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12 Quick Tips to Lose Weight in 2012
As the glow of New Year’s celebrations begins to fade and the reality of another year is upon us, it’s time to take stock of your health and lifestyle.
It’s no coincidence that losing weight is one of the main resolutions for many people when the new year begins. After the full-on feasts of pre-Christmas, Christmas and post-Christmas/New Year celebrations, many of us can feel guilty about the amounts and types of food consumed over the past month.
While there are hundreds of ways you can lose weight, tone up, and feel healthier and happier than ever, here are my top 12 tips for getting fabulously fit in your twenties:
1. Start with a 20-30 minute walk every morning. Go before breakfast and yes even before your first coffee! This gentle exercise awakens all your muscles and sets your metabolism into power mode for the day ahead – perfect for burning off those extra calories. You’ll feel less grumpy on the commute to work because you’re out in the fresh air getting the blood pumping through your body – giving you better energy for the rest of the day.
2. Skip the heavy, greasy fry-up or conversely, never leave home on an empty stomach. Aim for a low-calorie, high-protein breakfast like a whole-egg omelet with ham, cheese, and tomato, or bananas on wholemeal toast with ricotta and sugar-free maple syrup. At less than 400 calories, these two breakfast examples are tasty and simple to prepare.
3. At 10am and you’re already starving, avoid vending machines and colleagues’ chocolate fundraising boxes at all costs! A banana and coffee with skim milk and sweetener to see you through to lunch, this snack is under 150 calories.
4. Let’s face it. Not only is it tedious to make a salad every morning before you leave for work, but by the time you’re ready to eat it, the spinach leaves will be limp and you’ll be hungrier rather than eating your soggy salad. Either put a week’s worth of salad ingredients to work and prepare one each day in the staff kitchen, or consider buying a frozen meal that takes less than 10 minutes to cook and always comes in at 400 calories. Paired with a sugar-free soda, this light meal won’t leave you feeling like you need a nap like a greasy takeaway lunch can!
5. Three-thirty-itis. Although not officially a dictionary word, any office dweller knows that as the clock ticks to 5pm and your stomach feels a little empty, it’s a danger zone that can lead to mindless chocolate eating, followed by feelings of collective guilt. Pre-empt Three-ThirtyTits and stock your desk drawer with low-calorie muesli or fruit snack bars (make sure they’re under 150 calories, otherwise stick to an apple or another piece of fruit).
6. Avoid office enabler advances. You know the type. Is the skinny person in your office constantly baking, serving up their delicious danishes and cream cakes, but never eating them? They’re called enablers and for some reason they get a kick out of people eating their treats. The best way to avoid consuming them is to politely say “no thanks” and move on. For most people (myself included!) it’s impossible to “just have one” of a muffin or cookie or crumb topping. Once you’ve tasted these treats you’ll start reasoning with yourself that another two or three (or more!) pieces won’t hurt. They will.
7. Another dangerous time to overeat is when you’re preparing dinner. A couple of crackers or a handful of peanuts to start you off can lead to many more handfuls and a lot of regret. It may sound boring but eating a raw carrot while you prepare a meal will satisfy your hunger and give you something to eat to take your mind off the calorie-laden treats in the cupboard! Your evening meal should be around 400 calories and no more than 500 calories per serving. Perfect examples are spicy Cajun chicken kebabs and green salad; sweet potato soup with goat cheese and pine nuts; Or creamy garlic pasta with shrimp and vegetables.
8. I want to keep track of the calorie-laden treats in your cupboard. The best way to combat their temptations? Get rid of them! Get rid of your food cravings and stop buying them. It’s much easier to leave them on the supermarket shelf than to ignore them in your kitchen. Another way to avoid junk food while grocery shopping is to consider ordering your food online. No line-ups either!
9. Set aside just 30 minutes each weekend to plan meals for the following week in advance. This simple exercise lost more than 6 kilograms in several months. By planning nutritious, tasty meals in advance, typing out my grocery list, and typing out a list of what meals I would eat each day, I was always armed with healthy food. I regularly make double the evening meal to have delicious leftovers the next day.
10. Never deprive yourself. Book a meal once a week to enjoy something delicious and yes, that includes dessert! 95% of the time you do it which affects your waistline. One meal a week will keep you sane, satisfied and slim.
11. Educate yourself on how many calories are in different foods. Again, this helped my weight loss. I don’t mean obsessively writing down every morsel that passes your lips, but a general understanding of how many calories are in various foods can help you make better choices. And honestly, when you realize that a piece of rich chocolate cake has 500 or more calories, you start to realize that those calories aren’t worth the five minutes it takes to eat the cake.
12. Exercise 5-6 times a week. Those three periods should be “gut busters” ie. Running, an aerobics class, cardio and weights at the gym, or cycling, should be gentler forms of exercise such as 2-3 walks, yoga or a more occasional bike ride. Once you make exercise a part of your day, reading the paper or spending time on Facebook, it really becomes another habit to do.
Wishing you good health, happiness, fun and light in 2012 and always.
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