If you have resolved to lose some weight but you are worried about getting started and the changes that it will require, here are ten tactics to help you achieve your weight loss goals:
- Decrease Your Calorie Intake –
- Know what your daily calorie intake should be for your gender and age The Calorie Control Council also has tools to help you determine healthy weight and appropriate calorie reduction strategies for weight loss – https://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/assessment-calculator/
- Educate yourself about calorie content of the foods you consume.
- Choose lower calorie food choices.
- Track your calorie intake – use a small notepad or an app to help you track your calories from meals and snacks throughout the day. 9 Calorie Counter Apps To Help You Lose Weight
- Restrict your calorie intake by 200-500 calories less than the recommended daily intake per day or as recommended by your physician or nutritionist.
- Reduce Sugar – Pay attention to how much sugar you are consuming and reduce it where possible. Avoid sugary snacks and swap out for healthier options. Pay attention to less obvious sources of sugar in your diet such as sugary drinks, alcohol, condiments and processed foods. Use low or no calorie sweeteners instead of sugar, such as Stevia, Xylitol or Monk Fruit.
- Drink More Water –Replacing sugary drinks with water can help you reach your weight loss goals. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can increase a sense of fullness, helping to curb you appetite. Also, sometimes we eat when we are actually thirsty, so drinking plenty of water can help curb snacking as well.
- Remove Temptation! – Get rid of unhealthy foods and snack items from your pantry and stock up on low calorie, nutritious, healthy snack and food items such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, rice cakes, low fat yoghurt, oats, chickpeas, hummus, avocado, tuna fish.
- Stock Up on Fresh Vegetables – Choose fresh, dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables for salads, vegetable dishes and smoothies. Incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet and enjoy fresh, home prepared meals full of fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals.
- Stock Up on Frozen Fruit & Vegetables – Frozen vegetables such as peas, mixed vegetable and spinach can be a good stand by to have in case you don’t have fresh vegetables available. Frozen fruits such as mango, cherries and mixed berries are great to have on hand to mix into smoothies or yoghurt or to create low calorie deserts.
- Intermittent Fasting* – Intermittent Fasting is a weight loss technique that doesn’t require any drastic changes to your diet. There are a couple of different ways to implement Intermittent Fasting. The first option is to fast one or two days a week by reducing your food intake to about 500-700 calories a day while consuming light meals of juices or soups. On these fast days you should refrain from any strenuous activities and drink plenty of water. The second option is to simply increase the time between you evening meal and breaking your fast the next day to at least 16 hours. For example, have your last meal by 8pm and then break your fast at least 16 hours later, ie. at 12pm for lunch.
- Reduce Eating Out – Restaurant meals are often very high in calories. Fast food meals are typically high fat and fried foods which can sabotage your weight loss goals. Some restaurant meals have oversized portions and sauces with high fat, high sodium and sugar content. If you are eating out, choose healthier options, or ask for a “to go” box at the beginning of the meal and place half of your meal in the box before you start to eat your meal. That way you won’t eat too much at the restaurant and you will have a treat for the next day.
- Meal Prep – A great way to help you implement most of the tips above is to meal prep. With a little time, effort and planning you can spend one day to meal prep and have meals available for the week. Ie. Shop on Saturday for your fresh vegetables and meal prep on Sunday. Wash, peel & pre-cut vegetables such as lettuce, peppers, carrots, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, and zucchini for use in salads and smoothies. That way you will have everything ready for your meals and you can have pre-cut vegetables and fruits available for snacks. Vegetables such as peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots, and squash can also be brushed with olive oil and roasted, ready for use for the rest of the week. Skinless chicken breasts can be cooked for meal prep by seasoning with salt, pepper and a little bit of minced garlic, brush with olive oil and broiled. Alternatively, the chicken breasts can be poached in water with a teaspoon of salt and a chopped onion. The cooked chicken breasts can be sliced or shredded and added to salads, soups and other meals throughout the week. Pre-portion meals into containers, ready to assemble or ready to eat for lunch and dinner.
- Get Moving! – One key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you are consuming. A regular exercise program is the best way to boost your weight loss, strengthen and tone your muscles and improve heart health but there are many other ways to increase your physical activity too. Walking, dancing, skating, house cleaning and yard work/ gardening are other fun, relaxing ways to increase your activity.
*Please note that before making any significant changes to your diet or beginning an exercise regimen, you should consult with your physician, especially if you have existing health concerns. Do not undertake Intermittent Fasting if you are pregnant, nursing or if fasting would interfere with taking medications that need to be taken with or after food.