For so many of us, having a healthy relationship with food and fitness is a struggle. With so many different extreme fad diets popping up all the time, it’s hard to know which will benefit us instead of causing long-term damage to our bodies. It’s always good to have fitness experts’ advice if you want to lose weight by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen. There are, however, a few daily habits that will help you lose weight and get you into shape without you ever having to break a sweat.
Here are eight weight loss tips, approved by scientists, which promises to set you on the path super fitness and health.
Plan your meals
Thinking through exactly what and when you’re going to eat your meals can make you more likely to stick to your diet goals, according to a study in Psychology and Health. In a study designed to encourage healthy eating, all participants ate more fruit for a week, but those who made a concrete plan, wrote it down, and visualised how they were going to carry out the action — when, where, and how they would buy, prepare, and eat fruit — ate twice as much fruit as those who simply tried harder.
Sweat it out
As virtuous as that 60-minute gym workout feels, “it’s difficult to exercise off weight,” Dr. Anupam Dey, a Kolkata-based dietician says. “All the evidence shows that you need to reduce calorie intake to lose weight.” But aside from its benefits for cardiovascular and mental health, exercise is key after you’ve dropped several kilos, because “your muscles compensate by burning fewer calories,” Dr. Dey warns. A mix of cardio and toning five times a week will keep the metabolism humming.
Show some skin
If you feel warm, don’t fight the urge to wear a pair of shorts — it may help prevent you from indulging. “Studies show that women who wear loose-fitting clothes eat more,” Dr. Dey says.
Dr. Dey notes that unprocessed whole foods “require more energy to break down and digest than refined foods, so you burn more calories when you eat them.” Simple swaps — brown rice instead of white, an apple instead of bottled juice — can make a significant difference over time in overall body fat.
Eat off small plates
An ice-cream buffet was the setting for one study led by Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. Nutrition professors and grad students were given either 17 or 34-ounce bowls and two or three-ounce scoops. People with the oversize bowls served themselves about 31% more than the small-bowl groups did. And those who had big scoops and big bowls served 57% more than those with small ones.
Avoid ‘diet’ foods sweetened with sugar alcohols
They can cause stomach bloating. And it’s not just food; even many sugar-free gums and breath mints contain the culprits.
Studies show that caffeine speeds up metabolism, as do coffee’s polyphenols, according to researchers from Japan’s Kao Corporation. (Just remember that you can undo the effects if your coffee is covered in whipped cream and caramel.)
Get a good night’s sleep
In a recent study, 10 overweight volunteers went on a diet while sleeping 8.5 hours a night for two weeks and just 5.5 hours per night for another couple of weeks. (During the day, their diet and activity levels were exactly the same.) In both cases, the average weight loss was 2.9kg, but when the group slept less, they lost less fat (0.5kg versus 1.3kg), and felt hungrier.