Being a healthy weight isn’t about starving or restricting. It’s about finding a balance and being happy in your skin. These tips are for women like me who hate fad diets and stupid restrictions that make you miserable and don’t last anyway. I have a little extra to get rid of and I don’t want to be miserable getting there!
I hate fancy diets. We’ve all tried them and they are a complete pain and the results NEVER last anyway. They are either mind-numbingly complicated or so restricted that lettuce is just about the only thing you can eat safely. Who has the energy, I ask you? Especially if you’re eating nearly nothing.
I think the word “diet” should be struck from the weight loss dictionary. It’s not a diet thing, it’s a lifestyle issue. It’s about being smart about your choices and keeping a balance. It sounds simple but we all need a little help from time to time. I do!
Here are a heap of simple, common sense ways that you can keep the extra pounds from piling on and maybe get rid of a few that snuck up on you when you weren’t looking!
- Life is too short to miss out on eating nice things. Divide food into three categories Always, sometimes and rarely.
– Always: Eat healthy, nutritious foods every day. Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean meats etc. They are your staples.
– Sometimes: Eat the more calorific foods occasionally during the week instead of every day. Foods like red meat, creamy pasta, high-fat cheeses etc.
– Rarely: Keep the really sugary or fatty treats for special occasions. Things like ice cream, sweets or takeaways. They should be an event, not something that happens all the time.
- Work out while watching TV to distract your brain from what you are doing. You get a lot of squats done in an hour! Keep small weights in the living room and work on those bicep curls! YouTube works too!
- Change it up in the gym – Just like your brain, your body gets used to and bored with repetition. Your workouts are much more effective if your body doesn’t get into a routine.
- Crazy busy during the week? Food prep on a Sunday for the whole week including snacks so that you don’t have to worry about cooking or grabbing a takeaway when you are tired after work and gym.
- Grab the healthier options like whole grains, lean protein, soda water (instead of soda) and raw fruit and veg when you go shopping.
- Your shopping cart should be mostly veg – Kind of like your plate!
- Make a list before you go shopping and only buy what is on your list. Don’t be tempted by bargains! They are usually rubbish anyway.
- Eat before you go food shopping – Shopping when you are hungry makes you more likely to buy snacks and calorific foods.
- Buy Ziploc bags and small plastic containers to make up snacks for the week instead of heading for the vending machine.
- Carry a clutch bag to a party so you only really have one hand free for a drink OR a plate. Not both at the same time.
- Chew slowly and put your fork down between bites – It forces you to take your time and not overeat by wolfing food down.
- Drink a glass of water before every meal – It will make you feel a little fuller and stop you from overeating.
- If you feel hungry or peckish in-between meals, have a big glass of water first. We sometimes confuse thirst for hunger.
- Try air-popped popcorn instead of crisps as a TV snack. Very satisfying but less calorific.
- Throw your walking shoes in a bag and go for a walk at lunchtime.
- Pack your gym kit and put it on at work before leaving – You are more likely to get to the gym if you are already dressed for it.
- Play fitness games on a console if you hate the gym or if the weather is too rubbish to go outside.
- Get a food tracker on your phone if you can’t be bothered with a food diary. They are handy because they will track your calories and activity as well.
- Always take the stairs or walk back to your desk the long way around.
- Stand up from your desk and move around at least once every hour. If you are filing or just shuffling paper, stand up while you do it.
- Get your sleep – Lack of sleep stimulates the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also slows down your metabolism if you do not get enough sleep.
- Wear bright lipstick! Don’t laugh, but you will be so worried about smearing that you won’t eat greasy or messy foods. Vegetables are much “tidier” to eat than a cheeseburger! Have you ever had red lipstick transfer onto your chin?
- Give yourself a manicure or a pedicure during your favourite TV shows instead of snacking.
- Pay cash for your daily coffee – Actual cash is a lot harder to part within the real world. It’s very easy to pay with a card but handing over actual money may make you think twice about buying a snack with that latte.
- Brush your teeth after a meal so you don’t keep snacking when you are already full.
