Eat this. Don’t eat that. Do this. Don’t do that. When you’re looking to jumpstart weight loss, sifting through online advice and narrowing a plan of attack down to several actionable steps can be the hardest part.
This is especially true for those who lead busy lives. You have work, family and other obligations to worry about. A major life overhaul just isn’t in the cards.
To make it easy, we offer 13 simple tweaks you can make for the next 21 days to help you start your weight-loss journey.
1. Eat breakfast everyday
Skipping breakfast won’t help you lose weight.
You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
2. Eat regular meals
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate.
It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetable
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss.
They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
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4. Move more
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing numerous health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut through diet alone.
5. Drink plenty of water
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger.
You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
6. Eat high-fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you to feel full, which is perfect for losing weight.
Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
7. Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options.
Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
8. Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions.
By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry.
It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
9. Don’t cut out foods
Don’t ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like.
Banning foods will only make you crave them more.
10. Get rid of all junk food
To avoid temptation, try to not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home.
Better yet, clear out all of your junk food in your cabinet right now.
Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
11. Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate.
Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
12. Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance.
13. Get proper sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full.
So, sleep more and sleep well.