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Losing weight can be difficult and many diet and weight loss plans are restrictive, unsociable and expensive. However, simple, small changes can make a big difference to your weight loss and here are some of the easiest ways to lose weight healthily.
Remember, the more of these suggestions you can do, the easier it will be to lose weight, the idea is to burn more calories, whilst at the same time eating less.
1. Eat smaller portions
Smaller portions equals less calories in your diet, so simply start by reducing all your portions by a third. Using smaller plates may help to make this a less daunting procedure.
2. Choose low fat products
Lower fat products often have less calories than full fat varieties. Products such as dairy foods and their alternatives are a good place to start, just make sure that the fat has not been replaced with sugar as this may make the lower fat version even higher in calories than the full fat product.
3. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are packed full of nutrients and low in calories, so by filling up on these you will need to eat less high calorie foods. Fruit makes an excellent snack or sweet treat, whilst vegetables should make up the largest part of your plate at each meal. (See also: How to get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet)
4. Eat more fiber
Fiber helps to fill us up, which tends to mean you need to eat less and will stay full for longer, meaning you eat less calories overall. It is also excellent for heart and bowel health. (See also: How much fiber you should eat per day)
5. Move more
To burn more calories in your day move whenever you get the chance. This can be organized exercise or even incidental activity such as riding a bike or walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or window shopping during your lunch break rather than sitting at your desk.
6. Drink more water
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so whenever you feel hungry, it is a good idea to drink some water to see if it is truly hunger you are experiencing. Water can also help to fill you up and contains no calories so is the perfect drink to hydrate yourself.
7. Keep a food record
Writing down everything you eat on a daily basis can help you to become more aware of what you are eating and lets you see where you might be going wrong on your diet. Many people are surprised at how many extra calories slip into their diet without them noticing.
8. Drink less alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are high in calories, both from the alcohol itself and the added sugars and carbohydrates that are often preset as well. It is easy to drink a lot of calories through alcohol which provide no nutritional benefit and only provide extra energy. Not only this but after a few drinks you are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and feel hunger that is brought on by the alcohol, adding even more extra calories.
9. Increase you exercise intensity or duration
Exercising at a higher intensity or for longer will burn more calories. Short sprints with rests between are a good way to burn calories, especially if you are short on time. If you have time for a longer workout, throwing in a few short, fast bursts throughout your workout can also be beneficial in burning more calories.
10. Do resistance training
Increasing muscle mass by doing resistance training such as weights or body weight training raises you metabolism and causes you to burn more calories. It also improves your appearance by toning your body.
11. Eat low GI
Low GI foods keep your blood sugar levels more steady and avoid large peaks and drops in blood glucose. This keeps you fuller for longer and stops cravings for sweet foods that can occur when you eat higher GI foods.
12. Eat lean protein at every meal
Studies have suggested that including lean protein in your diet can help you to stay fuller for longer and therefore be beneficial for weight loss. Be careful that you don’t overdo the protein though, as it still contributes calories and will cause weight gain if eaten in excess.
13. Don’t skip breakfast
People who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day when they become very hungry. Those who eat a healthy breakfast made up of low fat protein, low GI carbohydrates and fruit or vegetables tend to eat less overall and choose healthier options throughout the day and therefore eat less calories and find it easier to lose weight.
14. Get plenty of sleep
Those who get too little sleep tend to find it harder to lose weight as they are more likely to choose unhealthy options due to tiredness and the effect this has on your hormones. People who sleep less also have less energy to work out and can miss out on burning calories that way too.
15. Eat more slowly
By eating too fast you are not giving your body time to register when it is full. Eat slowly and chew your food properly and you are more likely to eat less and you also give your body time to send the message to your brain to stop eating as it is full. Always wait 20 minutes after a meal before going back for seconds to assess if you are really still hungry.
16. Don’t skip meals
As with skipping breakfast, people who skip meals tend to make less healthy choices and overeat due to intense hunger after having not eaten for so long. Having smaller frequent meals every few hours can often mean you end up consuming fewer calories than if you eat only one massive meal in the day.
17. Avoid high calorie drinks
High calorie drinks such as sodas and juice add a lot of extra calories to your diet and do not fill you up much. Although fruit juice provides some vitamins, it provides much less fibre than a whole piece of fruit and many more calories per serve. Sodas provide no nutritional value, but a huge amount of calories, so choosing water instead is your best bet.
18. Avoid highly processed foods
Highly processed commercial foods are often high in fat, sugar and calories. They can also contain flavors and additives that may make the foods more addictive and easy to overeat. By cooking your own food from scratch as much as possible and using fresh whole foods, you know exactly what you are eating and you can modify recipes to contain fewer calories.
19. Think about what you are eating
Turn off the TV, disconnect from the internet, take a break from work and focus on what you are putting in your mouth when you are eating. Mindless eating whilst doing other things tends to lead to overeating and consuming more calories.
20. Treat yourself occasionally
Being super strict with your diet often leads to a total breakdown and binge like behaviors on the wrong types of foods. By allowing yourself a little of what you fancy every now and again you are less likely to give in and completely blow your healthy eating regime. (See also: How to stop binge eating).