Tighten Your Belt
I don’t mean cost cutting, but in a way if you try to put on half a straight jacket to control your eating habits then you will have saved some money by avoiding ridiculous portions you really didn’t have to eat. If you want to lose a few kilograms and an inch or two around the waist, but are not too happy about rigorous gym sessions and steering away from your favorite sweet temptations then here are some trimming tips that worked for me.
1. Watch your weight
Buy a weighing scale if you don’t already have one and monitor your weight every day. Watching if your weight increases or decreases helps to keep you motivated to maintain your target weight and gives you the psychological push not to binge unnecessarily. You could also use a tape measure to check if you’ve been successful in losing the stubborn fat around your waist, but this is something you can do on a weekly basis until you are satisfied with the result.
2. Split a meal for one into two
Ordering food from outside is usually a channel for overeating as servings are quite substantial and you tend to eat more even though you are already full so as not to waste food that you paid for. Most people order food for lunch when at work. If you have a friend at the office with whom you share a similar taste in food ask them if they would like to share a meal with you. Surely they wouldn’t mind if they themselves would also like to shed a few.
3. Keep your snacks away from view
Snacking throughout the day is better than having one heavy meal in one seating as it makes you bloated. However, too much snacking can also do you harm. You can stock up on snacks but keep them in a drawer or cabinet so that they are not always lined up in front of you. That way you are conscious that you do have snacks that you can munch on from time to time but you don’t end up finishing them in one full sweep which would be the case if they are well within sight and reach.
4. Don’t eat after 8 pm
This is a rule that even I find difficult to follow but it does help. Eating before 8pm means that you don’t go to bed on a full stomach. While you sleep your body stays dormant with no activity hence you do not burn any fat to convert to energy and the process of digestion slows down. If you must eat dinner and cannot have it earlier, just eat light and at least 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
5. Stay away from fatty clothes
Yes, you read right, it’s fatty clothes, though staying away from fatty foods is always an advantage. When you find that you’ve gained some weight and have to hold your breath or do the jump-and-shake-your-booty dance just to get into your jeans, don’t go to the mall and buy a new pair that is an easier fit. You’re only giving yourself the liberty to gain which you’ll soon want to kick yourself in the rear for. Hang on to your skinny jeans and by all means make sure they fit every time. Now if you’ve got a baby bump or have just given birth that can excuse you for at least 6 months as you carry the baby to term and another 3 months after delivery, then if you really want to get back into shape, take those fatty clothes, put them in a box, seal it, hide it, and forget it (unless you decide to have another baby).
6. Walk when you can
Brisk walking on the treadmill or a 3 kilometer equivalent at the park for 30 minutes daily (but give yourself at least one rest day in a week) makes certain that you are burning fat as your body uses up energy for the walk. Also, if you want to go somewhere just a few blocks from your present location, reduce your carbon footprint by not taking the car and taking a walk. However, as summer kicks in and the sunlight becomes more harsh than pleasant especially in this part of the world, best take precaution and stay indoors until late afternoon before the sun sets.
7. Drink lots of water
I’ve never really had the discipline of drinking water, as I had become accustomed to sodas and other such drinks. But since I needed a cleanse, I started drinking water more often and now I’m down to drinking just 1 to 2 sodas a month. Drinking lots of water (about 8 to 10 glasses or 1.5 liters a day) increases your metabolism to break down fat. It will also multiply the number of times you have to visit the restroom, but this is beneficial in cleaning out your system getting rid of toxins, and results in healthier skin. While at the office keep a large 1.5 liter bottle of water on your desk so you don’t forget to drink it. Also, water helps nullify your sudden cravings in the middle of the day as it gives you a sense of being full as you wait for your actual meal time to arrive.
8. Never starve yourself
Loosing weight doesn’t mean you need to cut yourself off from food completely, by doing so you tend to make yourself hungrier which may cause you to surrender with a Big Mac, large fries, large Coke, apple pie and a chocolate fudge sundae at the end of a hunger strike. Starving yourself is very unhealthy as your body does not receive enough nutrition and cannot produce energy to get you through the day, hence you are at risk of feeling exhausted or collapsing and being unable to function with your full mental capacity. Eat in moderation and take care of your body.
9. Keep yourself occupied
Idle hands are a devil’s workshop. If you are alone at home all day and have nothing to do, you’ll end up rummaging through the fridge for something to eat and sleeping at odd hours of the day. The best way to take your mind off food is to focus on something else that does not involve eating. Write a blog (I started this blog for a reason!), read a book, go out with a friend or organize your belongings.
10. Make deadlines
It helps to set goals as the pressure to achieve results will give you the push to be better in following through, as opposed to your previously futile attempts run by mere haphazard longing. Whether you’re slimming down for a special occasion to look fabulous in that figure-hugging little black dress or for a tropical vacation to show off your beach body without love handles breaking at the seams of your bathing suit, make a deadline and meet it.
So, that was my two cents. Having been skinny my whole life through till college I was depressed when I gained more than expected after I started working. Now with my upcoming wedding (the ultimate deadline) I put my foot down and decided to salvage my body. Going by my gradual weight loss plan now I have reached my target weight, and I am following the same techniques to maintain it. To my delight I dropped a jean size and tightened my belt by 2 belt holes, though unfortunately (little did I know that even feet had fat) some of my shoes have become a tad loose so I’ve had to put in an extra sole to prevent myself from tripping as I walk, but that’s a small price to pay for feeling lighter.
One man’s meat is another man’s poison, so what works for me may not work for you. You might want to consult a nutritionist, research on different weight loss programs online, join a fitness club, or hire a personal trainer to get you on the right track.