The equation for weight loss is simple – Eat less and move more. Simple however, does not necessarily mean easy.
I have struggled with height gain most of my adult life. With long winters and cold crappy weather, its easy to lose motivation and start to make unhealthy choices in what I eat and do.
I believe staying healthy is important to be able to enjoy life and feel good about oneself. Like anything it takes persistence. My father used to say good health was like holding onto the tail of a tiger – if you let go it will swing around and grab you.
Here are some habits that have helped me over the years:
If you live in the cold like me it’s easy to pack on the pounds when you feel cold. Your body wants an extra layer of fat to do what a sweater could easily do.
Putting on a pair of slippers or a woolen turtle neck will take away the craving to go to the fridge every couple of minutes.
Eat smaller portions more frequently
When we get very hungry it is already too late. We binge eat and overfill ourselves. 5-6 small meals a day should be the target; every 2 hours. This will help regulate the blood sugar level and reduce the feeling of hunger.
Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants and places that make large servings. I prepare food at home as it is easier to control the portion size and works out a lot cheaper.
Replace sugary snacks with healthy alternatives
Whatever we buy in the supermarket we eat – this is where the victory on healthy eating habits is won. Never go there when you are hungry; the shopping basket will quickly fill up with rubbish.
Fresh fruit is a great alternatives to unhealthy snacks. It releases natural sugar slowly rather than giving the sugar highs and lows. At first it seems a poor substitute but after a couple of weeks you it’s hard to go back.
Drink more water
Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. Adults should be drinking around 3 liters a day. The easiest way to start drinking more water is to get a water bottle and put it by your desk at work. Going to fill it up will be a good excuse to stretch your legs and move around.
The first week will feel a bit forced but very quickly it will become a habit for good. Also by drinking more you will be less inclined to eat as much.
Find other ways to comfort and reward yourself
For many of us, we have developed the habit of rewarding or comforting ourselves with food. Identify these habits and break them – find other ways to reward or comfort yourself. For example, if you feel stressed, buy a stress ball. If you feel sad watch something uplifting or go for a walk.
Reducing the amount we eat will only do so much – to shed the pounds we need get active. Looking for new ways to move can be as little as walking the stairs instead of the lift or riding a bike instead of taking the car.
The best thing I did in this regard was to get a dog – he get’s me out of the house for a walk 3 times a day. If you don’t have a dog to walk and you don’t want to walk alone, borrow the neighbors dog.
Moving is always more fun when it is something you enjoy – dancing, jogging, basketball or swimming – whatever takes your fancy.