Losing weight (and keeping it off) is really about adjusting your lifestyle choices. Many people try crash diets to lose a few pounds before an important event, or to fit back into their jeans. But once the diet is over, the pounds come back on, and it can be overwhelming to start another diet once again.
Instead of moving from diet to diet, it’s time to get more in tune with your body, and make healthier choices. This requires a new perspective. Instead of focusing on those 10 or 20 pounds to lose, think of your body in terms of its health. You want to be able to move without your joints hurting. You want to be able to walk up stairs without getting winded. You want to be able to enjoy a glass of wine and some chocolate without feeling tremendous guilt.
This is all possible, but it requires making some mental as well as physical adjustments. Following are five easy fixes to help you create a lifestyle that keeps you healthy and promotes weight loss.
Move while watching TV. Although it’s tempting to lie on the couch to binge-watch your favorite shows, why not try doing some strength training instead? Lift some weights, do some sit-ups, or try some yoga poses while you are glued to the set. The more you move instead of sit, and the more you try to build those muscles, the better you will sleep and the more calories your body will burn.
Cut down on going out to eat. I know going out to lunch and dinner is easy and convenient, but it also takes a terrible toll on your body. Most restaurants add salt and fat to their dishes to make them tastier, even to vegetables, and this can be eliminated if you cut back on going to restaurants. Cooking at home doesn’t have to be a chore or time-consuming. Try making a big pot of veggie chili or a large green salad on the weekend to keep in the fridge so you don’t feel the need to go out during the week.
Start your day off on the right foot. Most of us make bad choices about food later in the day when we are tired. Instead of allowing this to happen, get your energy going by taking a brisk 20-minute walk first thing in the morning, followed by a healthy protein-rich breakfast. Depending on your preference, eggs, yogurt and peanut butter toast are all great breakfast choices, and will keep your energy going without the afternoon carb cravings. It is also increases your metabolism to eat earlier in the day, when your body has recharged from sleep.
Allow for treats. Most people who go from diet to diet are strict and feel guilty if they stray. Instead of putting yourself through this vicious cycle, allow for some wiggle room. If you want to go to happy hour and have a cocktail, then skip the pasta for lunch and opt for a salad with salmon or chicken. Make some trade-offs to feed your cravings.
Avoid processed foods. When we have sagging energy in the afternoon, most of us go for sugary or salty snacks as a pick-me-up. Instead of giving in to convenience and cravings, try cutting up vegetables in advance and keeping a container of hummus in the fridge. Or carry nuts around with you for easy protein. Do not stock your pantry with chips, pretzels, or other processed foods – instead, fill your fridge with veggies and fruits that you enjoy. Let these turn into your go-to snacks.
Weight loss begins with making a few small adjustments. When you have these under control, you can watch the pounds shed.