If losing weight is your goal, hear this: you won’t do it through starvation, obsessively counting calories or just wishing that magically a few kilos might evaporate into thin air. You know the drill: move more, eat well, sleep 8 hours and repeat. It’s a simple formula, but it’s not easy to practice. Things get in the way of your gym time, you don’t have chance to eat a proper meal because you worked late, the kids asked for a chocolate cake (and you had to taste-test) and so on…it’s called life.
Healthy living needs to be approached as a sustainable lifestyle change rather than a quick-fix diet or exercise plan, there are a few small tricks than can help along the way. The little one-percenters that can really start to add up over the course of a week!
I’m not inhuman – like everyone I’ve been guilty of mindless eating. I get bored, I reach for a snack. I get sad, I reach for a snack. I turn on the TV, I reach for a snack. I’m anxious, I reach for….well, you get it. Mindless snacking can be surprisingly detrimental to your weight loss (or maintenance) goals, so I’ve listed a few tips below that have had the biggest impact on my cookie-jar tendencies.
Stick with it for a few weeks and you will notice a difference.
1. DON’T HANG OUT IN THE KITCHEN
For many the kitchen is the heart of the home, but that doesn’t mean you need to be in there all the time. Enjoy the space for prepping and enjoying your food, and then move to other parts of the house. You don’t need a TV in the kitchen, or your laptop, or anything else that’s going to make it more appealing to be in there longer than you need to be. Relaxing around food can recipe for disaster.
2. DON’T KEEP FOOD OUT ON COUNTERS
Food within easy reach will just prompt you to question whether you want a taste. Your body will tell you when it’s good and ready for more food, so why leave it on display? You won’t forget to eat, I promise.
3. DOWNSIZE YOUR PLATES
This one may seem simple, but it really does impact your waistline. If you have big bowls and plates, you’re more likely to serve bigger portions. Opt for smaller dishes and save yourself the stomach ache. You can always go back for a little more if you’re left hungry after your meal.
4. WRAP UP LEFTOVERS
Don’t leave food open to the elements (and your hands). Wrapping it up in foil or cling wrap will mean you have to consciously unwrap it to eat it – a little deterrent for wandering hands.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR PANTRY
While I’m a total advocate of treating yourself to something you love every once in a while, it’s not something you need constant access to. Buy ‘treat’ food on the day you plan to enjoy it, and keep it out of the house at other times. Don’t mess with temptation – it’s tiring, and somehow always seems to win!
6. DONT DEPRIVE YOURSELF
Snacking can be a healthy way to keep your metabolism humming along. Stock up on sweet, HEALTHY snacks that can kick your sweet tooth when you need them. Try a date stuffed with peanut butter, or a chocolate protein shake with a little cinnamon.
7. PRESENT FOOD ON PLATES, NOT FROM SERVING BOWLS
This is great tip if you’re prone to lots of helpings. Portion on the food on your plate, and leave it at that. Having bowls of leftovers in front of you while you’re waiting for your first helping to hit your stomach is a bad idea. Give yourself 20 minutes after your first serving before deciding if you really need more food. Chances are, you won’t.