5.20 Tips and Tricks to Lose Weight
In this HeartStrong.com video, we are going to talk about some different tips and tricks that people have used to help them lose weight and stay healthy.
These tips and tricks are NOT evidence based for the most part, meaning not studied in big clinical trials to prove that they work. But certainly there is no harm in trying some of these. Hopefully, you will get a couple of ideas from these tips and tricks that can help you acheive your goals.
Always remember that the key to weight loss and heart health is a healthy diet and enough physical activity. Whether or not you use these tips and tricks to lose weight, you must stay physically active and follow a healthy eating plan. So let’s get started.
Make a List of Why You Want to Lose Weight
Sounds simple and maybe a little silly, but reminding yourself on a regular basis why it is important to lose weight and be heart healthy can go a long way. Include a picture of yourself when overweight if you are not happy with your appearance. This will help motivate you to stick to your plan. Remind yourself of the 10 Reasons to Get Heart Healthy.
Delay Your Breakfast or Dinner
Many people run into the problem of getting hungry before lunch or before bedtime. One good way to avoid this is to eat breakfast and/or dinner an hour or two later than usual. If you normally eat dinner at 5 pm, you will probably get hungry again around 9 pm, just before bed.
Try eating a healthy snack, drink some water at 5 pm instead, then eat a healthy dinner at 6 or 6:30 pm. This little delay in dinner can significantly help stop you from craving to eat again right before bed. If you still need something before sleeping, be sure it is a healthy, lower calorie snack like a banana. They say bananas have a calming effect and can help you sleep better when you eat one just before bed.
Remove Unhealthy Foods From Your House
If you don’t have unhealthy foods in the house, you won’t eat them as much, right? When you go to the store, just don’t buy the high calorie foods or junk foods that you used to eat. Its that simple. Buy lots of fruits and vegetables. If you pay for them you will not want to waste them and will end up eating more healthy.
Do you have other people in the house that want to eat unhealthy foods or junk food? Tell them too bad or make sure to keep those foods out of your own view … not in the refrigerator, pantry or cabinets in the kitchen. You need the support of your family and friends to be healthy. Be sure they know your efforts and hopefully they will keep those unhealthy foods out of your face where you don’t see them.
This would be easy if you live by yourself or are on a new healthy journey with your partner, but much more difficult if you have kids or live with others that have unhealthy eating habits. Especially for those with sugar addictions, getting unhealthy foods out of the house is simply critical. Don’t just do it for yourself. Tell the others that you live with that you really care about their health as well and want them to focus a bit more on being healthy. You will probably be surprised with their positive response if you are genuine about this.
Stash Healthy Snacks
This can be quite helpful. Between meals or before bedtime, if you are the type that has a hunger for something sweet or just need to keep your stomach full. It is MUCH better to eat healthy, lower calorie snacks than junk food or desserts of course.
Make a specific place, perhaps a shelf in your refrigerator or a place on the counter, where you put only HEALTHY snacks. When you get the urge, this is the place you should turn.
Eat these healthy snacks when you first get up in the morning to help delay your breakfast by an hour or around your normal dinner time to help delay your dinner a bit. Anything you can do to stop the snacking or eating before bedtime is quite helpful.
Stuff your face with foods that have a low calorie density…whole plant foods!
Use a Smaller Plate
Portion size really matters and is a big problem for many people. You will be quite surprised when you realize that eating only one serving does indeed satisfy your hunger and you won’t need to go for seconds. You will also be surprised when you look at labels and see how big 1 serving actually is, much smaller than you think in most cases!
Using that smaller plate and avoiding a second helping can help trick the brain into eating smaller portions. If you get hungry sooner from the smaller meal, go for that healthy snack stash!
Save It For Later
Do not let yourself have the mindset that you need to clean your plate or eat everything that you just cooked. If you are only cooking for two and find it hard to prepare small quantities, then be sure to eat only the appropriate sized portion and put the rest in the fridge for later.
Many parents would force their kids to “clean their plate”. That is not good. It teaches them to overeat and leads to unhealthy eating habits. When you are satisfied, stop eating! Save the rest for later.
Some people were brought up by their parents with the mindset of making sure guests or their spouse or family is satisfied or taken care of by giving them large amounts of food. Don’t just accept this. Be polite and say thanks, but no thanks. I’ve had enough and it was great, but I really can’t overeat.
Brush Your Teeth or Use Mouth Wash After Dinner
Sounds interesting, but if you brush your teeth or use mouth wash after dinner, especially if it is a late dinner, you will be less likely to snack or eat desert before you go to bed. Just another mental trick to stop you from eating too many calories.
Avoid Liquid Sugar Calories
It is widely known that sugary drinks are empty calories and are one of the primary causes of overweight and obesity in the U.S., especially childhood obesity.
Liquid calories, especially those with sugar (most drinks) are just simply not healthy and gives you empty calories without any good nutrition. Even worse, they do not fill you up, so you still have the same appetite for your regular food.
Juice is NOT healthy for you. Apple juice, organge juice or any other kind of juice is just sugar calories. It certainly is better then drinking soda which has high fructose corn syrup, but juice is still not healthy.
Think about a glass of orange juice. It may take 5-10 oranges to make 1 glass of orange juice. All the sugar and calories are being squeezed out of those oranges, you drink those calories, then are still not full. Have you ever tried to eat 5-10 oranges instead? Thats a lot right? You will get great fiber and feel full. Much better then the glass of juice. Probably a better idea to stick to 2-3 oranges though and not 10.
Some other drinks to avoid while losing weight besides juice and soda include sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit smoothies, sweetened iced tea and coffee with sugar added.
Drink Water and Make It Fun
People say to drink 8 glasses of water per day. While this really has not been shown in clinical research to have major health benefits, it can be a good way to keep your stomach full so you eat fewer calories.
