1. Take more selfies
You don’t have to start spamming your social media feed with selfies, but taking them can be a good way for you to track – and stick to – your weight loss efforts. In a small-scale clinical study involving 271 overweight or obese patients, those who regularly took full-body photos showing their waist-to-hip-ratio were more motivated to shed kilos.
2. Drink water before your meal
This age-old trick works. Downing a glass of water before eating fills your tummy so that you don’t overeat, says research published in the journal Obesity. In a small-scale study, participants who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes before they ate their mains had better weight loss outcomes compared to those who didn’t guzzle. (Also Read: Follow This Water Drinking Schedule For Maximum Health Benefits)
3. Make simple food swaps
Instead of ordering sambal kang kong, pick steamed or stir-fried vegetables. Craving a cup of teh or kopi? Ask for less sugar. These small changes add up in the long run for a slimmer and healthier you. If you can’t give up certain indulgences, you can also check out which of your favourite mains (fried rice or fried bee hoon?) are healthier here.
4. Eat mindfully
You need to feel satisfied in order to feel full. Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has proven that distracted eaters consumed more food than non-distracted eaters. This means that you’re likelier to wolf down more calories when you have a meal in front of the TV or at your desk during lunch. What’s more, distracted eaters also ate more food later in the day than those who were fully present during their meals.
Think about it: it’s easy to mindlessly finish a bag of chips while watching the season finale of Game of Thrones, but you’re less likely to have done so if you were concentrating on every bite you took.
5. Eat less meat
Replacing meat with more vegetable-based protein sources like tofu is an easy way to cut more calories. A review of previous scientific studies has shown that a vegetarian diet may help to boost weight loss efforts. We’re not asking you to cut out meat completely (unless you want to, of course!), but you can consider starting with one or two meatless meals in a week. (Also Read: Tried-and-Tested: 7 Things I’ve Learnt from Practising ‘Meatless Mondays’ for a Year)
6. Drink more green tea
Make brewed green tea you go-to drink of choice. Besides being great for fighting cancer and reducing inflammation in the body, green tea has also been shown to boost your metabolism. Green tea has compounds that help your body increase the number of calories and fat it burns. Just be sure to drink the unsweetened version of this powerhouse tea so that you don’t negate its positive effects!
7. Don’t starve yourself
Bid dieting goodbye. Depriving yourself of food and nutrients only sends a signal to your body that it’s starving. This makes it hold on to fat and calories, making it harder for you to achieve your weight loss goals. You’ll also feel more tired and sluggish due to a lack of energy. Double whammy.
Focus on eating quality meals that have a good balance of healthy carbs, protein and fibre instead of cutting out food groups totally.
8. Get enough sleep
Likewise, don’t deprive your body of sleep. That insatiable hunger and crankiness you feel when you’re running on empty is real. In one study, participants who clocked less than seven hours of sleep a night had higher BMIs than those who did. The sleep-deprived were also less likely to be successful in their weight loss efforts. (Also Read: Sleeping After 11pm Is Making You Look Older)
9. Chill out
No surprises here: the term “stress eating” exists for a reason. When you’re feeling frazzled, your body’s cortisol levels soar and this can stimulate your appetite and slow down your metabolism. Keep your stress levels in check by finding an activity or hobby to calm yourself on bad days. It could be just taking a stroll after dinner with your other half, or getting lost in a good book before bedtime.
This article was first published in Shape, on 1 September 2017.