Have you been looking forward to the best version of you in 2018, but find it hard to commit to a full fitness routine or complete lifestyle change? If so, this piece is for you. Read on and discover how to develop a sound body with these 13 easy tips.
1. Keep hydrated
If you feel the need to fill up with anything at all, make sure it is water. The benefits are twofold: it leads to that satiety that prevents you from binging on anything else, and it is the healthiest option you have for a drink when it comes to cutting out the calories. Drink a glass in morning to pique your metabolism and prepare your gut for the day, and drink two before a meal to fill yourself up and avoid mistaking thirst for hunger!
2. Go the extra mile
Instead of signing up for exorbitant gym memberships or the latest 42 days challenge fad, taking out blocks of your time for them and then struggling to actually make it there, go for the “effortless” exercise. Incorporate daily movement into your day, keep an eye on the steps count on your phone, and always take the longer route. If you have to maintain a job at the desk and have little opportunity to move during the work day, start doing leg raises at the table. From skipping the elevator to parking more than a few paces away, you will be walking your way to a much healthier you.
3. Join a team activity
While going out for brunch every Sunday is a great group activity, I am sure you can substitute it with much healthier ones. From spin class to yoga, football to volley, or even a morning walk in the park to a jog in the evening, everything is a lot more enjoyable with a partner or group. Find a buddy to keep you motivated, or join a zumba class and swimming sessions where fun is on your mind more than the exhaustion.
4. Keep the pantry clean
Never shop on an empty stomach! If you head into the grocery store with a grumbling stomach, you are more likely to be heading out with all the food that is bad for you. Instead of reaching for packaged and processed food loaded with sugars and preservatives, opt for fresh produce and homemade meals. At home, junk food out of sight is out of mind. And if you are really committed to the cause, meal prep is your best friend.
5. Watch what you eat
I mean that quite literally. Put your food on a smaller plate, to give the illusion of plenty. Seat yourself in front of a mirror to watch yourself eat. Eat only what is on your plate, and do not reach for any seconds. Make a plate of vegetables, and incorporate all the colors of the rainbow. Chew all your food thoroughly, instead of forcing it down. Savor your food and take your time, so your body has time to register its satiety while you enjoy every single bite, literaly.
6. Make sure you eat
On a journey to a fitter, better you, a diet should never translate into starvation. You need to consume enough calories so your body does not go into starvation mode and hold on to every calorie you consume. You can sabotage your weight loss efforts by eating too little. While a Ferrero Rocher and a date may contain roughly the same amount of calories, the latter delivers nutrients that make it worth the consumption, so make smart choices with the calories you consume.
7. Get your sleep
That way, you will not be looking for energy in all the wrong places, or feeling too tired to work out. Sleep also boosts your metabolism so you burn calories faster, and helps build muscle while you snooze. Moreover, going too long without proper sleep can wreck your system and sabotage all your efforts towards maintaining a health regime as sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones, leading to poor appetite regulation.
8. Cut out one extra
Instead of depriving yourself of all treats entirely, make one cut each week. This can be the donut you grab with your morning coffee each day, or the cup of hot chocolate you indulge in on winter nights. If you snack on a chocolate bar, a bag of chips and a drink with each episode of a show, try going without one of them. Make the change in a way that does not derail your reward system, and gradually cut out all unhealthy, nonessential snacking.
9. Treat each meal differently
Ever heard the saying “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”? This is the key to all your weight loss efforts. Load up on protein for breakfast, as that has been scientifically proven to lower cravings and give you the satiety to get through the day. Eggs are a great choice. As the day goes on, the metabolism slows down.
10. Brush your Teeth
This may read like a weird tip to throw in for a weight loss post, but it works. Using the same principle of nail biters resorting to putting on nail polish to curb their impulses and discourage their habit, the aftertaste of toothpaste and the nice freshness in your mouth can make snacking seem a lot less attractive. It is an easy lifestyle change to make; just brush your teeth after every meal!
11. Indulge your craving
Focus on what exact flavor or texture you crave; is it salty, sweet, creamy or crunchy? Make sure you identify your wants, and substitute accordingly. Instead of reaching for the bag of doritos or lays, have some apple slices or a handful of nuts. Instead of a cake slice, go for a piece of dark chocolate.
12. Avoid the fads
The shortcuts to fitness in the form of highly restrictive diets of bananas or watermelon (!) can leave you with a nervous breakdown at 3 am, scooping Nutella out of the jar with your bare fingers. In other words, they do not work, and all you lose in the short term is water weight which comes back as soon as you start eating enough to sustain a human being again. Make a conscious choice to be healthier every day. The change will take longer but give better, more lasting, results.
13. Economize on calories
Instead of treating your calorie allowance like a credit card with no limit, imagine doling out a voucher for each calorie you choose to consume. In short, stop spending your allowance on empty calories like sugary drinks or finger food. And of course, if you are still going to spend on anything, make sure your enjoyment of it far outstrips the calories!