Do you fight an ongoing battle with your bathroom scale? If you count every calorie and still don’t see results, it’s natural to feel frustrated. Perhaps you need to change your approach.
You can maintain a healthy weight and shed unwanted pounds without dieting. All you need to do is learn what behaviors result in smiling when you step on the doctor’s scale. Once you master these eight tips, you’ll find it far less stressful than keeping a food diary or tracking your intake on a spreadsheet.
Some people hesitate to start meal-prepping because they fear that doing so will rob them of spontaneity. However, that’s not the case. When you have a fridge full of wok-ready ingredients that only require minutes to toss together, you don’t feel compelled to hit the drive-thru — again — when you’re exhausted and famished.
The first step involves investing in quality containers so your veggies and other ingredients stay fresh until use. You can also find meal prep apps that provide you with various recipes you can later devise from your raw materials.
Do you know what’s in that can of “healthy” chicken noodle soup? Depending on the brand, it could be a full day or more of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sodium. This mineral spikes your blood pressure and can lead to water weight gain.
Many packaged foods contain a score of unhealthy ingredients. White flour is among the most problematic because of the empty calories it provides. When manufacturers process this substance, they strip away the bran, which is where vital nutrients reside. As a result, you feel hungry again not long after eating — and pack on unwanted pounds.
Try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. When convenience demands a quick meal, seek those low in added salt, sugar and processed flours.
Portion sizes aren’t what they used to be. Back in 1970, most Americans consumed a little over 2,100 calories daily. Today, they wolf down more than 2,600. Is it any wonder the average waistline grew?
One way to reduce portion sizes is to use smaller plates — but this technique only works if you stick to one serving. Order off the kids’ menu at restaurants, or get one entree and split it or take half to go. Learn to eyeball — for example, a serving of meat is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
Maybe you can’t stomach the thought of life without a slice of cake at least once per week. That’s fair enough — but does it have to be calorie-laden empty deliciousness?
You can substitute applesauce for butter and oils in many recipes, slashing calories and fat. A veritable world of healthier flour substitutes abound — you can find anything from ancient amaranth to protein-rich chickpea versions. Make experimenting part of the fun, and perhaps you can market your new and improved wares at bake sales.
When you sit down to dinner, think of your plate as a clock. If you want to maintain a healthy weight, fill at least half of it with veggies and fruit, leaving a quarter for protein and the rest for whole grains.
Vegetables contain far fewer calories than the other two groups, but they are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that benefit your health. You’ll increase your nutrition intake while reducing the number of calories you consume
You might have heard about the raisin meditation where you eat this dried fruit slowly, with intent. While you don’t have to linger over your meal for hours, incorporating mindfulness into your eating helps you stop when you feel full.
Instead of scrolling through your phone at the table, make your meal your sole focus. As you chew, savor the flavors on your tongue. Bring back the family dinner table, and put your fork down between bites, pausing to chat with your spouse and kids.
If you get dehydrated, you might mistake the sensation for hunger and reach for a snack. Fortunately, this cause of unwanted weight gain is a snap to cure — carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go to help maintain a healthy weight.
What if you don’t like the taste of plain water? You can mix up a container of fruit water to add a hint of flavor and vitamins without adding calories. If the flat stuff turns your stomach, consider investing in a carbonating device like a SodaStream to add bubbles.
Do you insist on wine with dinner? If so, you could sabotage your weight-loss efforts. That’s because your body will burn the vino for fuel before any carbs, proteins or fats you consume.
Drinking alcohol also lowers inhibitions, which can make you eat more. Why do you think your margarita comes with a side of chips at Mexican restaurants? While the diner’s owner may delight when you order a second round of empanadas, your belt buckle will groan.
You don’t have to count calories to lose weight — who needs the added stress? Instead, master the eight methods above to maintain a healthy weight without a struggle.