Everyone tries to lose weight at some point. No doubt you’ve tried it, too, and suddenly found that everyone’s an ‘expert’. Though friends and family have the best of intentions, their advice is more often than not contradictory and confusing. Work out more, never finish your meal, go carb-free, never eat in the evening, snack often, only eat once a day, go protein-only, never miss breakfast, go on a fat-free diet, eat three meals every day, etc.
That’s easy for them to say, right? They don’t have your stubborn muffin top. Well, neither would you if you tried our five simple weight loss tips. So, let’s shed some light on what every adult can do to shed those extra pounds naturally.
1. Get a Gadget
However intense your daily levels of physical activity, for you to get a good idea of how many calories you burn, you need a fitness tracker. It’s very easy to overestimate the calories you lose each day, especially if you exercise. Most people only burn between 200 and 600 kilocalories when they work out for an hour, for instance. That’s roughly the equivalent of a 50g to 150 g slice of chocolate cake in calories. A fitness tracker would give you a more precise figure.
2. Sleep Well, Feel Full
Ours is a 24-hour society, but we all need some shut-eye. Sleep is your body’s way of regulating your hormonal levels. Glucose, insulin, cortisol, and ghrelin (the ‘hunger hormone’) are very important to our metabolism. When there’s an imbalance, the weight gain is immediate. Studies have shown that people who sleep five hours or less are far more likely to gain tens of pounds within weeks and even become obese. A Harvard report cites various studies proving that there’s a link between sleep deprivation and obesity. So, make sure you never miss bedtime.
3. Don’t Diet; Use Smaller Plates
Believe it or not, many nutritionists suggest that you buy smaller plates to eat less. The idea is based on optical illusion – the Delboeuf Illusion, to be more specific. When you place the same amount of food on two different-sized plates, the relative visual perception will make the smaller plate look fuller. This means that you can get away with one of two things. You can try serving yourself a slightly smaller portion in a smaller plate at mealtime, or you can serve yourself just as much food, but not finish it all. If you have a habit of eating everything on your plate, then you should go with the first option.
4. Cook Up a Storm and Personalize your Menu
The surest way to eat less salt, sugar, and fat than you’d eat at most restaurants is to cook your own meals. To save time, pre-cook your food for the week. It only takes an hour or so to roast some meat, steam some vegetables and boil some rice or pasta. Freeze them or store them so they last you the whole week, using basic items like metal foil and vitamin C tablets (a natural food preservative), for instance. Then take your daily portions and turn them into soups, stir fries, burritos and whatever else you feel like having that day.
5. Swap Salt for Spices
Salt is an essential ingredient in most foods, and giving up on salt altogether can be just as damaging as taking too much salt. However, many of the meals and snacks available commercially are brimming with sodium, and salt intake is associated with obesity. The solution? Swapping sodium-rich products for spicy food can help curb your appetite and make you a little bit happier. That’s because the capsaicin in chilies triggers the release of endorphins in the brain.