Let’s face it, nobody likes going on a diet. Dieting is often associated with deprivation and denying yourself most of the foods that you commonly enjoy. It takes a deficit of 500 calories every day to lose 1 pound a week. Yes, this sounds like a lot, but with some simple lifestyle adjustments, you can easily achieve this. All you really need is the knowledge and determination to do it.
Eat Smaller Portions
With restaurant portions seemingly getting bigger by the minute, it’s not difficult to sabotage your diet in one sitting. To prevent this from happening, try cooking your meals at home more often, so you can control the ingredients. Also, eat and drink from smaller bowls, plates and cups so you fool your brain into thinking that you’re eating a lot of food when you really aren’t.
Replace High-Calorie Foods
Replacing foods that have a lot of calories with healthy foods with fewer calories can help you lose weight. Read food labels so you can compare nutritional contents and make healthy choices. You can, for instance, replace a 200-calorie, sugar-laden soda with sparkling water, which doesn’t have any calories. Replacing a glass of whole milk with a glass of skim milk can also save you 65 calories. Instead of 3 ounces of tortilla chips, eating 3 ½ cups of air-popped popcorn can spare you about 300 calories.
By burning calories with exercise, you can ease up on your dietary calorie restriction. If you burn 250 calories a day by exercising, you only have to reduce your caloric intake from food by 250 calories to accumulate 500 calories. This can be as easy as skipping the morning doughnut and replacing the afternoon specialty coffee drink with a cup of regular coffee or tea. Aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises a week to lose weight, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Plan and Schedule
When it comes to diet and exercise, having a set schedule can keep you from “falling off the wagon.” Planning your snacks and meals ahead of time can ensure that you don’t eat too many calories. You’ll always have healthy snacks at hand when cravings occur, making it less likely that you’ll sabotage your diet. Working exercise into your schedule as if it’s an important business meeting can prevent you from skipping it. By scheduling exercise into your days, you can’t make excuses that you don’t have the time.
Have Treats in Moderation
If a diet is too strict, you’re more likely to give up on it or to give into unhealthy cravings. By treating yourself every now and then, you can prevent this. If you crave a cookie, have one, just don’t eat the whole pack. If you can’t get chips out of your head, have a few, but don’t eat the whole bag. Even if you do give into a craving and “fall off the wagon,” don’t let it get you down; get right back into your weight-loss regimen.
Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, but sleeping can promote weight loss. By getting enough sleep, which means seven to eight hours each night, you regulate hormones in your body that would otherwise act up and trigger cravings for unhealthy foods that are high in carbs and fat. Not getting enough sleep affects the body’s appetite-controlling hormones known as leptin and ghrelin. During your waking hours, you’ll end up with hard-to-combat cravings that can ruin your weight-loss progress.
Mayo Clinic: Weight Loss
American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss
Harvard School of Public Health: Sleep