We all get a bit ambitious in January… And even if you did manage to go dry, get fit and start your healthy routine, there are plenty of everyday, small changes worth making to curb excessive eating and burn extra calories. Here are our top tips and teeny tricks to lose some extra weight and keep it off!
Been skipping meals? Binging under stress? A food diary can tell a lot about your eating habits and is a great way to watch what you eat.
We all know how much easier it is to finish off that packet when there’s no one watching. Sweets, crisps, or chocolate; whatever your tipple is, binging is most often a solitary affair. But writing up your eating habits is proven to make a huge difference, even if you aren’t showing it around!
Whether you count and log your calories or just keep track of portion sizes, you’ll notice quickly that having to write exactly what you’ve eaten curbs your tendency to munch away! Some studies suggest that keeping a food diary allows a dieter to lose twice as much weight as those who don’t… just because you write down what you’ve eaten.
Cut Out The Worst Offender
Intimidated by an all-out diet? Not to worry. Start by cutting out one or two snacks/desserts that you know are bad… then take away another when you feel comfortable.
You might not need a food diary to notice where you’re going wrong. Lots of us know our guilty pleasures, and giving them all up in one go is more than a bit daunting! So why not try a gradual shift? Take out one a week… or one a fortnight… one a month?
Plan what you’ll replace each with – prepare a tub of chopped carrots, or buy in some healthy snacks (check out 100 calorie snack page) and go slow. You’ve got to be comfortable for it to last!
You’ve been good. You’ve gotten all the bad stuff out the house… but what about out and about?
Unless you get your diet in hamper deliveries, lunch is a tricky period. Whether you grab something on-the-go or make it yourself, a bit of clever planning can save you money and calories.
Home-made versions almost always have less calories than something you pick up in the shops, and if you make it fresh (or it’s made fresh for you) you’ll benefit from making your own nutritional choices.
Proper exercise is preferable. But most of us are busy and all of us struggle to jump straight into a gym routine… What about mini exercises throughout the day?
How much time do you spend doing nothing each day? TV adverts, waiting for the kettle, or the bus? That’s time you could spend doing on mini exercise, it all adds up!
So how about skipping the adverts to… skip. Or run on the spot. Spring a few star jumps. Anything that gets you breathless counts! And if you manage to pack in 4 or 5 mini workouts (two minutes will do it), you could burn an extra 270 calories a day – that’s dessert covered!
And if you have time for something strenuous, what about half a dozen squats, push-ups, crunches or lunges while dinner’s on? Increase your reps slowly and you’ll tone up without paying out for the gym or fancy equipment.
We should all aim to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. It needn’t be all at once, but you’ll find it far easier to tot up your half hour by fitting a brisk walk into your day.
Surveys show we drive as many as two-thirds of all trips that are under a mile – that’s fuel we’re burning instead of calories! Walking regularly helps build in new habits that’ll keep you motivated at every step of your weight loss journey.
How about trying the 1 mile rule? If it’s less than a mile away (and if you’re not picking up a new sofa), vow to walk it!
Take The Stairs
Cut out the eye-contact, the awkward silence and the etiquette; ditch the lift and take the stairs!
Given the choice between riding and climbing – at work, at home or at the shops – what do you go for? With 2 to 3 minutes of stair climbing per day, covering 3-5 floors, you could burn enough calories to cut a whole year’s weight gain… or a lovely slice of cake.
If you live or work on the second floor, this tiny change to your habits could make a huge difference to your waist line and well being.
Take It Slow
We all snack. Going hungry only makes you over-indulge later. But if you snack, why do it so fast?
There’s one fool-proof way to reduce food cravings. It’s not exactly what your body wants, but it’s dead simple and it works: slow down. Just like keeping a food diary, simply slowing down can make you far more mindful of how much you need to feel satisfied, and it even makes the snack taste better.
Granted, you may feel silly taking a whole minute to eat each square of your favourite chocolate bar. But this technique will let you savour and enjoy the treat 100 times more… Plus you’ll probably find you won’t need half as much!