Drink a glass of water before your meal. Keep water handy and available, like always having some in your car or at work. Make drinking water a bit more fun. Add lemon slices, cucumbers or strawberries, whatever you like to the water. This will give it a little natural flavor a healthy way.
Remember, if you have congestive heart failure you may need to be on a fluid restriction, so be careful with how much you drink.
Exercise While Watching TV
Do you have that 1 or 2 hour show that you must see every day? Sitting in a chair or on the couch will just make you snack, which is not what we want. Use a treadmill or exercise bike and stay on it the WHOLE TIME you are in front of the TV. If this is difficult, then stand while watching TV and just walk back and forth. During commercials go up and down the stairs once. All this calorie burning adds up and is way better then being a couch potato.
Many people simply eat when they are bored. Keeping yourself busy can be very helpful to stop you from thinking about eating or even noticing the hungry feeling in your stomach. Cravings for food usually pass within 10 minutes. Find something to do and then eat when you are done with your task, but be sure it is a healthy choice.
The hormones that tell your brain to stop eating when you are full, take some time to release. Eating really slowly will give your body more time to get these signals accross and will result in less eating. So just slow down the pace and you will eat less.
Keeping stress levels low will go a long way to help you avoid seeking other ways for comfort, such as overeating and/or consuming junk food. See the HeartStrong.com video on managing stress.
Tell Everybody You Are Trying to Lose Weight
Having a strong support system around you is very helpful. If everyone knows you are trying to get healthy, they won’t tempt you by asking if you want to order pizza for lunch or they may not bring a dozen donuts to work as often. Not to mention that if everyone knows your goals, there will be more pressure on you to actually do well to show them your amazing results!
Don’t Think of it as “Working Out” – Just Staying Active
While many peope like to go to the gym or workout hard, some people dread the thought of exercise. They think of an intense workout that makes you sweat and is moderately uncomfortable and even painful. It does not have to be this way at all.
Just stay active. No need to go crazy running as fast as you can or sweat bullets. Just go at a moderate pace and if you have to go slow but longer duration to get your burned calorie goal, then do it! It’s not exercising, it’s just keeping yourself active.
The absolute easiest way to stay active and burn calories is to just walk. it doesn’t require any special equipment or gear, just you and your feet.
It’s good to get into a routine. Some people wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, get dressed, then walk right away for an hour, which could be a good 3 miles depending on how fast you go. Not a morning person? Then how about right after that healthy dinner?
Walking burns an average of 100 calories per mile (depending on a few factors). Working your way up to 3, 4, 5 or 6 miles per day will quickly help you boost your metabolism and weight loss.
Try some other things like parking at the back of the parking lot, park a couple blocks from your work and walk the rest of the way or just take the stairs more often. Sign up for some charity 5K walks or runs to get yourself motivated and give yourself a goal. Walk the mall in the winter if you have to or get on that treadmill, just keep yourself moving.
Eating Right at Social Events
This is an important one. You can be good all week with your diet and exercise, then have a weekend of birthday parties or other social gatherings, which are frequently all surrounded by unhealthy food and high calorie drinks. How do you stop yourself from overeating at these events? Good thing there are ways around it! Eat healthy before you go. Ask for a “vegan option” that is oil free or low fat. You will be surprised how accommodating they will be.
Drink Black Coffee
A cup of black coffee has 2 calories and no fat. Not only is the nutritional content of coffee in your favor, but coffee helps to break down fat as well. Do NOT add sugar or creamer as this will just add bad calories and completely erase the benefits of black coffee.
While building muscle directly won’t help you lose weight since muscle tissue itself can be heavy. However, it does boost your metabolism and can help you get rid of all that unwanted fat.
For every pound of muscle you gain, your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories that you burn every day even if you did no physical activity) goes up by 50 calories. So gain 5 pounds of muscle and you are automatically burning 250 more calories per day!
Getting 7-9 hours of continuous sleep is extremely important to overall cardiovascular health and weight loss. Not only do you burn fat and calories while you sleep, but you DON’T EAT any calories while sleeping! Research shows that sleeping well decreases the number of daily calories that you eat.
Don’t “Go on a Diet”
Simply call it eating healthy and be sure that changes with your diet is something you can keep doing forever. Fad diets just don’t work. All your old bad eating habits will just come right back after you stop a fad diet. You will stop the fad diet since you can’t maintain it for the rest of your life. Just simply call it eating healthy, learn how to have a good healthy diet and do it forever.
Most people are not able to completely give up the things they love to eat. Remember though, unhealthy foods and habits should be zero. Just like smoking just a few cigarettes is not OK, eating just 1 double cheeseburger every once in a while is not OK. Reward yourself with eating out at your favorite vegan place and ask for low fat. Even better…reward yourself with a non-food item like new clothes.
Keeping something in your mouth is a good appetite suppressant. Chewing sugar-free gum (so you don’t get extra calories) can help stop your brain from reminding you how hungry you are. Whatever works for you … a toothpick, a lozenge, anything in your mouth will help, just be sure it is calorie free!
Buy Nice Exercise Clothes or Equipment
If you invest in nice clothes to wear during your run or when you go to the gym, you will feel more confident and have a better attitude about exercising. If you buy a treadmill you will feel excited and even obligated to use it. The amount of money it costs to get yourself ready to exercise and be healthy is trivial compared to the cost of doctors visits, medications and other medical bills that will come up if you are not able to get into heart healthy shape!
Summary and Conclusions
There you have it! We went through quite a few things that you may find helpful in your weight loss journey. Some of these tips and tricks are dietary, some about exercise and many behavioral. Hopefully you now have more tools in your toolbox to get to where you want to be … a normal weight and heart healthy!