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Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

5 simple steps to start losing weight

Written: 06/22/2008

Weight loss can be an intimidating process, but it doesn't have to be. If you're trying to slim down, small steps can lead to big results. The easy adjustments below will help you lose pounds without overwhelming you.

  1. Don't drink your calories
    You'd be amazed at how many calories are hiding in your sodas, alcohol, or sports drinks. And worse yet, studies show that calories you drink don't satisfy your hunger nearly as well as food, so you most likely won't eat less food to compensate. Toss out those sodas and switch to good ole' fashioned water. Not only will you save hundreds of calories a day, but you'll feel better and have more energy.

  2. Incorporate exercise into your daily life
    If you're someone who has trouble motivating to go to the gym, or you just don't have time to dedicate solely to working out, try slipping exercise into your everyday life. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Walk or bike to work. Park as far away as possible in the parking lot. Or one of my favorite exercise-at-work tips, rather than sitting in a conference room, see if the person you are meeting with is up for a walk instead. You can often be just as productive while walking and get healthier at the same time.

  3. Choose a time to stop eating every night
    Eating at night is when most mindless eating occurs - when you're eating not from hunger, but out of habit. And worse still, you're not expending any extra energy at night because you're watching TV, sleeping, or reading a book, so the calories you consume just sit there. Break the habit by choosing a time each night that you won't eat after, say 8pm. You'll automatically be cutting down your calorie intake, and as an added benefit, you'll sleep better.

  4. Make simple food substitutions
    There are lots of food pairs with radically different nutritional values. Choose the right one and you can cut your calorie intake significantly without a major change to your diet. Try these simple swaps and watch the pounds drop off:

    • Mustard (15 calories/tbsp) instead of mayonnaise (100 calories/tbsp)
    • Nonfat milk (10 calories/2 tbsp) instead of half-and-half (40 calories/2 tbsp)
    • Fat-free dressing (15 calories/2 tbsp) instead of a creamy dressing (100 calories/2 tbsp)
    • Unbuttered popcorn (60 calories/2 cups) instead of buttered popcorn (175 calories/2 cups)

  5. Always eat breakfast
    Studies show that the simple act of eating breakfast can help keep you slimmer. Eating breakfast not only jump starts your metabolism for the day, but also makes your body feel nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day. Choose healthy foods like whole-grain cereals, low-fat dairy like low-fat yogurt or skim-milk, lean protein like eggs or turkey bacon, fruit, and nuts.
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