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Although maintaining the right weight can be difficult, it can help us improve our overall health, reducing the risk of many life altering diseases – like diabetes, heart failure, and high blood pressure. These days, with so many companies promising overnight results, it can be hard for us to find something that works. This is why so many people simply hit the ground running with no sense of direction when it comes to weight-loss programs.
At some point in time in your life, you might have heard the old saying: In order to lose weight, you simply need to eat less and move around more.
The problem with that advice is it doesn’t work for everyone. In other words, while counting every bite of food can help keep track of your calorie intake, it can also be too restrictive, stressful, and even time consuming for some. This dieting method also requires you to essentially prevent your body from eating a full meal and getting all the necessary nutrients, which can lead to depression and of course, lots of “cheat days.”
The good news is that there are plenty of smart weight loss tips you can do at home to get the ball rolling if you want to cut back your calories without worrying about the numbers. Remember, making small lifestyle choices can be a great way to shed pounds and lose weight without feeling restricted, says Amy Gorin, M.S., and R.D.N.
To get you started, here are some tips to help you crush your weight goals – without the tedious process of counting and measuring calories.
Cut Out Processed Foods: In a country that’s taken legal efforts to fight off the obesity crisis, according to the University of Nevada, Reno, it can be shocking for readers to hear about the obesity statistics in America. But if you take a daily stroll down the grocery store aisles, it can be a tempting experience that proves difficult to walk away from. With rows and rows of processed meat, snacks, and colorful packages, you might feel tempted to give each item that has a catchy name, or cool logo, a try. It’s almost as if the packages are screaming your name in despair as you walk past them with your shopping cart.
Typically, when most people think of the phrase “processed food,” they envision food that contains a lot of sodium, sugar, and fat. They don’t, however, think about the food stored in their cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator. So what is exactly processed food?
A good rule of thumb: If it’s boxed, canned, or stored in a jar and comes with a list of ingredients on the side, it’s processed. Other alternative methods used for processing food are:
- Freezing items
- Dehydration (This method preserves food)
Anything that’s been altered from its natural state for safety and storage convenience purposes is considered processed food. Why do companies support this? It all comes down to cost. In other words, processed food is much more convenient than natural food. It’s cheaper to make, easier to store, and lasts much longer. If you spend a lot of time on the go and eating out, stop. Instead, start preparing your meals at home. Healthier products like whole grain, bread, and organic fruits can be bought at the same store you go to. So don’t hesitate to venture off over in the health foods aisle to explore.
Create a Month Long Eating Plan: After you’ve figured out your daily intake, plan on creating a meal plan that ranges anywhere from 225-1,000 calorie deficit. Your daily intake for a more natural weight loss might be between 1,200 and 1,800 calories, depending on your weight loss goal, age, gender, and size. This means that each meal you eat for the day should contain between 300 and 500 calories, with room for a couple small snacks throughout the day.
When meal prepping, make sure you have protein that’s low in saturated fat. This might include tuna, a chicken breast (without the skin), flank steak, or tofu. Add a pile of vegetables, of course, that are watery and leafy to help fill you up. You can also add one or two servings of whole grains and a slice of 100 percent whole wheat bread.
For a snack, feel free to eat a low-fat yogurt with a handful of raw nuts and seeds mixed in. Don’t deny yourself fat since it’s necessary for the body to function, but just be sure to stick to the unsaturated kind. You can also use technology to help you throughout the transformation process too. In fact, 96 percent of health and wellness app users believe that health tracking technology has improved their quality of life, according to Arizona State University, which means there’s a good chance this could help you closely monitor your calorie intake.
Limit Your Dairy Intake: Although a lot of diets recommend getting vitamin D from dairy products – like milk and yogurt to build strong bones — did you know that the human digestive system isn’t optimized for cow’s milk? It’s true, dairy is nature’s perfect food – if you’re a calf.
The concept that excessive dairy consumption can be bad for you isn’t far-fetched. As a matter of fact, nutritionists are finally recommending that individuals reduce their dairy intake because studies have found that drinking milk is associated with both short-term and long-term health problems. The negative effects of cow’s milk, cheese, and butter should be taken into strong consideration. Don’t worry, you don’t have to avoid dairy at all cost. But if you’re consuming a lot, you should probably limit yourself and decrease your intake. If you aren’t sure how much dairy you’re consuming on the day-to-day basis, write down the different types of food you eat. You can also ask yourself, “How much milk and cream do I put in my coffee, chocolate milk, and/or tea”? You might be surprised to know the answer, depending on how many cups you have per day.
Creating a weight-loss plan and sticking to it can help you tremendously in reaching your goals. The process won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the long run.