If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard these plenty of times before in plenty of places. But these are my personal favorite tips for cutting calories, staying active, and feeling good.
1. Drink water. Lots of it. When you feel thirsty, that means your body is already dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water energizes your muscles, makes your skin clearer and can curb “fake” hunger. Water, tea, and coffee are pretty much the only beverages I consume daily.
2. For mixed drinks, swap soda and tonic water for club soda, seltzer, or sparkling water with a splash of lime or lemon juice. Diet soda is okay for cutting calories, but aspartame is just not good for you, no matter which way you slice it. I do have a weakness for diet ginger ale, so I usually have it once or twice a week mixed with club soda. Nobody’s perfect!
3. Drink black coffee. It was a shocking day when I realized that I was consuming almost 500 extra calories from all the cream and sugar I added to my coffee. I love drinking my coffee black now, and I don’t even like the taste of coffee with cream and sugar anymore (um, unless it’s my annual mint chocolate bomb from Gloria Jean’s). I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my coffee sometimes, and milk is fine, too. But just remember that everything you add to your coffee adds up. Beverages are not freebies just because you don’t chew them!
4. Don’t deny yourself food (aka, diet). Telling yourself you can’t have any sweets means that three weeks later, you will binge on a half pan of brownies in one sitting. It’s much better to give yourself a sweet treat allowance. I know this from experience.
5. Make vegetables taste good. Does anyone really like eating plain canned vegetables? Not me. Roast, sautee, and season your vegetables to make them your favorite part of the meal. Then you’ll want them to take up half your plate. Or more.
6. Can’t stand veggies? Add spinach or steamed broccoli to a fruit smoothie. Most veggie haters like fruit, and in a well-made smoothie, you won’t even taste spinach or broccoli, but it will give your body the kick of nutrients it needs. At least try it!
7. Don’t eat like your significant other. Everybody and every body is different and requires a different amount of calories. I learned very quickly that eating the same amount of food in a day as my husband caused me to pack on the pounds quickly. To find out how many calories you should be eating, use an online calculator like this one. If you want to lose weight, eat less and/or exercise more.
8. Eat processed foods sparingly. In reality, we probably shouldn’t be eating processed foods at all….but see #4. Processed foods are packed with sodium and scary ingredients. When you put scary things into your body, your body will start acting scary. I eat processed foods several times a week (veggie burgers, pre-packaged curry mixes, fruit snacks…), but I balance it out with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, and my own homemade meals using whole ingredients.
9. Eat at home. While watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, I was shocked to hear one man say that he and his wife only cooked at home twice…a month! I love going out to eat. But you only truly know what is going into your food when you make it yourself; this goes for ingredients and calories. (Many restaurants still use chicken broth to make their “vegetarian” soups). Cooking doesn’t have to be hard. There’s nothing wrong with a sink salad, a sandwich on whole grain bread, or a snack plate with veggies, hummus, cheese, crackers, and protein (meat, fish, hardboiled egg, etc.). Save dining out and/or ordering for once or twice a week, and your body will thank you for it.
10. Exercise. Probably the most hated word on the plant. I have been on both sides of the equation as both a voracious exerciser and a couch potato. So I can say from experience that any form of exercising, even walking, is not only good for your body but for your mind. The more you sit around, the more you feel like sitting around, and the worse you will eventually feel. If you can’t enjoy exercise, at least enjoy the feeling of knowing you accomplished something.
“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” ~Mumford and Sons
11. It’s as simple (and difficult) as this: treat your body poorly and it will return the favor. Love your body, and it will love you back!
How many of these tips do you follow? What if your favorite ‘healthy’ tip?
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. These are just some tips I have personally found useful for losing weight and feeling great.