Struggling with your New Year’s Resolution? If weight loss is your goal, first decide how much weight you want to lose. Then, break it down into bite-size, attainable mini-goals so as not to be overwhelmed. Of course, you aren’t going to lose 30 pounds tomorrow. If very overweight, get clearance from your physician before starting any new regimen. As both diet and exercise are part of the weight loss equation, a personal trainer and/or nutritionist can help you be successful as well. Here are just a few tips to help you take baby steps towards your weight loss goal:
Easy Food Swaps
Eliminate one type of food and watch the pounds melt off. (Hint: The trick is to not replace it with another calorie dense food items).
- Swear off regular, full-fat cheese in favor of low-fat versions and watch the pounds begin to vanish. High flavor, reduced-fat sharp cheddar is a great choice as are low-fat string and cottage cheeses. Don’t ditch cheese altogether. Dairy helps the body retain lean muscle and reduces fat storage by suppressing the hormone, calcitriol that promotes fat storage. It also lowers production of cortisol, the hormone found to increase visceral fat. Lastly, leucine in whey protein builds muscle and burns fat. Not to mention the fact that calcium helps the body metabolize fat more efficiently.
- Swap the daily deli bagel in favor of a whole wheat English muffin and lose up to about a pound in two weeks. The extra fiber will keep you satisfied longer and complex carbohydrate or whole wheat prevents insulin spikes, which tell your body to retain fat.
- Ditch the soda, sweet tea and sugar-laden coffee shop drinks for unsweetened tea, fruit infused water or favored seltzer or mineral water with mint leaves and a citrus twist.
- Avoid items with added sugars. These often contain more than your total daily sugar intake and can quickly stack up throughout the day to result in an excessive sugar overload.
To eat better, pick a day to buy fresh, healthy food every week and schedule time to prepare it. If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen!
- Try one new, healthy recipe a week to keep it exciting and fun.
- Never allow the bag or box of your favorite snack to accompany you to the sofa or bedroom. Put a single portion in a bowl and put away the original packaging. This will help control the amount you consume.
- When traveling, opt for selecting healthy snacks and place them in zip-locks rather than drive thru or convenient store options (water/flavored water, almonds, walnuts, sliced apples, berries…).
- Remember, meals should have a beginning and an end and should be consumed slowly so that every bite is savored. By doing so, you are allowing your body to communicate the “I’m full message to your brain. After dinner, clean up the kitchen and turn off the light to further signal to your brain that the kitchen is now closed.
- Institute a cutoff time for nighttime eating or snacking. This is instrumental in losing weight. If you have a hard time saying no, remind yourself you can have that special item tomorrow, if you still want it. If you decide to snack, opt for healthier choices and when snacking on the not-so-healthy options avoid any items with added sugar and try only serving yourself ¼ of your normal portion to satisfy your craving without overindulging. Sharing the rest of the portion with others instead of keeping it in sight will increase your odds of success!