If you’re driving yourself nuts through starvation and marathon workouts in the bid to lose weight, know that you will – sooner or later – give up. The key to a healthy and fit body does not lie in drastic measures like deprivation diets. It lies in taking baby steps everyday. When you focus on small changes at a time, you start the process of inculcating healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Here are 10 simple steps that will help you eat less, move more and lose weight:
- The Power of Water: Of course you’ve heard this a thousand times, but you probably haven’t heard it enough just yet! Hydrate yourself!! If possible, drink 2 glasses of water before a meal. That way your stomach will feel fuller and you will stop yourself from eating too much, or at least, more than you need to.
- Don’t Hide Away your Fruits and Vegetables: It’s only human. When we see food in front of us – fresh, inviting and accessible – we reach out! High on nutrients, low on calories, rich in fibre – fresh fruits and vegetables are the best thing you could gorge on. So make sure your apples and berries are on the counter; your carrots and beetroots chopped, bowled and in plain sight; your celery and peppers packed in easy bags that you could grab on your way out. Snack away on any or all of these, and you’ll soon see results.
- Yogurt or Dahi? Yes, please: Not too long ago yogurt was declared a top weight-loss promoting food by Harvard University. But we in India of course have been well aware of the benefits of dahi since much earlier! An extremely healthy option for protein enrichment, dahi not only fills you up more than other carbohydrate based foods, it can also be had in just about any form, with anything and at anytime. Stick to the plain, low-fat, sugar-less option, and you have yourself a super-food for life.
- Keep a Diary: Say things out loud and you remember them better. Write them down, and they’ll stay with you much, much longer. Get into the habit of maintaining a food diary. Write down what you just ate, when you skipped a meal, when you binged, or when you did well for yourself. This will not just help you keep track of your eating habits, but will also kick in a mechanism of self-control. You will be more conscious of what you’re putting into your mouth, of portion control, and of what your triggers and weaknesses are.
5. Keep moving: Pouring over your work station or binging on the latest Netflix riot, don’t stay stuck in one position endlessly and for hours. Make sure to get up, move about, climb up or down some stairs, do a little jig – do anything – before settling back to doing what you were. These short breaks, even if 2 minutes long in a span of every 2 hours will help you burn a few hundred calories a day at least. Apart from this, it’s never a good thing to stay couched in a single position for very long.
6. A Few Minutes Longer: When it comes to physical activity, you should aim at engaging yourself in some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. The best way to achieve this is to increase your daily activity levels by a few minutes at a time. Start slowly, and then give it another 2 minutes more every alternate day. You won’t be far.
7. Step Up: Whenever faced with a choice of riding an elevator or climbing the stairs, choose the latter. Climbing has more benefits than you could imagine, and weight loss is only one of them. Research shows that including even 2 or 3 minutes of stair climbing, covering 3-5 floors, ensures you eliminate the average annual weight gain that any person is prone to. It also helps the heart and keeps you healthier and fitter.
8. Make Your Own: This won’t sound easy, considering the frenetic pace of our lives, but it will leave you feeling great about your calories, not to mention your pocket! Instead of going for a packed lunch from a takeaway or a regular fast food chain, spend a few minutes in putting together a pack for yourself every morning. Just by ruffling up a whole wheat bread sandwich, with pre-sliced chicken breast, some light mayo, lettuce and tomatoes, you will be left 200 calories lighter than if you had bought the same off the shelf. Throw in some fruits and nuts, and you’re sorted for your evening snack! Try it. You’re sure to start enjoying the process sooner or later!
9. Don’t Kill your Cravings: It’s never a good idea to regiment every aspect of your life. The same goes for your food habits. If chocolates are your absolute weakness, indulge once in a while. But do it smartly. Portion out whatever your favourite treat is, take a few moments to admire it, smell it, and look at it. Then take small bites – one at a time – so that every minute of that indulgence is felt wholly and completely. That way you are stretching time and making yourself acutely conscious of the process of indulgence. Over a period, you will stop asking for more and will be happy with less. Slowing it all down will help you become more appreciative and will leave you more deeply satisfied.