JANUARY and diets go hand in hand – with social media currently full of “quick fixes” that promise to help you lose Christmas weight in a few days.
However, these diets can be unsustainable and frankly impossible to adapt to your daily routine.
Don’t worry, because there are some easy ways to lose pounds that are proven and reliable.
Here, we guide you through some simple lifestyle changes you can make that will help you beat belly fat and get fit in 2020.
And to make it even better, these tips don’t involve a grueling diet or an expensive gym membership …
1. Don’t shop hungry
If you shop when you are hungry, you are more likely to buy a tasty snack or a treatment to curb your cravings.
In fact, US health researchers have found that hungry shoppers “buy more calories.”
Cornell University scientists conducted an experiment and found that people who fasted for five hours before shopping tended to buy foods with more calories than when they were full.
Professor Brian Walsink, who led the study, said doing your weekly grocery store on an empty stomach – perhaps in the late afternoon rather than early afternoon – can have a big impact on healthy eating.
“A decision to go hungry shopping messes you up for the rest of the week,” he said.
“Whenever you go shopping, be sure to get an apple to eat on the way.”
2. Familiarize yourself with the portion sizes
Most of us are so busy focusing on what’s left in our mouths that we don’t consider how much we’re really lowering.
While you can typically eat endless amounts of dark green leafy vegetables, eating a little too much chicken or potatoes regularly can lead to weight gain.
This is why the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has come up with a useful portion guide.
For example, when it comes to carbohydrates, they suggest two handfuls of pasta or rice shapes and a pile of spaghetti the size of a £ 1 coin – measured using your finger and thumb.
And the amount of cooked pasta or rice that would fit in two hands cupped together.
The BNF also says that a grilled chicken breast should be about half of your hand and you should only have a tablespoon of peanut butter, about three teaspoons of soft cheese and a two-inch-sized piece of cheddar cheese together.
3. Take the stairs
We are all guilty of standing on the escalators or going to the elevator instead of going up the stairs.
However, climbing stairs can actually help you maximize your weight loss result.
This is because you could burn up to 195 more calories a day simply by going up the stairs.
On average, for each step uphill, you burn about 0.17 calories or roughly one and a half calories for every 10 steps upwards.
On the other hand, going down you burn about 0.05 calories, or 1 calorie for every 20 steps.
Climbing stairs does not require any additional time, equipment or even a change of clothes – and above all it is free.
It is accessible to almost everyone and can be easily integrated into your daily routine, so there is no reason to avoid it.
4. Clean the lockers
One way to make sure you’re not gorging yourself on snacks and unhealthy treats is to make sure they’re not in your belief at all.
Even if you have super strong willpower, it can be almost impossible to avoid eating the food you know you shouldn’t be when they’re just an open closet door.
We have put together a list of healthy treats with less than 150 calories below which we recommend having a healthy snack. They are all below 150 calories.
- Hippeas – With only 130 calories per serving, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein – organic chickpea cream puffs have a great nutritional value.
- Two-finger KitKat – Take a break, take a KitKat – and one that only contains 106 calories.
- Coconut cream puffs – Monkey snacks are pressure-blown rather than fried, with a bag of their coconut cream puffs reaching just 92 calories.
- Marmite on toast – Whether you love it or hate it, marmite is considered one of the healthiest things you can spread on your toast.
- Propercorn – This tasty popcorn has less than 100 calories per 20g sachet and is filled with iron, fiber and antioxidants.
- Eat real lentil chips – With only 130 calories, lentil chips are a more innocent and guilt-free snack.
- Three jaffa cakes – In addition to giving you a much needed boost of energy, Jaffa cakes are one of the healthiest snacks as they only contain 46 calories.
- Pom-Bears – Pom-Bears do not contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and have less than 100 calories per pack.
Use your weight loss goals as a reason to have a clean spring and fill your drawers with healthier snacks.
Helen Bond, a registered dietitian, suggests swapping chips and chocolate for popcorn, peanut butter on toast or a handful of nuts or unsalted seeds.
5. Drink more water
It may seem a little contradictory, but one of the best ways to lose weight in water is to actually drink more water.
This is because if you are constantly dehydrated, your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to prevent its levels from dropping too low.
Water also increases metabolism, cleanses the body of waste and acts as an appetite suppressant, experts say.
The guidelines suggest around two liters per day, but they can vary from person to person, so just drink when you are thirsty and stop when you feel well hydrated.
You can usually use the color of your urine as an indicator of hydration – if it is light yellow or light enough, then you are well hydrated.
When it is dark yellow or amber, then you need to drink more water.
6. Take photos of your progress
By taking photos of your progress you will be more motivated to stick to your weight loss journey.
Bring out your belly and legs in your photos if you want those areas to change and after a few weeks of confrontation you will be surprised at what you can see.
To get results and stay motivated you have to see the changes
Harry Thomas, PT at No1 Fitness
Clothes are also a great way to see change, as well as circumference measurements and body fat machines if you have access to one in the gym.
As PT Harry Thomas, No1 Fitness coach said, “To get results and stay motivated you have to see the changes, which means we need to become more aware of them and start looking.”
7. Record what you eat
Tracking the food you eat is critical when it comes to body fat blitz.
A 2019 study also revealed that people who monitored their food daily using a fitness app lost more weight than those who used the app less diligently.
There are many free apps that you can download including MyFitnessPal, which calculates your daily calorie intake and allows you to record what you eat during the day from a nutritional database of over six million different foods.
It will also help you understand how the portions of food you eat each day accumulate relative to each other.
8. Indulge yourself
Allowing yourself to do a little treatment every now and then will help you stick to your diet.
As dietician Susie Burrell said: “Diets often fail because we are drawn to our favorite sweet dessert, a glass of wine or we cannot consider eating out as part of our regular diet.
When you have a treatment, you are less likely to experience feelings of deprivation
“When we include these foods in our regular, controlled-volume eating plan, you are less likely to experience feelings of deprivation that may be associated with stricter diets and more likely to be able to stick to your healthy eating plan for rest of the time.
“This translates to a meal out regularly, taking into consideration a controlled portion after dinner or giving yourself permission to enjoy a glass or two of wine a couple of evenings every week depending on your favorite indulgence style.”
9. Prepare your meals
Preparing your food rather than buying it will help you reduce your calorie intake and ultimately lose weight.
This is because if you buy a meal outside the home – a lunch at the bar, a takeaway sandwich or a Deliveroo it is likely that you will consume at least one / three calories and more fat than the equivalent meal that you would prepare at home.
Dietitian Susie Burrell said, “When it comes to weight control, preparing your own meals means you have more control over your calorie intake.
“This means preparing more lunches, ordering less dinners at home and having breakfast at home rather than treating yourself to bar treatment more than occasionally as a general strategy that supports weight control.”
10. Try HIIT
A recent study revealed that short spurts of intense exercise are better for weight loss and burn more fat than workouts that take twice as long
The researchers found that 23 minutes of high intensity interval training was more effective than 41 minutes of conventional training.
It led to 29% more weight loss than traditional gymnastics sessions.
Steven Ward, CEO of the UK’s active fitness industry, said: “These figures show the positive impacts of interval training on weight reduction and, with Britain struggling with a severe obesity crisis , this research should be welcomed. “
Typically, HIIT involves 30 seconds of intense effort, such as sprinting, cycling or burpees, followed by short recovery periods.