a snack too close to it – the idea being that you’ll enjoy mealtime more if you are hungry and that there is something wrong with not eating everything on your plate.
However, being in the habit of only eating when you are very hungry can easily lead to overeating as it takes a while for you to feel satisfied after a meal. In addition, it encourages you to eat quickly.
By eating something small such as a cracker or a piece of fruit an hour or thirty means before a main meal you will have much more control over what you consume and you will be more satisfied with a smaller portion.
Get enough sleep
Sleep impacts weight-loss in three important ways. Firstly, sleep deprivation causes prolonged stress which leads us to comfort eat and make worse dieting decisions.
Secondly, sleep is an important part of regulating metabolism so that you use energy efficiently. If you don’t get enough sleep, then your hormonal cycles don’t get a chance to fully reset each day.
Thirdly, having a bad sleeping pattern can encourage late-night snacking or skipping breakfast. A regular sleep cycle is an important element of a regular dieting plan.
Most adults will need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. To achieve this they’ll need to set a regular sleep cycle, to avoid too many stimulants like caffeine, and to get regular activity during the day.
Mix it up!
One of the hardest parts of lowering your calorie intake is potentially giving up your favorite foods, such as pizza or pasta dishes. To help make this transition easier you can take advantage of the booming substitute recipe movement going on.
Instead of a wheat pizza base you can enjoy one made from cauliflower, you can replace taco shells with lettuce, and you can use spiral-cut zucchinis instead of spaghetti. With the right seasoning and a good recipe, you can enjoy most of the same flavors that you always have done.
Take this further by replacing dairy and calorie dense sources of fat and protein with nuts, seeds, or yeast substitutes. You don’t need to go vegan or vegetarian but you can certainly use some of their innovations to lower your calorie intake.
Avoid sugar and starches
Insulin is one of the main hormones for storing fat on your body and it’s released in response to eating in order to process the nutrients you’ve consumed.
Certain food such as refined sugars and starchy carbohydrates are digested into the blood much quicker and force a huge release of insulin. Even if you aren’t consuming many calories – it can increase the rate that fat is stored on your body.
Starchy vegetables include ones such as potatoes and corn, while refined sugar includes foods such as granulated sugar, white flour, and most confectionary. You don’t necessarily need to remove these foods altogether but they shouldn’t form a staple part of your daily diet.
Try replacing these foods with leafy green vegetables, whole pieces of fruit, sugar-free substitutes, or whole foods. If you can’t picture giving up potatoes or similar starchy vegetables, then try to ensure you don’t eat them alongside calorie dense foods.
Focus on your food
How you eat can have nearly as much impact as what you eat. If you are regularly skipping breakfast, eating on-the-go, having frozen microwave meals, or gulping down a meal in front of the television, then a few small changes could make dieting easier.
By doing these things you are losing control over what you eat and you are not paying enough attention to portion control or getting satisfaction from your food.
Make eating an event that you take time out for and savor your food by eating slowly and really putting care into what you’re eating. This stops you from going back for seconds and will make dieting easier as you will enjoy the meals you eat more – even if they are lower in calories.
Good strategies for better controlling your meals involve resting cutlery down between bites, taking the time to sip a drink, and eating off a smaller plate. Eating in a dining room and making meals a more social affair can encourage you to put more effort into your meals and it will naturally slow you down.
For many people, aerobic and cardio exercise are the only forms of workout that they consider but more evidence is showing how effective resistance or strength training is for general fitness and weight-loss.
Resistance training is any activity which is designed to build muscles including free weights, using weight machines and exercises such as press-ups.
Resistance training is not always as good for burning calories because it doesn’t give you the same exhaustive full-body workout but it does increase your metabolism levels, which is equally important for weight-loss. This ensures you use all of the calories you take in efficiently.
Don’t worry about getting too buff with resistance training – that will only happen if you are intentionally training your body to look that way.
Get more active in your daily life
Exercise plays an important role in weight-loss, whether it’s burning calories, improving metabolism, or improving your general health. Nevertheless, it’s also important that you are active in your daily life so that you use up extra calories during more passive moments of the day.
It can be confusing how two people with similar lifestyles can have such dramatic weight difference and often daily activity can explain a lot. Fidgeting, walking around your home, standing up, and pacing are all activities that can add up to a considerable amount of exercise.
You needn’t take up any strange quirks but do take note if you have been stationary for too long and consider taking regular intervals where you move around in order to become more mobile and active.
If you can, then choosing to walk instead of driving or taking public transport can give you a lot of extra activity without needing to set aside as much time to exercise.
Enjoy healthy snacks
Snacking isn’t always advisable because it can be difficult to register it as having eaten and it may be adding in food that you don’t need. However, healthy snacking can be essential in making sure that you can stick comfortably to a lower-calorie diet.
Pay attention to when you naturally crave snacks so you can assign that time for a snack and you can be sure to have a healthy one at hand. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, crackers, and cereals can make for a light and enjoyable snack.
Experiment and try out a range of healthy snacks to have something to look forward to. Snacks are one of the easiest ways to add variety and excitement to your diet.
Find a diet that works for you
With so many diets out there it can be tempting to look for the one that has the best chances of helping you to lose weight. However, the best healthy diet is the one you can stick to.
It’s best to avoid fad diets and you should be aware of what you enjoy and what you will be able to put up with months. If you have a big appetite and you don’t have much time to cook, then a diet which is time intensive or isn’t going to satisfy you won’t work.
You should never dread your upcoming meals or feel that you are punishing yourself by following a healthy eating plan. Many people find that diets which are high in protein, which use flavorful but low-calories recipes, and aren’t overly restrictive are the most successful in the long term.
Plan your meals
Planning meals involves knowing which meals you are going to eat each day, what time you are going to eat, and knowing which ingredients you need to be stocked up on. Your plan needs to include snacks and shouldn’t take anything for granted; for example, you shouldn’t just assume that your breakfast and lunch don’t need planning.
Make sure it is a plan you can follow and don’t plan for meals you won’t feel like making when the time comes. Writing your plan down and telling family members about it can help to ensure you follow the plan through.
Avoid thinking about a meal plan in terms of what is healthy and instead look at making it fun by including themed nights and keep a note of what you enjoyed and what you didn’t.
Losing weight and keeping it off is a goal that is difficult to attain but with the right strategies and the right attitude it is attainable. When following any dieting advice make sure that it will work for you and will fit into your lifestyle.
Begin slowly with any dietary or exercise changes and slowly increase their progression to ensure the best chance of success. Trying to change a lifetime of eating choices in just a few weeks is an impossible task in everyday life. Slow and steady wins the race!