51. Put it in a bowl.
Don’t eat food directly from the bag: ration it out, put it in a bowl or on a plate and then pack the container safely away before you eat. This way you’ll be much less likely to go back for another handful (especially if you make it really difficult to reach the container again).
52. Be flexible.
Trying to stick to an overly regimented and disciplined diet is no fun at all – weight loss should be fun, when you think about it you get to be healthier and look better – those are good reasons to smile. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have days when you wonder why you’re doing this at all, but when you see it through and you can see and feel the results of your efforts, you’ll know it was worth it. Rocky said it best: “It’s not about how many times you can hit, it’s about how many times you can get hit and get back up”. The most important thing is to stick to it every day, make it fun and you’ll be there sooner than you think!
53. Sack the sugar.
Refined sugars and many artificial sweeteners are the enemy of weight loss (and good health). The main problem is the amount of sugar the average person consumes is huge! Things like candies and cakes are almost devoid of nutritional value and displace your desire for healthy foods – you’re not going to snack on some snap peas after you’ve had a cake, are you? The American Heart Association recommends most women get no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day (24 grams). The problem is that it’s tucked away in places you’d never thing to look (until now) from condiments to crackers – so read the labels. The healthy alternative is to treat yourself with fruits instead, and maybe try a healthier, weight-loss friendly sugar alternative like stevia.
54. Limit eating out.
When you eat out at a restaurant, you typically have less control over portion sizes, ingredients and cooking methods. If you eat out, find out the low-calorie, healthy food choices before you arrive, and if it means having to be a fussy eater, then so be it, after all you’ll never see the waiter again, but your health is with you your whole life.
Stress is bad for our health in many ways, but it’s also an enemy of weight loss. Boo for stress! When you stress yourself out your body produces a shot of adrenaline and cortisol to deal with the perceived flight-or-fight situation. The adrenaline leaves your system pretty quickly, but it’s the cortisol which hangs around for longer stimulating insulin, which in turn can result in an increase in appetite. Not only that, a Swedish study has found that cortisol may also lead to increased fat storage around the abdomen. Lack of sleep has also been found to increase cortisol levels. Uh-oh. So make sure you take time to relax during your day, or make a little me-time in the evenings where you won’t be disturbed, do some yoga in the mornings or even try meditating. Not only will you be more mentally calm and able to deal with life, but you’ll look better while you do!
56. Fill your plate with vegetables first.
Veggies (especially the dark green leafy and cruciferous types) are nutritionally dense and will help fill you up – meaning less room for junk-food snacking! Also, since recent studies show that we need 7 (instead of 5) daily servings of fruits and veggies, the more vegetables the better. The only exception is potatoes – go easy on these, because they pack a hefty caloric punch.
57. Vanquish hunger with Volumetrics.
Volumetrics is a way of eating which is based on calories per bite: the less calories per bite, the bigger the portion size, but the less calories per meal. Volumetrics aims at making you feel satiated (i.e. not hungry) at each meal but with less caloric intake. The trick is to eat mainly high-volume foods: brothy soups, vegetables and fruit and limiting low-volume high-calorie foods.
58. Eat soup.
Food in a liquid form is absorbed slowly, and because of the water content, expands your stomach causing you to feel full.
59. Cut up your food.
As strange as it sounds, a study has shown that cutting up your food can help you feel more satisfied by your meal. The reason is that we judge food quantity by number (with larger numbers taken to mean more food), so the psychological effect is that you feel like you’ve eaten more. Try it out and let us know!
60. Don’t sneak bites!
If you sneak in little bites from other peoples plates (friends, kids, spouse) then stop it. All those calories add up, especially the sweet stuff, and if you’re taking a bite from here and there, pretty soon you’ll be looking at a big increase in calories for that meal… and one that’s often discounted because it wasn’t on your plate – but it still adds up! Not only that, most people don’t count these sneaky bites in their food journals. If you want to share a desert, cut your own slice so you can account for those calories.
61. Get active at work.
Let’s face it, most of us do a lot of sitting during work hours. So break it up as frequently as possible, get up from your desk for a standing break, talk to collegues face-to-face rather than email, take the stairs! And, if it seems like your kind of thing, see if you can convince your work to get you a standing-desk. Commuting via the train? Stand to burn extra calories. Remember, all the small steps add up.
62. Reward yourself.
Have a list of rewards which will keep you motivated to attaining your weight loss goals. Make them realistic and achievable, but don’t make your rewards about foods – go for something totally different, yet just as rewarding, e.g.: watch a movie, go shopping, whatever tickles your fancy.
