I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food” – Erma Bombeck
So, the holidays are over, and you’re left with a confusing combination of satisfaction, guilt, and clothes that don’t fit. It might have been totally worth it, but you know one thing – you need to shed those pounds before Christmas (and not just because you’re going to binge again). But how do you do it without totally depriving yourself of every morsel that makes you happy? Well, here are some tips.
Set realistic goals
Realise that losing a MAXIMUM of one or two pounds a week is all that’s doable a) safely and b) without depriving yourself to the point that you go on a senseless ice-cream binge a couple of weeks in.
Drink lots of water
It helps you feel full, and people often mistake thirst for hunger, which leads to a disturbing combination of dehydration and mindless snacking – both terrible for weight loss. Sip a little water before and during your meals, to add a little volume to your intake and prevent you from overeating.
Eat less, more
Try light, frequent meals, say around 5 times a day. It’ll keep your appetite down, keep you energetic and happy, and burn calories through digestion, as well!
Try using salsa to add flavour instead of mayo, olive oil or butter instead of refined vegetable oils, stevia or palm sugar instead of sugar to sweeten your coffee. Switch from white bread to brown, and avoid processed foods whenever there’s a natural alternative.
Plan for cheat meals
You need to be able to indulge now and then. Plan for, say, every 1 meal in 10 to be an ‘indulgence’ occasion. You’ll feel less deprived, and it won’t do too much damage.
Cut down on the booze
Even if you don’t drink much, alcohol is a source of empty calories – yes, it hurts to admit it, doesn’t it? A pint of beer has over 150 calories, and don’t even get us started on creamy/sugary cocktails. The cold hard truth is that if you’re trying to lose weight, you should stick to water for a while.
Soft drinks contain ridiculous amounts of sugar, which is what makes you put on weight (yes, even those extra carbs that make you plump up get converted to sugar in your body first).
Eat a little more protein
People who eat high-protein breakfasts and lunches feel less hungry at their next meal – it prolongs your feeling of fullness and satisfaction. As a bonus, protein burns more calories to digest! As with anything else, don’t overdo it, though. Yoghurt, soy, turkey breast, and cottage cheese are what we’re talking about – not large quantities of beef burgers.
Cut down on meal sizes
Pack a quarter or a third of your meal when you eat out, and try and cut out the same amount when you serve yourself at home. You’ll exclude a significant number of calories, and decrease your appetite at the same time – win-win.
Keep calm and carry on
People tend to binge when they’re stressed and under pressure. Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing or therapeutic workouts if you’re having trouble beating stress. Studies have found that women who secrete the most cortisol, the stress hormone, eat the most high-fat food afterwards. The resulting cocktail of insulin and cortisol knocks your body into famine mode and causes it to store fat – just what you don’t need.
So, there you have it…
Ten simple ways to cut down on calories without going on drastic diets or depriving yourself of too many goodies. Sorry about the pop and alcohol, though. It’ll all be worth it in the end!