Most weight loss diets look promising on paper but fail miserably in practice. Some are too restrictive and boring, while others are expensive and impractical. Finding a diet that actually works – without leaving you hungry or irritable – can seem like an impossible task. If you’re set on achieving sustainable weight loss, it’s no secret that you’ll have to reduce your calorie intake. Depending on your goals, it’s possible to cut 100 to 500 calories a day without impacting upon your mood or well-being. This approach works much better than faddy diets in the long run and allows for greater flexibility.
The following tips will help you to cut calories painlessly and lose weight without impacting upon your quality of life.
Make smart food swaps
With a little creativity, you can slash calories without sacrificing flavour. To do so, replace whole dairy with fat-free or low fat versions. Even something as simple as using mustard instead of mayonnaise can shave 100 calories from your meal. Trade indulgent desserts for Greek yogurt and berries. Eat poached eggs instead of fried eggs. Snack on fruits instead of chocolate. Choose lean meat over bacon, sausages and deli meats and substitute sugary cereals for whole grains. These simple food swaps may not seem much, but when combined they have the potential to drastically reduce your calorie intake and improve your health.
Get more fibre
Oats, lentils, green leafy vegetables and other high-fibre foods increase satiety and curb hunger. By including them in your diet, you’ll be inclined to eat less throughout the day. Dietary fibre can add bulk to your meals, keeping you full for longer. It also slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, improves digestion and increases chewing. Starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal can make all the difference.
Don’t drink your calories
Soft drinks, energy drinks, cocktails and many takeaway hot drinks pack a ton of calories and sugar. Some have as many as 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Fruit juices aren’t much better either; since they have no pulp or fibre, the sugar goes directly into your system. There is one exception to this rule – the protein shake. A quality protein source such as Healthy Whey is naturally low in calories and fortified with fibre. As a result, you’ll feel fuller and be less inclined to snack between meals. If you want to lose weight, don’t drink your calories unless they come in the form of protein. Stick to water, herbal tea and the occasional cup of coffee.
Lack of sleep increases hunger and cravings. Hitting the hay might just be the easiest and most pleasurable way to cut calories. In doing so, you’ll rebalance your body and gain the energy and willpower to resist temptation. Studies also indicate that poor sleep raises cortisol levels, leading to weight gain in the long run. Most adults needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their peak.
Downsize your plate
Switching from a 12-inch dinner plate to a nine-inch plate can help you eat up to 500 calories less than usual. And the best part? You won’t even notice the difference! Using smaller plates is a simple way to trick your brain into thinking that you’re full. Save the big plates for the benchpress.
By making smart choices, it’s possible to reduce your calorie intake without reducing the pleasure that comes from eating good food. Cut the sugar and empty calories, up your fibre and protein intake and watch the weight steadily drop.