|Being this chiselled is nice. Really nice. But you don't have to be this chiselled -- whether you are a man or woman -- to be healthy.|
No one needs to be as skinny as a model on a runway, in fact being too thin for your body type and age may come with health risks of its own. Most men and women, however, do want to loose a few unwanted pounds – especially if it’s the kind that can get you into cardiovascular trouble … belly fat. Feeling healthier automatically makes you feel sexier too. Here are five simple steps that can help you on your way to weight loss success.
One caveat: consult your doctor before making any changes (dietary or otherwise) and don’t attempt to do all of them at once. Too many changes to your lifestyle may make it hard to adjust. Make it easy on yourself, incorporating any two of the steps first. After one week, add another. Keep adding strategies until you have reached your goal of living a healthier lifestyle. Those unwanted pounds won’t be hanging around for long.
1. Drink mainly water.
Tea and coffee are fine too, but hold the cream and sugar. Need more fizz in your drink than just plain tap water? Don’t reach for a soda, go for a thirst-quenching Perrier with a spritz of lemon or lime. If it’s ice cold from the fridge (avoid adding ice because it dilutes the bubbles), it’s as refreshing as pop, with close to zero calories. The bubbles help fill you up, so if you have it with lunch or dinner, you’ll eat less too.
Avoid drinking fruit juices. Yes they’re healthy, but packed with sugar and calories. Better to save your fruit for a snack.The fibre found in fruit, but not necessarily in its juice, satisfies your hunger while giving you vitamins and anti-oxidants.
One drink you shouldn’t eliminate altogether, even for weight reduction, is milk. Choose a low fat variety. Everyone, especially women and thin men need the calcium to build bones. Bones, like skin, are constantly renewing themselves, so they constantly need a new supply of calcium. If you are allergic to milk/lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor about calcium supplements paired with vitamin D to help with calcium’s absorption.
2. Veto white bread, pasta, and rice.
White carbohydrates digest quickly, leaving you feeling hungrier faster than if you ate whole grain varieties. Whole grain varieties have more fibre, making them slow to digest so you’ll feel full longer.
Scared to try whole grain for fear they will taste as pasty and dry as cardboard? They used to, but not any more. Whole grain pasta tastes scrumptious, and its firm enough for even the most discriminating al-dente lover. Whole grain breads and bagels are often sweeter tasting than the white flour varieties. Just remember to still keep your intake of these carbohydrates down. A slice of bread whether whole grain or white still holds about the same amount of calories (depending on the brand), one is just healthier for you and keeps you full longer. If you feel full, you are less likely to overeat, and you're more likely to lose weight.
3. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables do double duty when helping you lose weight. While they keep you feeling full because of their fibre content, they also take longer to eat than complex carbohydrates, so your body has a chance to tell you its full. Chewing an apple, for example, takes longer than chewing fluffy white rice. It takes your stomach ½ hour after it’s full to send the message to your brain that it has had enough food. That’s a long time. And if you’re still eating during that half hour because you loaded your plate with calorie rich foods and skipped the veggies, that’s a lot of extra calories your body just didn’t need.
Make your plate ½ to ¾ vegetables. That’s easy to do if you choose salad and one vegetable to go with that steak and potato. Stir fries are another easy option. One caveat: don’t load your vegetables with calorie laden toppings such as cheese sauce or butter. For salad dressing, make your own. It’s simple and quick. Combine one heart-healthy oil such as extra-virgin, cold pressed olive or canola oil with balsamic, rice, or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and a touch of your favourite mustard. Making your own dressings will save you extra calories, unwanted sugar, and salt found in many of the ready-made brands.
Weight loss can be sabotaged when you reach for high-calorie snacks. Instead of cookies or a chocolate bar for a mid-day snack, opt instead for the sweetness of fruit. Sounds boring at first, but an icy cold, juicy orange is just as refreshing and thirst-quenching as a popsicle on a hot summer afternoon. So is watermelon. An apple topped with a dab of peanut butter goes great with a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day.
5. Sacrifice one calorie-laden food per week.
List your sabotage foods. Choose one to give up. Pick the easiest to let go first, so you can build confidence and stamina.For example, if you have desert after lunch and dinner, drop it after lunch. Even better, only have desert on the weekends. By the end of the week, the missed calories will really add up.
Once you have achieved your goal weight, give yourself back the weekends. Treat yourself one day a week. Enjoy a movie with popcorn or satisfy a chocolate craving. You’re trying to be fit, not completely deny yourself of the treats in life. Just keep them as indulgences – not as food staples.
Note: Do not make any dietary or physical activity changes without consulting your doctor.