Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight? Needless to say that while there are countless fast weight loss solutions out there on the web, from certain smoothies to even pills, most of these are unhealthy for your body. Read instead about how you can lose weight while still feeling happy, guilt-free and most importantly, without starving yourself.
I have accumulated the tips below through years of trying to stay healthy and active without having to go to the gym every day. Ultimately, changing your eating habits can have a tremendous effect on your mind and body.
Speaking of weight loss, have you checked out our previous article about New Year’s Resolutions: Getting Them Done Cheaper?
Calculating Daily Calorie Intake
The first step in any weight loss plan is calculating your daily calorie intake and it’s essential. Taking only a minute to complete, it factors in age, gender, height, weight and exercise level to calculate how many calories you should eat on a daily basis. While the calculator may only give the required intake to maintain your current weight, it may also output how many to consume to actually lose weight.
Keep in mind that drastic weight loss through starvation is not recommended and is more harmful to your body than beneficial. As a general rule (according to many sources like Fitsugar and the British NHS), it is unhealthy for women to consume less than 1200 calories/day and for men, 1500 calories/day.
Alternatively, though the FreeDieting calculator is helpful in its calculation of how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight, use CalorieCount’s calculator to determine how much to need to consume to lose weight as it is more accurate.
Note: In fact, there is an old Russian saying that says “Eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend and give your dinner to your enemy” as well as an old English expression: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. All this to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s better to eat more in the morning rather than in the evening before bed.
Using A Calorie Counting App
Below is a list of the 3 best apps I researched (I downloaded about 50 before I found the top 3) to use for counting calories. Not only that, but they also give a breakdown of your daily nutritional information: as in, if consuming too much salt, carbs, or not enough protein.
MyFitnessPal: Input food by either searching for it or scanning the bar code. The app also takes into account exercise and calories burnt. Personal recipes can also be factored in for quick reference later. Free on iTunes or Google Play.
Calorie counter: Released by CalorieCount.com, it’s very similar to MyFitnessPal in design and functionality. The main difference being that while it has a smaller database, it does however have increased portion control as well as a larger community. Free on iTunes and Google Play
Lose it!: Though similar to the first two recommended apps, this app’s database isn’t as large and the bar code isn’t as accurate. On the other hand, it actually has a much smoother and easier-to-use interface. Free for iTunes or Google Play.
Note: I have to admit that I’m a huge proponent of My Fitness Pal as it really did help me lose weight by holding me accountable for what I ate. By the end of the day, it was hard to eat junk because that meant going over my daily intake, which was the complete opposite of my goal. It’s very helpful to invest in a small food scale such as the one featured on the right. Be sure to check our Chef’s Catalog coupons page for even more savings if you’re interested in getting one of these.
Avoiding Morning Junk
As obvious as it may seem, many people still can’t resist the temptation of that morning bagel, doughnut… you name it! Think you’re doing yourself a favor by opting for the blueberry oat bar at Starbucks instead of the butter croissant? Think again! At 370 calories, it has 60 calories more than the butter croissant.
If you’re set on your morning espresso beverage, make sure to opt for the non-fat and whipped cream free version to save on a few calories. Likewise, try ordering a smaller size with an additional shot of espresso for the same caffeine boost minus all the calories you’ll only regret at the end of the day.
Tip: Try to avoid the morning coffee shops for 2 weeks and put all of the money you save in a jar. Then treat yourself to a new article of clothing or anything else you may want.Total possible savings: $5 per day x 5 work days x 2 weeks = $50
Feeling Full With Protein
A much overlooked key daily nutrient is protein, which actually fuels the body, making it stronger and more efficient, much like with a car. Protein also increases metabolism, which is the rate at which your body digests food. The faster it digests, the faster you lose weight.
In fact, a high protein breakfast can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent for as long as 12 hours. This is the same as jogging for three to five miles. While the best source of protein come from dairy products, eggs, meat and fish, a number of other products can still provide a reasonable amount.
Whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan or simply want to supplement your diet with more protein the natural way (as opposed in the form of pills), try this list of meat free protein sources.
Basically, this means that for breakfast, consider having a cup of cottage cheese with whichever fresh fruit you can get your hands on (i.e. blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, you name it!) and sprinkle a dash of cereal if you like.
In any case, keep this Handy Portion Control in mind when eating. For example, meat, fish and poultry need to be the size of your palm (3oz).