- Clean the kitchen as soon as you are done eating or even cooking so that you are not tempted to pick at leftovers.
- Wear jeans or a belt when you eat so that it becomes uncomfortable to overeat. Not forever but just until you get a feel for how much is too much and how much is just enough.
- Wear comfortable, breathable fabrics to work so that you don’t turn into a sweaty mess when you take the stairs. You will be more inclined to move.
- Keep your home cool so that your body will burn more calories to produce heat and stay warm. You will also sleep better!
- Avoid creamy salad dressings and watch out for oils, they are still fats.
- Pick one or two days a week where you only eat vegetables and fresh fruit. This one is my nemesis.
- Don’t eat at your desk or in front of the TV, you will most probably overeat because your attention is elsewhere.
- Grazing implies only eating very small amounts often. It sounds really good in theory but unless you are ONLY grazing and not eating 3 full meals a day as well it is a recipe for disaster.
- Sit down when you eat a snack – You won’t really pay attention to what you are eating if you stand or walk and chances are you will reach for more or overeat.
- Sugar-free, fat-free and gluten-free doesn’t actually mean HEALTHY – Read food labels for hidden calories.
- Take a look at your bowls and plates if you are constantly overeating – They may be too big and clearing your plate is making you fat. Buy a smaller bowl or plate for yourself. You don’t HAVE to eat everything on your plate!
- Do you drink glasses full of milk or fruit juice? Sugary drinks are bad for you but overindulging in milk and fruit juice can be just as bad. An 8oz glass of whole milk contains 150 calories. Even non-fat milk contains 80 calories. An 8oz glass of orange juice is about 115 calories.
- Don’t skip meals, you will just stuff yourself later when you are starving.
- Just because your diet is vegetarian and healthy doesn’t mean that you can eat as much as you like. The calories still pile up if you overeat. Vegetables can be pretty high in calories depending on how they are prepared.
- Chew your food properly. Don’t just shovel in and swallow. It’s an oldie but a goodie. Mindlessly shovelling food into your face will make you overeat!
- Don’t snack when you are stressed or bored – Distract yourself with an activity. Go for a walk or a bike ride instead.
- Pack your own meals for work – If you eat out every day you will consume at least 200 extra calories with every restaurant meal.
- If you are a comfort eater or an emotional eater you need to sit down and deal with the triggers that cause you to run for food when the going gets tough. Meditate, journal or just stop and ask yourself: “Will this cookie really fix the problem or just cause a new one? Why do I feel this way? What happened?”
- Don’t have “cheat” days – The word “cheat” sounds as though you are doing something that you are not “supposed” to. Of course, you can have a treat, but the word “treat” implies that it’s occasional and out of the ordinary. It should also be something really good. If you are going to have a treat, make it something you REALLY want. Not just a quick chocolate bar wolfed down. Have something delicious and enjoy it slowly. Don’t cheat yourself out of a good treat by eating rubbish.
- Just because it says that something is vegan on the label doesn’t make it good for you. It can be full of sugar and fat as well. Manufacturers have cottoned on to the idea that people think vegetarian or vegan is healthy and they are cashing in on it.
- You don’t have to eat 3 square meals a day – Work it more like a pyramid. You need a lot of energy for the day so make breakfast your biggest meal, lunch a little smaller and dinner the smallest.
- Snacks are not supposed to be mini meals! Your snack should fit in the centre of your palm.
- Never binge on addictive high-calorie foods – Have the smallest serving you can every once in a while.
- Healthy oils are still fats and can be unhealthy if you overdo it.
- Put your phone away while you are eating – You should be focused on your food so that you can get the signals when you are full.
- Vegetables should be the main feature on your plate, not just a side dish.
- Don’t snack before bed – Your metabolism slows down at night and anything you eat will simply be stored as fat.
- Make your own smoothies – Avoid the store bought ones as they are usually full of hidden sugar.
- Protein powder counts as calories – Take a look at the label. A protein shake can contain enough calories to replace an entire meal!
- Try a pedometer to help you take more steps in a day and burn more calories – Aim for 10 000 steps a day.
Do you have any tips that worked for you?