It all adds up!
Here are 24 easy things you can do to help you shed up to 2kg a month
IT ISN’T necessary to starve yourself or spend hours in the gym to beat the bulge – small changes can make a huge difference. See which habits you can change to help you cut out about 2 000 kilojoules (kJ) daily, or identify where you’re taking in an extra 2 000kJ without even knowing it. All your “kilojoule saving” will add up!
Sleep yourself thinner
A lack of sleep stimulates the excretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin, resulting in a tendency to binge.
Research conducted at the Mayo Clinic in America shows sleep is an important factor for weight loss and affects the hormones that make you feel satisfied or hungry.
The two hours you stayed up later than usual last night could be why you felt like snacking on a chocolate bar worth 2 000kJ this afternoon!
Have only one serving
Kilojoules mount up even with healthy meals if your portions are too large. We often have seconds just for the taste.
An extra serving of lasagne and Greek salad easily equals 2 000kJ.
Pack your own lunchbox
Not only will you save money, you’ll save kilojoules if you replace chips and fried chicken with a baked potato and chicken you roasted at home.
This is how many kilojoules you can save by replacing a cafeteria meal with a healthy home-cooked option.
Ask the waiter to pack half your meal to take away before you eat.
A plate of 200g spare ribs contains about 3 700kJ. If you have only half and keep the rest for your next meal you cut out almost 2 000kJ.
Find extra kilojoule-burning activities to fit into your day. Walk around while talking on the phone, do things on the hoof and walk to your colleague’s desk instead of emailing her.
If you spend two hours walking around at work you can burn about 2 000kJ.
Exercise through play
Play outside with your children for an hour and a half. These activities release endorphins, the feel-good, mood-enhancing hormones.
You’d be surprised to learn you can burn more than 2 000kJ with games such as soccer, hopscotch and French skipping (a game played with an elastic band).
Switch off the TV
Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK show people who eat while watching TV consume up to 25% more kilojoules than they need. If you eat at a table you’re more aware of what and how much you eat.
Because you’re not focusing on what and how much you’re eating, that packet of potato chips or bowl of ice cream can add 2 000kJ.
Beware of easy snacks
Plan your meals. Don’t be seduced by tempting snacks in the cafeteria or in coffee shops near your work.
A cup of coffee with full-cream milk and a muffin bought on the way to work can easily contain 2 000kJ.
Carry a backpack
Use a backpack and walk to work or take one when you go shopping instead of putting your heavy bag in the trolley. Ensure your backpack has firm shoulder straps that spread the weight evenly across your back and don’t hurt.
This is how many kilojoules you’d burn if you walk around with a heavy backpack (a weight of at least 5-8kg) for an hour.
Use a smaller plate
You’ll have smaller portions if you use a smaller plate and trick your brain into thinking you’re satisfied. Researchers at Cornell University in America gave one group of people large bowls and another group smaller ones.
Those with the bigger bowls helped themselves to bigger servings than those with smaller bowls and didn’t even realise they had eaten more.
By having all your meals in a smaller bowl or plate you could easily save 2 000kJ. The difference between a small and big bowl of oats is about 630kJ.
Take the stairs
American studies show climbing stairs also keeps your heart healthy, says Angie Lander, a biokineticist based in Cape Town.
Briskly climbing stairs for 30 minutes a day burns 2 000kJ.
Vary your running speed
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada say exercise that pushes your heart rate up and then decreases it helps you lose weight.
Burn 2 000kJ by running slowly for 3 minutes, then for 27 minutes at varying paces (3 minutes at a comfortable pace, 3 minutes at a fast pace, etc).
Skip yourself thinner
Skipping is a fast and effective way to lose weight.
By skipping fast for an hour you’ll burn more than 2 000kJ.
Take the plunge
Swimming is an easy and safe way to lose weight. You don’t get hot and sweaty and there’s less chance of injury compared with other sports.
2 000 kJ
Swimming for an hour at a pace of 25m a minute will burn about 2 000kJ.
Take it step by step
Invest in a pedometer and lose weight with each step you take.
All you need is about 10 000 steps a day.
Dance yourself thinner
Dance while blowdrying your hair or watering the garden.
Dancing nonstop for an hour burns more than 2 000kJ.
Watch those sauces
Rather have a tomato-based pasta sauce or a non-saucy dish to reduce the kilojoule count. When eating out, order any sauce options on the side.
Half a cup of pesto sauce or Alfredo sauce contains about 2 500kJ. Rather season pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice (about 500kJ).
Cut out alcohol
It’s no secret alcohol is loaded with sugar and kilojoules. A glass of dry white or red wine contains between 350-500kJ.
If you drink a glass of dry white wine in the evening, replace half of it with soda water to reduce your kilojoule intake by 2 000 over a week.
Avoid juice, iced tea, milk and soft drinks
Have water or tea without sugar instead of fruit juice, iced tea, milk and fizzy soft drinks. You save more than 2 000kJ if you replace 500ml orange juice (990kJ), a tin of iced tea (540kJ) and a glass of milk (650kJ) with water.
Get out of the habit of having a sandwich for breakfast or lunch. Rather have a fresh salad.
By eating two slices of bread with 2t butter instead of a salad you add about 2 000kJ.
Use less oil
It’s easy to pour too much oil into a saucepan when cooking. Rather use nonstick spray or lightly brush the pan with oil to ensure you use less. If you use 50ml less oil or butter when frying you’ll save about 2 000kJ.
Drop the chips
Say no to the chips when ordering takeaways or meals in restaurants. Rather take the burger without chips and see how it helps you to stick to your diet.
A small portion of chips contains 1 800 kJ.
Have smaller treats
If you crave something sweet rather have a mini doughnut or tiny tartlet.
That’s how many kilojoules are in a large cupcake.
Ease up on the nuts
Nuts are good for you and a natural hunger suppressant because they keep you full for longer but they’re also packed with fat so snacking on a packet of nuts every day could blow your diet.
A quarter cup of peanuts contains about 2 400kJ so rather have just a tablespoon of nuts – it’ll save 2 000kJ.