CUT THOSE CALO­RIES

Los­ing weight doesn’t have to be so hard.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

To­tally doable life­style changes and habits that will make los­ing weight eas­ier.

Are you hav­ing trou­ble shed­ding ex­cess ki­los? These life­style changes and habits are to­tally doable and will mo­ti­vate you to stick to those weight-loss goals. Take these small steps to start your jour­ney to a slim­mer, health­ier you!

SWOP YOUR DRINKS

In­stead of or­der­ing a sweet­ened drink dur­ing lunch, bring along a bot­tle of wa­ter to quench your thirst. A typ­i­cal can of soft drink con­tains roughly 150 calo­ries and up to four or more tea­spoons of sugar, so you’ll be cut­ting out un­nec­es­sary carbs. If you re­ally can’t do with­out your favourite fizzy drink, look for re­duced sugar op­tions and share a can with a friend.

STAND DUR­ING YOUR COM­MUTE

In­stead of rush­ing for seats on the MRT, re­main stand­ing. It doesn’t sound like much, but stand­ing still burns more calo­ries than sit­ting. In an ex­per­i­ment by the BBC and re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Ch­ester, vol­un­teers burnt an av­er­age of 50 ex­tra calo­ries for every hour they stood in­stead of sit­ting. Keep that up for three hours a day, five days a week, and that works out to an ex­tra 39,000 calo­ries burnt over the course of a year.

FIND A SPORT YOU EN­JOY

Sign up for classes. Re­serv­ing a spot trans­lates to com­mit­ment, and you’re less likely to skip your work­out if you do so. Es­sen­tially, It’s much eas­ier to forgo an evening run that has no strings at­tached com­pared to a pre­booked barre class.

AMP UP YOUR WORK­OUT

Use heav­ier weights dur­ing your next strength-train­ing sesh. You can stick to the same num­ber of reps, but car­ry­ing heav­ier weights im­me­di­ately forces your body to work harder. This ups your calo­rie burn, and you’ll score a more ef­fi­cient work­out. You can also in­crease your speed dur­ing runs. Add sprints when­ever you can to get your heart rate higher. You’ll burn more calo­ries, plus the time will go by faster.

ASK FOR LESS

When­ever you or­der food, make it a point to ask for less rice or noo­dles. This is an easy way to prac­tise por­tion con­trol. If you don’t see it, you won’t feel like you’re miss­ing out!

DRINK WA­TER BE­FORE YOUR MEAL

This age-old trick works. Down­ing a glass of wa­ter be­fore eat­ing fills your tummy so you don’t overeat, says re­search pub­lished in the jour­nal Obe­sity. In a small-scale study, par­tic­i­pants who drank 500ml of wa­ter 30 min­utes be­fore they ate their mains had bet­ter weight-loss out­comes com­pared to those who didn’t.

FID­GET MORE

Tap your feet, wig­gle your fin­gers, shift your weight in your chair... Fid­get­ing – as op­posed to keep­ing still – when you’re work­ing at your desk can help you burn a few hun­dred more calo­ries, say re­searchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US. Think of this as your ul­ti­mate cheat code to torch­ing more kcal per day.

HALVE THE DRESS­ING

Sal­ads may sound healthy, but dous­ing your veg­gies in dress­ing is a sure way to in­crease your calo­rie in­take with­out you re­al­is­ing it. Creamy and oily dress­ings pack a ton of fat, and un­healthy top­pings like crou­tons don’t do your waist­line any favours ei­ther. Ask for dress­ing on the side and use it ju­di­ciously.

DON’T EAT FROM THE BAG

When you open a new pack of crisps, por­tion out the amount you want to eat and keep the rest (out of sight!) for another day. You’re much more likely to pol­ish off the en­tire bag if you eat out of it.

GO OUT & BUY YOUR GRO­CERIES

As con­ve­nient as it is to or­der all your gro­ceries on­line, it’s still a good idea to head to the near­est su­per­mar­ket when­ever you can. You’ll get to pick the fresh­est pro­duce by your­self, and you’ll be more mind­ful of what you put into your bas­ket. Car­ry­ing around the load in­stead of push­ing a trol­ley also gives you a mini work­out.

IN­CREASE YOUR STEPS

Walk­ing more is re­ally one of the eas­i­est things you can do to lead a health­ier life. In­creas­ing your daily step count brings with it a host of phys­i­cal ben­e­fits – from low­ered risk of de­vel­op­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases to re­duc­ing your cancer odds. In­vest in a steps tracker to mo­ti­vate your­self, or go on an ac­tive date with your beau to move more.

TAKE MORE SELF­IES

You don’t have to start spam­ming your so­cial me­dia feed with self­ies, but tak­ing them can be a good way for you to track – and stick to – your weight-loss ef­forts. In a small-scale clin­i­cal study in­volv­ing 271 over­weight or obese pa­tients, those who reg­u­larly took full-body pho­tos show­ing their waist-to-hip ra­tio were more mo­ti­vated to shed ki­los.

START SHOP­PING

Like ac­tual, proper, hit-the-streets shop­ping. Many of us do our re­tail ther­apy on­line these days, but you’ll def­i­nitely burn more calo­ries strolling than scrolling. Make a date with your girl­friends and head to town over the week­end to walk around and take ad­van­tage of the in-store sales.

