You don’t have to go on a deprivation diet and have marathon workouts to lose pounds and lead a healthier life. Trade the all-or-nothing approach to losing weight for healthy switch-ups in your daily routine to see results.
“When you focus on one or two small changes at a time, you start developing healthy habits that can lead to beneficial changes and healthy lifestyle habits,” says Stephania Hasan, MD, a family medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Eastlake. “Setting aggressive weight loss goals could set you up for frustration and failure, so start small and aim to lose a reasonable amount of weight that you can safely keep off.”
Start small to lose big with these simple tips.
1. Climb stairs
Forget the elevator and use the stairs instead. Climbing stairs is a good cardiovascular exercise that anyone can incorporate into their daily routine.
2. Skip the soda
A 20-ounce bottle of most cola drinks contains 240 empty calories. “Swapping one soda a day for water is an easy change in your diet that will save calories and have a positive impact on your health,” says Dr. Hasan.
3. Pack your lunch
Control the quality and portion sizes of your lunch by making and eating your own. You can find dozens of lunch recipes for under 500 calories on the internet or in cookbooks that are good for you and tasty. You will also reduce your sodium, sugar and fat intake as restaurant and vending machine meals usually contain a higher amount of these diet downfalls.
4. Take a walk
Burn calories instead of gas by walking briskly to your destination if it is less than 1 mile away. By moving your body instead of your car, you can easily incorporate exercise into your daily routine and improve your mood. Lacing up your sneakers and getting outside is a vast improvement over sitting in traffic and finding a parking place.
“There’s no question that walking is good for you,” says Dr. Hasan. “Walking has so many health benefits, including lowering your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
5. Eat fruit, don’t drink it
Unplug your blender and sink your teeth into a crisp apple instead. While juice may seem like an easy way to get your share of fruit, eating whole fruit adds heart-healthy fiber to your diet and helps better satisfy your hunger.
“Liquid carbohydrates aren’t as filling as solids,” says Dr. Hasan. “It takes more work to digest whole fruit, so you feel full for longer.” In addition, juice often contains more calories than a piece of fruit.
6. Practice portion control
Downsize your dishes to help ditch super-sized meals. If you are trying to lose weight, you may have greater success when using smaller plates. Doing so might help you cut down on portion sizes without actually having to weigh and measure everything you eat.
“These additions to your daily or weekly routine can really add up over time,” says Dr. Hasan. “These healthy habits will eventually become second nature, and you’ll gain a lifetime of benefits.”