With the new year well underway, gyms and personal trainers have gotten their early rush of new business, but apart from the obvious, there are several little lifestyle changes that can keep you looking slim, trim and fabulous. You might not even have to do much in the gym or spend extra cash on a personal trainer to get – and stay – slim.
1. Spice Things Up
Spicy foods can rev up your metabolism for effective weight loss. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sciences, adding spices like cayenne pepper to your food can also stave away pangs of hunger.
2. Say No to Salt
It may make the food taste better, but it’s far from the best thing for our bodies. The American public, on average, consumes twice the recommended amount of salt daily. A high salt intake can lead you to feel hungrier and thirstier than you really are. It can also lead to bloating and a high fluid retention. It's not just about adding table salt to your food – watch out for high sodium in processed foods from the grocery or supermarket. Keep your sodium intake below 1500 mg daily (a teaspoon of salt has 2300 mg).
3. Eat Bananas (and Other Potassium-Rich Foods)
Potassium naturally causes the body to excrete excess sodium. For example, if you happen to be bloated from eating junk food, eating a potassium-rich food can naturally balance things out. Bananas, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach peas and lima beans will quickly bring a noticeable reduction in any puffiness in your face or body.
4. Skip Diet Soda
Trying to lose weight by replacing regular soda with diet? Well, sorry to burst your bubble but diet soda isn't helping much either. Studies from the University of Purdue have shown that drinking two or more cans of diet soda daily increased peoples’ waistlines by as much as 500%. Yikes! Don’t drink soda at all, and stick with water. If you want a caffeine boost, try unsweetened iced tea.
5. Get a Standing Desk
If you're one of the millions of us who work sitting at a desk all day, change things up and get a standing workstation (if it’s an option). A 150-pound person burns 114 calories per hour from standing.
6. Don’t Skimp on Protein
Protein helps you to feel much fuller, much more quickly than carbs do. If you get plenty of lean protein during meals and snacks, you'll end up taking in fewer calories overall. If you work out, you’ll build lean muscle too.
7. Balance Your Diet
Instead of focusing on how many calories you consume each day, make sure there's healthy mix of all the classes of food: proteins, carbs, vegetables, fruits. This helps you stay slim without log books and calculators.
8. Take it Slow
Studies suggest that when people eat rapidly, they eat more. That’s because it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send a message to the brain that it’s had enough. Most people have eaten way more than they should by then. The conclusion seems to be to play with your food a little during your meal to extend it. Take a break from eating before deciding whether or not to have seconds.
9. Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Eat small meals about three hours apart. Eating that way will reduce the secretion of a hormone that drives appetite.
10. Have a Late Night Snack
Don't be afraid to eat at night. Just give yourself at least an hour and 30 minutes before going to bed. Skipping a nosh at night could make you overeat the next day, since you might wake up ravenous.
11. Eat Before a Party
When you have a party to attend, eat a healthy balanced meal beforehand. It reduces your chances of overeating the fatty foods that are served at the event.
12. Try Chopsticks
Eating with chopsticks may force you to eat smaller portions of food and over a longer period of time. Your brain won't be fooled into thinking your body actually needs more than it does.
13. Snack Smarter
Without a doubt, there'll be times you'll feel hungry and need to snack. The secret to weight loss is snacking smartly on high protein and whole foods. Cheese, a spoon of peanut butter, fruit or a low-calorie protein bar will do just fine.
14. Drink More Water
Water makes you feel fuller while adding on zero calories.
15. Never Skip Breakfast
A study from the British Institute of Nutrition found that people had a tendency to eat less over the course of the day when they had a big, healthy breakfast.