If you are looking to lose or manage weight, don’t fall for the fad diets, marathon workouts, and don’t deprive yourself! Following diets can be unhealthy and put your body at risk. Diets and extreme workouts are often followed by relapses back into your old habits, harming your body even further. As the world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all more homebound than before. But there are silver linings: we are cooking more, have time to work out at home and can spend time meditating. All of these positive outcomes are proven to boost the immune system against bacteria and viruses!
It is medically proven that taking small steps, making slight changes each day, is the most effective way to get the lasting results you are looking for. Spending time focusing on small changes helps your brain ingrain those habits, making them last a lifetime. We have found the top 10 small changes that may be all you need to help manage your weight.
- Avoid the TV: Many families are forgoing the tradition of eating meals at the table for the comfort of the couch and amusement of a show. What goes unnoticed is how this negatively affects your weight. When watching TV the average person consumes 40% more food than they would otherwise. Eating in front of the TV also increases the desire for junk foods. People eat more chips while in front of the TV than anywhere else.
- Use Small Plates: Naturally, we all want to fill our plate at dinnertime, especially when faced with our favorite meal. Many Americans suffer from the need to clear their plate before declaring they are finished. This leads to over a 14% increase in food intake. By switching to smaller plates, you can happily eat a full plate of food while still losing weight and reducing your calories. Try to limit yourself to just one plate-full as well.
- Find Opportunities to Move: Instead of spending all day sitting, find times where you can get up and move around. During breaks at work go for a short walk around the building. While watching TV, whenever a commercial comes on do some jumping jacks or have a spontaneous dance-off. Moving gives your body an energy boost and is an easy way to manage weight since it helps you burn some extra calories!
- Use the Stairs: Whenever you are faced with the choice of riding an elevator, using an escalator, or taking the stairs, opt for the stairs. It doesn’t take much more time and it gives your body a very needed health boost. Climbing the stairs for just 3 minutes a day strengthens your legs and burns enough calories to eliminate the average American weight gain of 2 pounds a year!
- Enjoy Your Desserts: Losing weight does not mean you have to deprive yourself from yummy treats. Deprivation of sweets often leads to unhealthy overeating. When you are craving a sweet treat, portion out one serving and be mindful. Make eating your dessert a full experience. Take in the rich aroma, look at how good it looks, and when you take a bite, savor it – focus on the textures and the taste. After each bite ask yourself if you want another bit or if you have satisfied your desire for the treat. This will help you be more mindful when you eat and give you more satisfaction.
- Stay Hydrated: The body often confuses thirst for hunger which causes a lot of overeating and an unhealthy increase of calories. Water is also needed for regulated digestion and for keeping your metabolism ready to go! Whenever you feel thirsty, drink a glass of water. Focus on trying to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Drinking a glass of water right when you wake up is also a great way to wake up your metabolism and get it going before you even have your first meal.
- Sleep: Sleep deprivation leads to regular weight gain. When we are tired, we often opt for unhealthy food and beverage choices. Having an energy drink and stopping for fast food because you were too tired to make lunch is the start of health decline. Make an effort to go to bed earlier than usual and limit your night-time snacks. Going to bed earlier has shown to increase overall energy levels the following day and improve mood.
- Make Lunch: Along with saving you money, making lunch at home and taking it to work or school will save you thousands of calories. When you spend the time making your own food, you can make something you will fully enjoy whilst controlling portion sizes. Homemade food has no extra additives for preservation and flavor, saving you from consuming high levels of sodium, extra fats, and unnecessary calories.
- Find a Friend: Having a friend, whether it is someone you know or a group on social media, is an effective way to stay motivated. Sharing your goals, successes, and struggles with others keeps you accountable and opens up a dialogue for advice and tips that may help you. Exercising (even remotely!) with a friend helps you continue to progress and gives you some friendly competition as well, making it another easy way to manage weight. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone, and you are never alone when trying to change your life for the better.
- Make a Food Journal: The easiest way to monitor your food habits is to write them down. Figuring out your eating habits and routines will help you understand what changes you need to make in order to be healthier. Journaling will also help you practice portion control and how you can make smarter food choices. If you notice that you crave a snack at work around the same time each day, pack a healthy snack for yourself in the morning so you don’t end up making a trip to the vending machine.