In­crease your speed dur­ing runs and add sprints when­ever you can. You’ll burn more calo­ries, plus the time will go by faster.

EAT MIND­FULLY

You need to feel sat­is­fied in or­der to feel full. Re­search pub­lished in The Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion has proven that dis­tracted eaters con­sumed more food than the nondis­tracted. This means that you’re like­lier to wolf down more calo­ries when you have a meal in front of the TV or at your desk dur­ing lunch. What’s more, dis­tracted eaters also ate more food later in the day than those who were fully present dur­ing their meals. Think about it: it’s easy to mind­lessly fin­ish a bag of chips while binge-watch­ing Net­flix, but you’d be less likely to do so when you con­cen­trate on every bite.

CUT DOWN ON MEAT

Re­plac­ing meat with veg­etable-based pro­tein sources, like tofu, is an easy way to cut more calo­ries. A re­view of pre­vi­ous sci­en­tific stud­ies has shown that a veg­e­tar­ian diet may help to boost weight loss ef­forts. We’re not ask­ing you to cut out meat com­pletely (un­less you want to, of course!), but you can start with one or two meat­less meals in a week.

DRINK MORE GREEN TEA

Make brewed green tea your go-to drink. Be­sides be­ing great for fight­ing cancer and re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion in the body, green tea has also been shown to boost your me­tab­o­lism. It has com­pounds that help your body in­crease the num­ber of calo­ries and fat it burns. Just be sure to drink the unsweet­ened ver­sion of this pow­er­house tea so you don’t negate its pos­i­tive ef­fects!

DON’T STARVE YOUR­SELF

Bid di­et­ing good­bye. De­priv­ing your­self of food and nu­tri­ents only sends a sig­nal to your body that it’s starv­ing. This makes it hold on to fat and calo­ries, mak­ing it harder for you to achieve your weight-loss goals. You’ll also feel more tired and slug­gish due to a lack of en­ergy, which is a dou­ble whammy. Fo­cus on eat­ing qual­ity meals that have a good bal­ance of healthy carbs, pro­tein and fi­bre in­stead of cut­ting out food groups to­tally.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Don’t de­prive your body of sleep. That in­sa­tiable hunger and crank­i­ness you feel when you’re run­ning on empty is real. In a study pub­lished in Obe­sity, par­tic­i­pants who clocked less than seven hours of sleep a night had higher BMIs than those who did. The sleep-de­prived were also less likely to be suc­cess­ful in their weight­loss ef­forts.

CHILL OUT

No sur­prises here. The term “stress eat­ing” ex­ists for a rea­son. When you’re feel­ing fraz­zled, your body’s cor­ti­sol lev­els soar and this can stim­u­late your ap­petite and slow down your me­tab­o­lism. Keep your stress lev­els in check by find­ing an ac­tiv­ity or hobby to calm your­self on bad days. It could be just tak­ing a stroll af­ter din­ner with your other half, or get­ting lost in a good book be­fore bed­time.

EAT LESS PRO­CESSED FOODS

Pro­cessed foods are of­ten high in un­healthy trans fats, and laden with sugar and salt. Re­cently, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion even clas­si­fied pro­cessed meat as a Group 1 car­cino­gen (mean­ing there’s enough evidence to show it causes cancer).

Fo­cus on eat­ing qual­ity meals that have a good bal­ance of healthy carbs, pro­tein and fi­bre.

These cheap meats not only have no nu­tri­tional value, but also con­tain ad­dic­tive in­gre­di­ents, in­clud­ing chem­i­cals, that make you crave more of them. Re­place ham and hot­dogs with lean cuts of pro­tein like chicken or fish; they’ll keep you fuller for longer, and you’ll be do­ing your body a mas­sive favour in the long run.

BUY BLUE PLATES

Re­search from Cor­nell Univer­sity’s Food and Brand Lab shows that peo­ple tend to put 22 per cent lesser food on their plates when the hue of the plate con­trasts with the colour of the food. With blue be­ing such a strik­ing colour, it stands out while mak­ing your food look less ap­petis­ing. Blue is also a rare colour for food to have so your blue plates will al­ways con­trast with your meals.

SNAP A PIC­TURE OF YOUR FOOD

There might be a sci­ence be­hind tak­ing pic­tures of your food be­fore dig­ging in. It’s called so­cial me­dia man­age­ment – some­thing mil­len­ni­als are on board with. The thought that your food choices are up for your fol­low­ers to see in­creases your re­spon­si­bil­ity to adhere to di­et­friendly foods in the right quan­tity. If you don’t have an In­sta­gram or Face­book ac­count, keep­ing a photo di­ary of your food also helps. Who wants to take a pic­ture of a greasy bag of fries in­stead of a colour­ful plate of salad?

CHEW FOOD SLOWER

Are you usu­ally the fastest eater at the ta­ble? You might want to slow down be­cause the quicker you eat, the wider your waist will be. A Univer­sity of Rhode Is­land ex­per­i­ment proved that con­sum­ing food over a time pe­riod of 29 min­utes made par­tic­i­pants eat lesser calo­ries than those who wolfed down their plate of food within nine min­utes. The women who ate their food quicker also felt hun­grier af­ter the meal, which means they con­sumed more calo­ries through­out the day.

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