It is no secret that every girl dreams of being able to eat without piling on the kilos – unless you’re one of those lucky girls who never put on weight no matter how much they eat. But the reality is, not all of us would embrace the idea of working out a good sweat with open arms. Let’s not even talk about following a strict diet. The good news is, the key to shedding the kilos lies in making small lifestyle changes. Here are eight you can make in your daily life for a start.
Drink mainly water
Sports drinks, alcoholic drinks and even fruit juices are not only chock-full of calories and sugar, but they also don’t quench your thirst and can even make you thirstier. Switch them up for water instead, which has zero calories and a whole host of health benefits. If you don’t like the bland taste of water, try adding some mint leaves or lemon wedges. You can also leave a bottle of water in the fridge for hot days when you’re craving for something cold and refreshing.
Have a light dinner
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” You may have heard of this famous quote before but probably haven’t given much thought to it. Food is metabolised more quickly during the day when you are active, so less of it is converted to fat. In contrast, food eaten later at night is more likely to be converted into fat. Avoid supper or post-dinner snacks and you’ll find that you’ll wake up with a flatter tummy the next morning.
Spice it up
Researchers have found that eating chillies and hot peppers can boost a person’s basal metabolism (i.e. the total calories the body burns at rest). This is because capsaicin, a compound found in chillies, stimulates a natural process whereby some of the food we eat is converted into heat immediately so that it is not stored as fats. The same study also found that chilli can help to reduce your appetite as chilli helps to satisfy our craving for oils. Maybe it’s time to throw more chilli padi into your next meal!
Drink green tea
Apart from containing antioxidants and other substances that are beneficial to your health, green tea aids in fat-burning and helps you lose weight. Green tea is especially effective in burning fat during exercise, so instead of reaching for a bottle of sports drink at the gym the next time you’re there, you might want to grab a cup of green tea instead.
Move around more
Exercising doesn’t always have to be a hardcore, sweaty session for it to count – simply moving around more can go a long way in keeping you trim. For example, take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift. Rather than squeezing with the peak hour crowd on a bus, why not walk home if you work near your house? When at work, take breaks away from the screen by walking around the office or by to the restroom. It may not seem like much, but these little steps do add up!
Avoid waiting until you’re hungry before eating
How often have you entered a restaurant absolutely ravenous, and in your hunger, over-ordered food that you can’t finish later on? Overeating is a surefire way to gain weight, yet leaving the food uneaten seems like such a waste of perfectly good food. To prevent overeating, have your meal before you start to feel hunger pangs coming on. You can also drink a glass of water just before each meal so that you will feel fuller and end up eating less.
Keep snacks out of sight
Out of sight, out of mind. Stash all your junk food away in a place that is hard to get to and where you won’t be able to see it. This helps to control cravings and will keep you from munching on fattening snacks just because you’re bored. Better still, don’t buy junk food at all. If it isn’t lying around in your house or by your desk in the office, you can’t eat it.
Eat in moderation
Depriving yourself of the food you enjoy isn’t healthy or sustainable and you are likely to put the weight you lost back on once you start eating normally again. Instead of cutting out whole food groups from your diet, eat everything in moderation, including your favourite char kway teow (but limit it to only once in a while, of course). If you’ve been having a few heavy meals in a row, go for something lighter for your next meal. It’s all about striking a balance.
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Text: Rachael Lui