10 Ways to Lose Weight: Small Changes that Can Reap Big Rewards
You know, you really are what you eat. And when it comes to your appearance, you are also what you don't. Losing weight is a huge challenge, but there are little habits you can train yourself to pick up that can help you along the way. That one or two pounds could mean a lot to you next time you step on the scale.
- Don't drink soda. And for that matter, don't drink anything but water. If you exercise and burn 500 calories per day, it takes about one week to lose a pound. One can of soda has approximately 200 calories in it. That means you're setting yourself back almost 1/2 a pound per week. What's worse? They are empty calories. Take a look at the calorie count next time you go to take a sip of something sweet, and ask yourself, "Is this really worth it?"
- Use spices. Next time you go to put ranch dressing on your chicken or french fries, check your spice cabinet for something yummy. See what's in there and get creative! You can even substitute salsa, which is naturally low-fat, if you still love to dip your food in sauces.
- Cut the sides. Do you really need to fill half your plate with butter-covered rice? What about one spoonful? Or two with no butter? The main intrigue of your dish should be the meat lying in the middle of it, not the greasy, buttery side that you put on the plate to fill you up.
- Make special trips for junk food. It's probably unrealistic to cut junk food out of your diet entirely. But, you can change the way you buy it. If you have to have it, only get it on a one-at-a-time basis. Don't buy the economy size at the grocery store because you know you'll want it later. Instead, get it only when you crave it bad enough to go to the store and get that 99-cent one-serving size. And, don't stop by on your way home and get it; Make a special trip to get it. That way, you'll make it harder on yourself to satisfy that craving, and you'll make having it more of an event. Also, there is a good chance you'll decide it's easier to make do with a healthy substitute you can put in your fridge, like carrots, raisins, or nuts.
- Chew slowly. Contrary to popular belief, your food will not run away from you. Nor will someone take it. Allow yourself to chew slowly and take smaller bites. Pay attention to the way it tastes and your body's response to it. Your body will tell you when you have had enough.
- Cut the cheese. No, I mean literally. Next time you order a sandwich with cheese on it, pay close attention to whether you can even taste the cheese at all. Take off a slice and see if you still like the sandwich. One slice of cheese can have about 100 calories in it. (See this calorie counter.) Remember the pound a week equation? One piece of cheese per day and you are already 1/5 further away from your goal. If you are going to have cheese, make it worth it.
- Ignore the rolls. When you go out to eat, keep your greedy fingers away from those rolls. On average, you will have to wait only 10-15 minutes for the real deal -- the actual food you are paying for -- to come out. Sit and deal with it. If it's too much torture, ask your waitress not to.
- Put your napkin on your plate. As soon as you think you are finished eating, put your napkin on your plate or throw it away. Then you won't be tempted to pick at that now-cold latent 500 calories that still sits there. Picking at food is a very easy way to gain weight and it can confuse your stomach into thinking you are never full, making it a lot harder to control yourself later.
- Cut the butter. Cut the sauce, too. Whenever you put a topping or any other additive on your food, put less of it than you think you need. If you need more once you start eating, get it when you have taken a bite or two. See if you get used to -- and maybe even enjoy -- the flavor of the food itself, without the fattening extras.
- Put less on your plate. Are you sure you want four chicken fingers and not just three? Are you worried three won't fill you up? Why don't you just take the chance and see how it goes with three, then go get the fourth after you are done. You will be surprised at how easily you might feel full.
If these tips seem overwhelming, try adding one tip to your habits each week. Start by eliminating soda, then cut out the rolls. Or, try one per month. See how you do. Have faith in yourself that you can achieve your goals and find out what works for you. You'll never know until you try.
Do you have any tips for people who want to lose weight? What other habits can people change? Or, have you tried using any of these methods, and did they work? We want to hear about it!