Tip: According to Men’s Health, “eating protein at all three meals—plus snacking two or three times a day on proteins such as cheese, jerky, and milk will help you eat less overall. People who start the day with a protein-rich breakfast consume 200 fewer calories a day than those who chow down on a carb-heavy breakfast, like a jam-smeared bagel“.
Staying Hydrated With Water
Considering that water has actually been proven to help lose weight, try drinking a cup or 2 before big meals. The idea isn’t to force yourself to drink but rather to listen to your body and do so gradually — maybe even start 10-15mins before each meal. You can even squeeze some lemon juice into the water for added flavor or substitute it with unsweetened tea. While some may recommend diet drinks as a substitute, a recent study has actually shown that these artificially sweetened beverages lead to increased obesity.
Likewise, drinking hot water following the meal can also help weight loss as it forces the body to work a little harder to cool the liquid.
Tip: Most of our cravings stem from dehydration, rather than hunger, as our bodies can’t tell the difference between the two very well. So next time your fingers inch towards whichever unhealthy snack or late-night meal that you really should be avoiding, drink a glass of water instead.
Staying Away from Sugar
Present in so many types of foods, sugar can be a great source of energy if taken in reasonable amounts. The problem(s) occur (obesity and diabetes) when we consume too much of it. Coming in several forms, including white, raw and brown sugar as well as honey and corn syrup, it is added to a large quantity of foods, especially in the processed food industry.
Obviously, it is unrealistic to think that you can cut sugar entirely out from your diet, but there are some obvious types of foods that are easier to stay away from, sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks probably top that list. Plus, as I just mentioned all processed foods present a risk of containing high sugar levels. This doesn’t mean stop consuming these goods altogether, it just means that if you’re serious about losing weight you could try to progressively reduce the amount of processed food you eat on a daily basis.
You will also potentially save hefty amounts of cash at the dentist. After all, the combination of sugar and plaque has been recognized as one the main causes of tooth decay.
Benefiting From Cinnamon and Honey
Did you know that cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar, making it a great supplement for diabetics? Now it doesn’t mean you should be having a cinnabon after every meal, but it does mean that you should consider adding it to your diet in other non-fattening and beneficial ways as it has a huge number of benefits.
Surprisingly, when paired with honey, cinnamon can actually help shed a few inches off your waist. Always using a 1:2 ration (1 part cinnamon, 2 parts honey), hot water first needs to be poured over the cinnamon and the honey needs to be added once the liquid has cooled. Then drink the concoction before bed and first thing in the morning. Take a look at the complete list of directions at Karen Frazier’s article on the Health Benefits of Cinnamon and Honey.
Exercising On A Time Crunch
While hitting the gym a minimum of 3 times per week can definitely help to speed up the weight loss process, there are also a number of exercises that you can do at home. Find the right one for you from Pinterest’s Health and Fitness category.
From 5 exercises to burn 200 calories in 3 minutes, to small changes that can change your life and even a variety of different daily and weekly workouts, such as this daily workout plan, which can be done before jumping in the shower.
There is also the usual taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, leaving the car at the far end of a parking lot, as well as a much favorite among the staff at PromotionalCode.ca: walking after a main meal, such as lunch.
Who said that working out had to be boring, long and tedious? Spice up your work-outs with apps that will prevent you from staring at the time, willing the seconds to go faster.
Zombies, run!: Put those earphones on, tightly lace up your running shoes and prepare to run away from hordes of zombies through different scenarios. Only $3.99 on iTunes and Google Play.
Runtastic: With the help of GPS monitoring, this app tracks everywhere you go on your walk or run. It even tracks useful data such as time, distance, speed, pace, calories, altitude, etc. It can even be used alongside the MyFitnessPal app mentioned earlier in the article. Free on both iTunes and Google Play.
Endomondo: While you participate in sport activities such as running, cycling, and many others, this app will track the time, distance, etc. It’s also great for measuring your heartbeat and comes with an automated voice coach to help you stay motivated throughout the workout. Free on both iTunes and Google Play.
More Quick Weight Loss Tips
Lastly, take a look at Dr. Oz’s 100 Weight Loss Tips: from avoiding fried foods, to going nuts with nuts, and even sprinkling red pepper flakes on your food. Vancouver Sun also has a list of the 22 Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.