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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 000kJ

This is how many kilo­joules you can save by re­plac­ing a cafe­te­ria meal with a healthy home-cooked op­tion.

Cre­ate left­overs

Ask the waiter to pack half your meal to take away be­fore you eat.

1 850kJ

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.

Move more

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 209kJ

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.

2 000k

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 062kJ

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 000k

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 058k

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.

2 000kJ

All you need is about 10 000 steps a day.

Dance your­self thin­ner

Dance while blowdry­ing your hair or wa­ter­ing the gar­den.

2 093kJ

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 000kJ

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.

Bye-bye bread

Get out of the habit of hav­ing a sand­wich for break­fast or lunch. Rather have a fresh salad.

2 000kJ

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.

1 800kJ

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.

2 000kJ

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.

2 000kJ

A quar­ter cup of peanuts con­tains about 2 400kJ so rather have just a ta­ble­spoon of nuts – it’ll save 2 000kJ.

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