Along with American’s exploding waistlines comes a barrage of diets and quick weight loss tips. Excess pounds don’t build up overnight and consequently excess weight takes time to lose. Our impatience often leads us to jump on the latest diet fad bandwagon. Small steps actually can lead to giant leaps and assist with weight loss given time and patience. Did you know that trimming 100 calories each day can lead to 10 pounds of weight loss in one year? Or that walking 2,500 steps per day can burn 100 calories? Baby steps that save or burn 100 calories here and there add up to a more desirable weight. Here are some little things that can mean a lot when it comes to your waistline:
- Set realistic goals. Most people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to weight loss. People can typically reduce their weight by 10 – 15% with the best behavior-modification programs. If you try to lose too much, too quickly, you set yourself up for failure and are more likely to regain any weight you’ve lost. Keep your expectations reasonable and you are more likely to be satisfied with your progress.
- Learn the calorie counts of foods. Many restaurant and fast food menus list calorie counts of menu items. However, you need to actually read and pay attention to those counts. Most of us highly under-rate the calorie counts of foods we eat especially when dining out or eating at fast food restaurants. Some restaurants have online nutritional information so you can decide what to eat ahead of time.
- Keep a food diary. This tip can really help keep your daily caloric intake in check. You’ll think twice about what you absentmindedly pop into your mouth when you have to be accountable for every bite. There are some great phone apps, such as “Lose It!” and “Calorie Counter by MyNetDiary,” that help you track your calories and progress.
- Pack your own lunch. Bring your lunch from home and include a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables. Fast food meals are generally calorie-dense and deficient in nutrition. Skip the fast food burgers and fries to save calories and reduce your sodium and unhealthy fat intake.
- Don’t supersize! Those value meals are no bargain when it comes to your health. Most adults don’t need more than 2,000 calories daily depending on activity level. A McDonald’s Big Mac, medium fries and a vanilla shake equals 1,680 calories, enough for a full day’s caloric intake in one meal.
- Walk the doggie. Dogs love to go for walks and it’s good for their health and yours. Regular walks help you maintain or lose weight and will keep your pet’s weight down as well. If you walk at a moderate pace you can burn 100 calories per mile. Walk three times per day for 15 minutes at a time and voila! 300 calories burned.
- Drop the “clean your plate” mentality, especially when dining out. Restaurant portions are more than oversized, they’re calorie dense and a sure recipe for obesity. People who dine out regularly are more likely to be overweight. The simple answer, don’t eat everything on your plate. Wrap it up and take it home for your next day’s lunch or dinner. When dining at home, serve meals on plates that are fixed in the kitchen. Serving family style makes it easy to reach for additional helpings. Studies show that people eat less when they have to get up to get another serving.
- Skip the low-fat food choices. Low fat foods are typically high in sugar content and calorie density. Low fat diets that are full of fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber foods are a more sensible way to weight loss.
- Eat a variety of foods, but eat the right foods. People who eat a variety of all foods actually have more body fat. Instead of eating a variety of vegetables, most of us eat a variety of junk. People who eat a variety of fruits and vegetable have less body fat and that’s good news for those of us wanting to maintain our weight and our health.
- Think healthy, not skinny. Diet sodas and artificially sweetened foods may have less calories but they are not nutritious. Foods containing phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber cut your risk of disease in addition to your weight.
- Use your scale. Dieters who weigh themselves frequently lose more weight than those who do not. Be sure to weigh yourself at the same time each week as body weight fluctuates from day to day.
- Drink water. Skipping that one soda each day can save you 150 calories. People who drink adequate amounts of water daily lose more weight that those who drink soda or other calorie laden drinks. Water is essential to all body functions so drink up to your own good health and a trimmer waistline.
- Eat enough calories to keep your metabolism humming. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function, your body slows your metabolism and can break down calorie-burning muscle for energy usage. Eat just enough so that you are not hungry. For example, three meals of approximately 450 calories each and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack of 150 calories each should keep you satisfied and prevent overeating later in the day.
- Limit your food intake to an 8 hour day. Artificial light has led to an extension of our feeding times. Late night eating while watching TV can add up to meals number 4, 5 and 6. All those extra calories end up as extra pounds. When we eat can be just as important as what we eat.
- Practice flexible restraint. Allow yourself a cheat meal or snack once in a while. A strict all or nothing approach to dieting has been linked to overeating, weight gain and anxiety. It appears an occasional slip up is okay as long you quickly get back on track.
- Stand up! Standing requires more energy than sitting and is an effortless way to burn calories. Stand up for 10 minutes each hour of your 8 hour work day and you’ll burn an extra 100 calories.
- Remember, any and all activity burns calories. Five or ten minutes here and there all add up to more calories burned. Walking is one the easiest and most natural movements. Taking a short walk at lunchtime helps to relieve stress and maintain focus for the balance of the day. A fifteen minute walk after dinner not only burns calories, it boosts your health as well. Health benefits of an evening walk can include reducing blood pressure, increasing muscular strength, decreasing body fat, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, increasing or maintaining bone density and giving the immune system and your metabolism a boost.
Remember, losing weight over the long term burns excess body fat. Crash dieting, skipping meals, or fasting, removes lean muscle tissue along with fat. The loss of lean muscle causes a fall in your basal metabolic rate, the amount of calories your body needs on a daily basis. As a result, your body will need fewer calories than it did before, making weight gain likely once you stop dieting. To see long term results, introduce changes gradually over an extended period of time and increase your activity levels.
Supplements to aid in weight loss include:
Super HCA by Douglas Laboratories – Each tablet of Super HCA delivers 840 mg of (-) hydroxycitric acid from a high-quality, standardized garcinia cambogia extract. This natural extract comes from a tropical fruit grown in several Asian rain forest areas. Research indicates that (-) hydroxycitric acid plays an important role in the regulation of normal appetite. Unlike many commonly used diet ingredients, (-) hydroxycitric acid is not a central nervous stimulant.
MediBulk (SP621) by Thorne Research – Fiber helps to keep you full, which can make it easier to cut back on the amount of food you eat plus maintain GI tract health. Medibulk contains psyllium, pectin, and prune powder and is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Sweet TRIM by Brightcore Nutrition – This advanced weight loss and energy formula contains green coffee bean, raspberry ketone and African mango. Unlike a single ingredient weight loss product, Sweet TRIM™ is unique in the fact that it has a whole foods-based formula and combines 11 of the top weight loss ingredients found in nature to help with weight loss efforts. This unique formulation creates a synergy that enhances the effectiveness of each ingredient.
CLA by Ortho Molecular – Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) naturally speeds up the body’s fat metabolism as well as helping the body metabolize existing fat deposits. CLA aids in reducing body fat while increasing muscle tone. Made from safflower seed oil.