Small lifestyle changes to prevent weight gain

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Trying to reverse the 1 to 2 kilograms that has been put on annually? Overwhelmed just by thinking of changing your lifestyle enough to reach a healthful weight?

Fret not. Lucky for us, there is an alternative approach to the adherence of exercise and diet regimes that some of us may find so hard to embark on and sustain. The plan would be to make small and easy changes to our lifestyle which, in worst case scenario, stops the weight gain. People who make small changes initially will often lose weight. Those who start making small decisions are highly likely to make even bigger changes in the future, resulting in greater weight loss. With that said, below are some of the littlest changes in your lifestyle which you can make today. Do note that this would work for most people whereas some people would require greater lifestyle changes to make a difference.

1. Stop consuming liquid calories.

Over the years, our liquid calorie intake in the form of sugar sweetened beverages has been on the rise. Based on many studies conducted, there is little doubt that increased consumption of sugary drinks and the soaring rates of weight gain and obesity. When we consume calories in liquid form, we do not get the “fullness” as compared to consuming solids. This can result in the energy being added on to your diet rather than substituting another source. Although fruit juice has vitamins and minerals, its content is otherwise just sugar and water and have the equal damaging impact on your waistline. If you drink 300 calories of apple juice, you would definitely feel less full than eating 300 calories of apples. And by the way, you would have to eat about 4 apples to consume 300 calories. That’s a lot!

2. Adding 2000 steps a day

This would be about 20 to 25 minutes of walking and would cover about 1.6km. This would result in you burning off about 100 calories; enough to prevent weight gain in most people. Things that you can do to increase this step count would be:

Taking a walk with your spouse, kids or friends, walking the dog, use stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the store, better yet, walk to the store, get up to change the channel, window shop, plan a walking meeting, or walk over to visit a neighbour.

3. Eat more protein

Remember when experts thought the high-protein, low-carb Atkins diet didn’t work and was dangerous? It’s been more than seven years since the first studies started overturning that idea. Low-carb, high-protein diets have proved surprisingly effective, especially in the short term. And it turns out that people who eat a higher proportion of their calories from protein end up consuming fewer calories overall. This is because protein is generally more filling than other solid foods. However, based on eating normal food, it can be challenging to increase the consumption of protein. Bottom line is, it can’t hurt to substitute a bit more lean protein for some of the fat and starches in your diet.

4. Eat more fibre

Fibre help protect against colon cancer and heart disease, and it is your weight-control friend. It slows digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer, and displaces other caloric foods. Best of all, it comes in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals. The recommended daily allowance of fibre is about 25 grams and people on average consume only 10 to 15 grams. Although you don’t have to make it to that goal, you can increase fibre rich vegetables fairly easily by increasing the amount of vegetables on your plate and reducing everything else. Add fibre-rich vegetables to your meals and snacks whenever you can.

5. Not leading yourself to temptation

The food industry works hard to create high-calorie foods with most addictive flavours. That is why it is very difficult to just have one Pringles or Hershey’s. To consume 400 calories a century ago, people had to travel to buy meat, vegetables and rice to cook it at home. The travelling could have caused them to expend 100 to 200 calories. However, now you can consume the same amount of calories in 10 minutes by eating a bag of potato crisps! You obviously can’t avoid encountering those foods in your daily life and probably eating them on occasion. But never have them at home

6. Lose the screen time.

When we’re sitting, we are burning almost as few calories as we do when we’re sleeping. Sitting too much is hazardous to your health in a different way than exercising too little. Research has shown that the more you sit, the higher your risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. That seems to be true even for people who get the prescribed 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Although standing upright doing the dishes, cleaning the house or getting dressed isn’t exercise by anyone’s standard, it helps to burn more calories than just sitting down. These few calories would make a big difference over the long-term. Sitting in front of a computer or television is one of the least active things most of us do. Research has shown that the more screen time we indulge in, the fatter we tend to be. And when we cut down our screen time, we tend to stand up and move around. So look for chances to stand up and move around in the course of your day. And see whether you can cut back your daily screen time.

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