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1. Set healthy goals.
â€¨Before you slash calories or jump into a new fitness regimen, draft a list of goals that you wish to attain. Whether it's being able to jog for 20 minutes, wearing a bathing suit on vacation or simply maintaining good health, it's important to remind yourself of what it is that's driving your diet and exercise changes. Keeping your goals and targets front and centre can help you kick off your weight loss journey with inspired determination.
2. Look to Canada's Food Guide for healthy meal choices.
Eating sensibly doesn't have to lead to tasteless meals, hunger pangs and dinnertime boredom. Have you looked at Canada's Food Guide lately? You'll be amazed by the wealth of choices and the amount of food that the guide recommends you eat each day. The guide's daily portion recommendations for fruit, veggies, dairy, meat and grains create the perfect healthy eating plan, and there's no fear that you'll go hungry. When you adjust your focus to nutrition-rich choices, you'll lose a few pounds during the switch, too.
3. Cut 500 calories a day.
Losing weight is actually a simple equation: burn more calories than you take in. According to the Mayo Clinic, 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. If you cut 500 calories each day for a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories), you could lose a pound a week. By simply walking more often, you can eliminate those 500 calories even faster. Attach a pedometer to your belt and aim for 4,000 steps per day. You'll be surprised how quickly the steps accumulate. And remember, even small bursts of activity add up.
4. Keep a food journal.
A 2012 study published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who kept food diaries lost more weight than people who didn't. Journals allowed users to review their progress and gain motivation from past successes. Thanks to smartphone technology, tracking your meals, exercise and weight is easy peasy. Just download a free app for your iPhone or Android (such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It!) and a convenient weight-loss diary is yours 24-7. To reap the benefits, enter information each day – and be 100 per cent honest. Fibbing about portion sizes or condiments won't lead to a slimmer you.
5. Drink a glass of water before eating.
If you have a tendency to eat large portions at each meal, drink a glass of water before you dine. This refreshing pause will trick your stomach into feeling full and help curb your appetite. The result? You won't feel as ravenous and will eat less each time you enjoy a meal.
6. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit.
Craving a sugary kick during the day? Satisfy sweet cravings with berries. Portable, tasty and oh-so good for you, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and even cherries pack plenty of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavour without the figure-destroying sugar and fat. These sweet and healthy treats will also benefit your skin, mood and energy levels, as well as your weight-loss plan. Opting for colourful berries over a chocolate bar or bag of chips is a one-way ticket to snacking supremacy – and a smaller dress size.
7. Replace calorie-laden drinks with water.
This is one of our favourite weight-loss tips: You can nix sneaky calories, boost your hydration and trim your waist by replacing juice, coffee, alcohol or pop with water. Not only will you avoid the consumption of empty calories, but you'll also skip the extra sugar and caffeine. Reach for water for a full week and you'll easily eliminate 1,000 calories or more from your diet. For an added bonus, think of the money you'll save, too!
8. Eat slowly.
Not only does gobbling your food lead to indigestion, it can also lead to piling on the pounds. A study unveiled at a 2011 meeting of the Obesity Society found that people who ate quickly were more likely to have higher body mass indexes (BMIs) than individuals who dined in a relaxed fashion. When you devour food quickly your stomach doesn't have time to recognize when it is full, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Savour each bite, taking the time to truly enjoy your meal and keep the extra pounds off.
9. Replace TV time with workout time.
Turn off the TV and shed some pounds. A study by the University of Vermont discovered that by halving their daily amount of television watching, overweight individuals burned an extra 120 calories per day. Television viewing consumes fewer calories than the majority of other leisure activities, including reading, phone conversations and writing. To accelerate weight loss, replace TV time with exercise and say goodbye to your couch potato–induced muffin top and wobbly bits.
10. Stay motivated.
A healthy diet and exercise plan requires one other key ingredient: motivation. If you lose the drive to eat well or break a sweat, no amount of fancy fitness gadgets or nutritious recipes – or weight-loss tips – will help you drop those pounds. It's easy (and normal) to become discouraged when you hit a slimming plateau. To bust through this weight-loss wall, first review your progress. Losing weight is a major accomplishment and you did it! Bask in your achievement and then start to set new, reachable goals.