It’ s that one thing that we always include in our New Year’ s Resolutions list. In the beginning of every year, we always declare how ‘ this year is going to be the year that I achieve that beach body.’ But then, two weeks into it and we’ re skipping gym and stocking junk food in the pantry again. What a way to shed off the pounds, huh! By the end of the year, we always end up 10 pounds heavier.
Probably the reason why we’ re putting on the pounds instead of losing them is because we’ re setting drastic measures to lose the weight. From leading a sedentary lifestyle, we are setting goals like training for a half marathon to doing yoga 4 times a week. Possible, yes. But it definitely takes a whole lot of will power and discipline.
While all these lifestyle changes that mostly involve exercising like crazy and strictly dieting will definitely help you lose weight, the most effective ways don’ t actually have to hurt.
Here are 10 sure-fire ways to help you drop the pounds without the pain.
1. Drink a glass or two of water before every meal
Starting your meals with a glass of water will make you feel fuller right away. This way, you won’ t have the tendency to overeat. Do this regularly and notice how you are not having the urge to help yourself for a second serving.
2. Avoid drinking calories
I have often heard people complain about how they’ re not losing weight at all even when they’ re not eating a lot. I am exposed to a lot of women (and men) like this. They would have a salad but then, they would gobble up soda or worse, one glass of beer after another. If you’ re dieting this way, it’ s no wonder you’ re not getting any results. Perhaps you’ re just getting enough calories from your food intake, but the total amount of calories shoot up because of these drinks – your morning juice, soda, frappe, and alcohol. Stick to your daily H2O requirement. If you want something with flavor, put some fresh ingredients in your water such as lemon, cucumber, orange, or mint.
3. Control your food portions and stick to it
One reason why we end up eating more than what we intend to is because we’ re not managing our food portions. This most especially happens when we’ re snacking. How many times have we eaten chips straight from the bag or popcorn from the tub? I know how difficult it is to skip snacking on these foods. We don’ t have to quit them cold turkey. We can still enjoy them when the occasion calls for it, like movie night or a once a month house party with friends. But the best way to do it is to measure them and use smaller plates, then put the rest out of your sight. The same goes when your having full meals. Lastly, as oppose to what your mothers told you, it’ s not a sin to have leftovers.
4. Don’ t go hungry too long
Some say that one factor that causes weight gain is that people eat even when they’ re not hungry. This is actually the idea behind Intermittent Fasting. While a little hunger doesn’t hurt and can actually be good for you, starving yourself is a whole different story. Some deliberately starve themselves to be able to make up for it in the evening with a deadly dessert, a bucket of beer, or a platter of junk. This is a self-sabotage; don’ t fall into the trap. It’ s still better to eat meals and snack on a timely manner to prevent your blood sugar levels from plummeting then leading you to crash.
5. Choose food that are high-protein and high-fiber for snacking
It’ s been repeatedly said that snacking is good for you. It may be true, but if you’ re going for empty-calories like chips and crackers in between meals, I don’ t see how it’ s going to help you lose the weight. For snacks, it’ s better to go for foods that are rich in both protein and fiber. These foods will fill you up immediately, and they taste good too, instead of those bland crackers. Leave those to the babies. I mean, do you seriously think those are better than yogurt, nuts, and edamame? Of course not!
6. Go for healthier alternatives
Making simple swaps can make a huge difference in your diet. Whenever you’ re tempted to eat something that’ s unhealthy and packed with so much empty calories, always think, “what’ s a better substitute to this?” For instance, for lunch, you’ ve decided to have a salad instead of your usual mac ’ n cheese. This is a good start. Now, go further and skip the Thousand Island dressing and opt for a vinaigrette. For your morning cereal bowl, use fresh fruits instead of those dried ones full of preservatives.
7. Eat a light, early dinner
Instead of going hungry for the whole day to be able ti “splurge” during dinner, do it the other way around. Make sure that your dinner takes only about 25 percent of you daily calorie requirement. Having an early dinner is also great as it helps your body to function better. After dinner, allot at least two to three hours before going to bed. Pigging out late at night then sleeping right away will cause digestion problems and sleep issues. This will mess up your body and you won’ t be able to function at your best the following day.
8. Get more sleep
There has been studies linking sleep deprivation to obesity. It’ s a fact that sleep is necessary to be able to perform out daily activities. If you haven’ t slept sufficiently, you will feel lethargic the whole day, causing you to eat more throughout the day. Lack of energy will make you cancel on your coach or skip the treadmill altogether. In addition, instead of preparing some healthy dinner at home, you will be tempted to have some takeout from the fast food. Sleeping well and enough will surely help you get on track of your fitness goals.
9. Get moving
Some people are just really allergic to the gym or a structured exercise routine, while others really don’ t have the time. Yet, this doesn’t mean that you can’ t do anything to get your body moving. Try to exert more effort to move a bit more throughout the day to help burn calories. If you have a desk job, take breaks once in a while and walk around the office. You may also choose a farther lunch spot and walk all the way to there. Other simple steps to exercise your muscles and joints are choosing the stairs rather the elevator and parking a bit farther from the entrance.
10. Indulge in a piece of dark chocolate for dessert
Sugar cravings are real. Don’ t let people tell you it’ s imaginary or it’ s all in the mind. But it doesn’t mean that you have to respond to your cravings like a madwoman. Instead of having a slice of cake, addictive cookies, or any of those fad desserts like cronuts, why not satisfy your cravings with a piece of dark chocolate? It may not guarantee the same satisfaction like what these other sugar-filled desserts promise you, but the bittersweet decadence actually grows on you. In the end, you’ ll be glad you have saved calories while still having a healthy and enjoyable treat.