There are plenty of fad diets that work to shed pounds rapidly, while leaving you feeling hungry and deprived. But the problem is that after losing those ponds, it might surface back in no distant time.
If there’s one thing more difficult than losing weight, it’s keeping it off. In order to keep pounds off permanently, it’s best to lose weight slowly.
Experts say you can actually achieve that without going on a strict “diet”, instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
Often, once you reach your weight-loss goals, maintaining that ideal weight can be even harder than getting there in the first place. In fact, University of California, Los Angeles researchers report that between one-third and two-thirds of dieters actually gain more weight than they lost within four or five years following a diet.
Hence, adopt one or more of these simple tricks to help you lose weight without going on a strict diet;
Don’t Skip Breakfast.
One habit that’s common to most people who have lost weight and kept it off for good, is eating breakfast every day. In fact, munching in the morning rather than saving your appetite for lunch time, can help you fight off weight gain for good.
Read Also: Three (3) Simple Tips to Lose Weight Quickly
Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
“Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the boardroom.” Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
Another study published in the journal Obesity Research discovered that out of participants who lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for upto six years or more, 78% of them ate breakfast daily.
Protein at Every Meal
Maintain your newly slim physique and staying lean for life is as easy as adding more protein to your diet.
Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats.
A multi-study analysis in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sticking to a high-protein diet helped participants helped folks avoid unwanted weight gain. In fact, one of these protein shakes will do the trick.
Close the Kitchen at Night.
Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won’t give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television.
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers suggests that you have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else.
Eat More Produce
Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables.
Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily.
Ward says that’s not really so difficult: “Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings,” she says. “Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won’t be reaching for the cookie jar.”
Go for the Grain
By substituting whole grains for refined grains like white bread, cakes, cookies, and pretzels, you add much-needed fiber and will fill up faster so you’re more likely to eat a reasonable portion.
Choose whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bran flakes, popcorn, and whole-rye crackers.
Choose Liquid Calories Wisely
Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don’t reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice.
Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.
Control Your Environments
Another simple strategy to help cut calories is to control your environment — everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants.
That means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat restaurants. And when it comes to parties, “eat a healthy snack before so you won’t be starving, and be selective when you fill your plate at the buffet,” suggests Ward. Before going back for more food, wait at least 15 minutes and have a big glass of water.
If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down.
Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won’t feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.
Limit Your Intake of High-Fat Foods
Healthy fats certainly play an important role in keeping your belly trim, but these satiating foods—and, more importantly, their less healthy counterparts—must be noshed on in moderation. For example, less-healthy foods like pizza are among the top sources of saturated fat in the U.S. diet.
According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, The National Weight Control Registry participants maintained the majority of their weight loss when they stuck to a low-fat diet. What’s more, increases in fat intake were linked to increased weight regain during the study’s 10-year follow-up period.
Add More Steps
Get yourself a pedometer and gradually add more steps until you reach 10,000 per day.
Throughout the day, do whatever you can to be more active — pace while you talk on the phone, take the dog out for an extra walk, and march in place during television commercials. Having a pedometer serves as a constant motivator and reminder.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives
Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products.
“You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice,” says Magee.
More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
Step On the Scale
When Cornell researchers pushed study participants to lose 10 percent of their body weight, those who accomplished this in the program’s first year were able to keep the pounds at bay throughout a second year as well. Do you know why?
Researchers think stepping on the scale played a large factor, as this became a daily reinforcer for participants to continue effective behaviors like eating less and exercising more.