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20 easy weight-loss tips for the New Year

By Dhruv Gupta
Last updated on: January 01, 2015 14:55 IST
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These will not only help you lose weight but stay healthy as well.

Photograph: scott/Wikimedia Commons

Losing weight can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. Weight loss should be looked at it from a health point of you. It's not only about seeing the kilos going down on the weighing scale. It is also about how healthy you feel as you shed that extra weight. This mindset alone can help you keep the weight off longer.

Being healthy is an acquired lifestyle. It's a gradual process and small steps can help you stick on the path for longer. According to latest research it takes 66 days to break a bad habit and adopt a new one.

So let's start with adding a new (healthy) habit a day and see your life transform from just battling weight to actually looking fit and feeling healthy.

Here are 20 easy tips that will help you lose weight and be healthy.

1. Start your day with water. To cleanse up all your toxins from your body, helps boost metabolism and increases the rate at which new muscle and blood cells are produced in the body.

2. Eat Breakfast. Most healthy way to start your day is with a good breakfast. Eating breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day, and help people make better food choices at other meals. 

By eating breakfast, you wake up your metabolism and help set the healthy tone for rest of the day. Besides studies confirm that people who eat breakfast are more alert and do better on tests than people who skip breakfast.

3. Pack your plate with protein. Protein takes longer than other macronutrients to digest. This means that it vacates the system far later than the other macronutrients.

This particular aspect of protein plays an important role in managing ideal body weight.

4. Eat fruits, 2-3 servings a day. The water and fibre content of fruits considerably increases levels of fullness. This leads to lower calorie intake through the day, assisting in weight loss and fat loss. Fruits cut out cravings for unhealthy foods. Besides fruits are great replacements to unhealthy sugar treats and high calorie foods. They contain considerably less sugar, a fraction of the calories, and provide higher satiety.

This helps in controlling calorie intake and fat gain. Remember fruits are best eaten and not consumed as juices.

5. Indulge in seasonal veggies. Vegetables are packed with fibre which will give you satiety and are good for weight loss. We recommend you add at least 3-4 servings of vegetables in your diet a day. Making a vegetable salad is an easy way to add them to your diet.

6. Eat at home. It is easy to control your calories and eat healthy when you are eating at home. Eating out too often makes you overeat; besides you don't necessarily have control over how the food is cooked.

Something healthy on the menu might actually have a lot of unnecessary calories added to it. If you are eating out 5 times a week, cut it to 4 times a week. You will feel the difference in just a week.

7. Look more for whole wheat products than refined. Whole wheat products contain more fibre and nutrients as compared to refined products. They are easily digested and also keep you away from binging.

8. Go easy with salads and soups. Salads and soups are one of the healthiest options if you are feeling hungry and looking to lose weight. But make sure you avoid add on cream based dressing over it. Ask for dressing on the side when eating at a restaurant. Opt for clear soups as they are lighter than their creamy counterparts.

9. Make room for (healthy) fat. Cutting butter and oil can reduce calories but we still need fat in our diets as a source of energy and to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Plus it helps us feel full. Get healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds.

10. Add nuts to your diet. They are the healthiest substitute for biscuits. Nuts are also a good source of healthy fats. These fats help control your appetite and cravings, which makes them the ideal mid meal snack.

Secondly, nuts are high in proteins, which help build muscle. Higher muscle mass means greater calorie loss during rest and a higher metabolic rate. Thirdly, nuts provide a variety of other essential nutrients that improve our overall health. 

11. Understand portion control. Proper and healthy portion control is characterised by moderation. While it's important to not eat too much of any particular type of food, it's also equally important to avoid eating too little. When you carefully monitor your portion sizes, you decrease the amount of food that you eat. This decrease in food intake also represents an overall decrease in the number of calories that you eat, provided that you eat the same foods that you did previously. This makes it easier for you to burn off those calories through less activity. 

12. Skip sugary drinks. These drinks unnecessarily add calories and ultimately add unwanted fat by giving numerous health problems. Instead switch to green tea, coconut water or unsweetened fresh lime water.

13. Fad diets are a waste of time. Next time you read or hear about one try to stay away from it. Getting on too many of these diets not only affects you emotionally but depriving your body of the essential nutrients is not good for you in the long run.

14. Avoid the use of artificial sweeteners. If you eat too many sugar-free foods, you can still gain weight if they have other ingredients that contain calories. And remember that processed foods, which often contain sugar substitutes, generally don't offer the same health benefits as do whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

15. Add physical activity to your daily routine. Although people often focus on diet when they're trying to lose weight, being active is an essential component of a weight loss programme. Exercise helps in detoxing and cleansing your system while helping you melt the unwanted fat from your body. People who exercise and watch their diet to lose weight tend to get a flat belly faster than those who just diet.

16. Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol makes you fat. It's not the calories per say in the alcohol but how the body processes it makes you pile on the calories even after you have stopped drinking it.

17. Travel smart. Just you are going out doesn't mean that you can eat anything .If you want to look fit and healthy, then you should be smart enough to choose healthy stuff in your way. Eating healthy while travelling doesn't require a whole lot. All you need to do to stay on track is to plan ahead.

18. Watch your salt intake. Did you know it's not just sugar but also salt that is a big contributor to weight gain? What you can do though to reduce your sodium intake, is to cut down or minimise your processed food consumption, as most of our sodium intake comes from restaurant foods and processed foods. Opt for home cooked food or low sodium foods as per your body's requirement. Drink plenty of water as it flushes out excess sodium from your body.

19. Eat before you leave the house. Don't arrive at a big meal, event, or party starving. One study found that you'll be two and half times more likely to start off overeating than those who ate something beforehand. Have a light snack before you go to an event so you don't arrive starving.

20. Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep has much deeper effect on your health than you can imagine. It can adversely affect your mood, weight and general health. Sleep loss appears to do two things: first it makes you feel hungry even if you are full and secondly promote fat storage.

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Dhruv Gupta
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