63. Go nuts!
Nuts are jam-packed with healthy compounds, from healthy fats and antioxidants to essential minerals and vitamins. Research is showing that for weight loss, eating bigger portions of healthy foods is actually more important than dieting because, simply put, you’ll have less room and less inclination to eat junk food when you’ve already got a belly full of the healthy stuff. Nuts are a great for this, because they are high in fibre and slow to digest, plus the healthy fats help make you feel full. Remember, we’re not talking about the roasted, salted kind – keep your nuts natural and grab a handful to snack on before you go out to keep hunger at bay.
64. Watch your weekends.
Many people are able to stick to a pretty healthy diet during the week when they’re following the work-week routine, but once the freedom of the weekend arrives: woohoo, all bets are off! You need to be strong, not weak, on the weekend. So one of the things you can do to make things easier, is allow yourself a single ‘cheat meal’ each weekend. This does not mean that you make up for a weeks-worth of not having deserts, but simply that you’re a bit more relaxed with the foods you allow for that meal. Warning, do not let your ‘cheat meal’ turn into a ‘cheat day’ otherwise you risk undoing all your hard work from the week! Many people skip ‘cheat meals’ entirely, so it’s down to your personal preference.
65. Count calories.
Studies have shown that people who count calories have dramatically more success at losing weight and keeping it off than those who don’t. It also helps you to structure your eating and reveals some surprising high-calorie culprits!
66. Drink water.
Zero calories, super-hydrating – need we say more? Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Add a slice of lemon and boom, you’ve got yourself a great-tasting, hydrating drink.
67. Count to 100 to beat cravings.
Next time a craving comes up, slowly count to 100 while you focus your mind on both your short and long-term weight loss goals.
68. Broccoli is your friend.
Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrition: it contains more vitamin C than an orange, is contains a paltry amount of calories in comparison to its’ incredible nutritional profile and contains as much calcium as a glass of milk. It’s the perfect Volumetric diet food, with a very low amount of calories per bite and studies have even shown that it can help boost DNA repair in cells. Add raw grated brocolli to salads, or even try snacking on small florets.
69. Eat watermelon.
A recent study found that the group (animal models) who ate watermelon had a 50% decrease in arterial plaque, high levels of citrulline (which is good for general health) and even more exciting 30% less weight gain. Watermelon is such a treat, just make sure you also get close to the rind, where there is an abundance of citrulline.
70. Find your motivation.
Reaching your ideal healthy weight isn’t going to be easy in the beginning: it requires making hundreds of healthy mini-decisions every day. When you have to choose between a piece of cake and a piece of fruit, your taste-buds are going to tell you to eat the cake, so you have to dig deeper from the beginning and find out why you’re really doing this and why it’s important to you, because if it is important enough to you then you’ll make the healthy decision. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have times when you make mistakes, but it does mean that you wont waste time getting back onto the health-wagon when you do.
71. Ditch the diet.
Yes, you read that right. The problem with being on a ‘diet’ is that it puts negative psychological pressure on you. A diet by it’s nature is temporary; however, reaching and maintaining your ideal healthy weight is something which requires making lifestyle changes which stay with you for good. Find out what works for you, which activities are the most fun, the healthy foods you enjoy most and make those part of your life – remember, the more fun and enjoyable you make this, the more successful you’re going to be!
72. Chew gum while you cook.
If you nibble on food while you’re cooking then try chewing a stick of gum while you prepare your meals. You’ll freshen your breath and you’ll reduce your total calorie intake.
73. Find out your calorie requirements.
Fundamentally, weight loss is pretty simple: burn more calories (energy) than you consume. If you want to lose weight you need to consume about 500 calories less than you need every day, but in order to do this you need to know your daily caloric needs. Without knowing this, it’d be like trying to shoot a target while blindfolded – you have no idea where to aim.
74. Communicate with family and friends.
We humans are funny creatures, often people get attached to having you remain a certain way, for whatever reasons of their own (maybe even unknown to them). Unfortunately, this rarely serves you in being the person who you want to be. When you want to lose weight, and when you start losing weight family and friends may seem to tempt you off the path, the best way to deal with this is communication: explain to them that this weight loss is truly important to you and you’d love their support. If they’re unable to do that, respect them but stay focused on your weight loss goals – this is your life, not theirs.
75. Skip the solid fats.
Solid fats are an example of empty calories – high calorie foods, with little (or no) nutrients: butter, beef fat and shortening. These are fats which stay solid at room temperature and are added to many foods to appeal to our tastebuds (as well as occurring naturally in some foods), e.g. cakes, cookies, cheese, pizza and bacon. The problem isn’t that they’re necessarily bad, but that most people just eat far too many of them, so serious moderation is key!