You might be trying to lose weight using many different weapons that are at your disposal these days, but are you doing the simplest things, or making the smallest changes, that you can do every day to help you lose weight?
If you are like us, then there is always more you can be doing to get the body you want, but no-one’s perfect (at least no-one we know) and sometimes these ‘things’ mean making a lot of effort like going for a workout or organizing healthy meals for the whole week, when we are just too tired or busy to do it.
This is not a list of those things, though. This is a list of minimal-efforts and just-remembering-to-it kind of things.
1. Take the Stairs
Everyone’s heard this one before, but it’s astonishing how many people forego this one.
Some people make all the effort of going to the gym four times a week and eating the right things, and then balk at going up stairs rather than the escalator or elevator.
Live in any major city with a metro and you’ll notice this weird sheep-like attraction to the easy way up.
Walking up and down stairs is really not that big a deal, but by the end of a week, it adds up to the hundreds, if not a thousand calories of energy consumption.
2. Don’t Do the Food Shopping Hungry
Sounds obvious, this one, but people often make this mistake. Either they’ve waited too long to go shopping and have nothing in the house to eat (there’s rarely nothing by the way) or they are in a rush and don’t realize how hungry they are when they get there.
The problem with food shopping hungry is that you often go “off-list” pandering to your current cravings, loading the trolley with junk and high-carb snacks that you actually want there and then. Not only that but you start eating this immediately after shopping, then go and cook a dinner on top of it.
If your blood sugar is low and you need something to keep you going for the hour or whatever it takes to get the shopping done and put away, then eat something healthy and filling before you go. The shopping list won’t suffer for it and neither will your waistline.
3. DON’T Skip Breakfast
You’ve heard it a million times – “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. This might be true, but it might not. What is definitely true is that skipping breakfast does not seem to help people lose weight, and in fact helps you store fat more readily when it comes to eating a mid-morning snack (because your body is wondering where the next meal will come from if you are willing to starve it in the morning after 8 hours of sleep!) and/or a big lunch.
What’s more is your muscle tone will drop because your body feasts on the rich protein they hold to get by. You’ve already gone the whole night without food, why put your body further into crisis mode by going longer?
Have a breakfast of about a third of your total calories for the day if you have an active job. Aim for something like a quarter of total calories, if you sit at the desk all day.
4. DO Skip Sugar
Sugary snacks are one of the main reasons obesity and diabetes are the pandemics they are in the west. You might not be obese or have diabetes but if you are reading this then you are trying to lose some weight.
Don’t do everything else right and then mess it all up with the sugar. Health people often say ‘eat fruit’ because it’s ‘slow’ sugar and won’t impact your weight as much. While that’s true, fruit does not always have the same appeal as a muffin or something similar.
The best thing to do is not ignore the craving but go with something that will spike your blood sugar levels much less dramatically, like real granola (not the sugary crap in those ‘health’ bars).
5. DO Skip Alcohol
The odd drink isn’t too bad but if you have a beer or two regularly, or a glass of wine to wind-down every night, then they add up to a lot of calories over the week.
Soda water or sparkling water with fruit infusions is becoming a popular way to add some flavour to a drink without busting the calorie bank in the process. Sometimes, buying some interesting flavoured teas can help as well, and there is no shortage of those shops these days. We’re not saying it has the same effect, but if losing fat was easy then we’d all be magazine models!
NOTE: Losing fat is a case of averages over time i.e. over the week, you want to have burned more calories than you have consumed. Individual instances might vary but as long as the general trend is there you are losing weight. By reducing the instances that you fold and have a drink, you are widening the deficit even more.
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