We all know what we should do to lose weight: Eat right and exercise. Knowing it is one thing but doing it is an entirely different ball game altogether. We all want to lose the jiggle but don’t want to blacklist our favorite eats, count every single calorie, or overdose on gym hours. I have been there. I was overweight but I lost more than 20 kilos. The good news, however, is that you can drop weight or maintain it without extreme dieting.
Experts say making small changes to your day is one of the best ways to lose weight. When I first started my weight loss journey, I grilled some health and fitness pros for the tweaks that could help me slowly get in shape. Based on their insights, there are a few things I don’t skip out on even when I’m not feeling myself. Try them out, and you could shed some weight without a whole lot of effort. The thing with these basic ideas is that they are effortless and hence easy to implement, and when you see that you are losing weight you will actually be motivated to keep at it and you might even end up doing the two most dreaded things – eating right and exercising.
Rule # 1 – The very basic: drink a lot
If you want to lose weight but don’t want to do anything difficult (read, right) do this. This is perhaps the easiest way to shed some kilos. Not only will you lose weight, but your skin will also clear up, and that’s an added bonus. I drink a liter of water as soon as I wake up, and then I keep sipping on it throughout the day as well. This works in two ways: one, you have had a major quota of your daily intake of water in the morning and you don’t have to worry about drinking enough during the day and two, your bowels movements will also improve overtime.
However, it can be quite difficult to chug down a liter of water as soon as you wake up especially if you aren’t in the habit of drinking much water in the first place. I suggest you begin with a glass of water and slowly build up to reach that mark. Another good thing about drinking enough water is that you will find yourself reaching for that bottle of soda less frequently.
Rule # 2 – A step up: Incorporate activity in your daily lifestyle
Most of us are too lazy to exercise. We keep making excuses for not exercising. But while we might not go to the gym or find time to watch some YouTube videos to exercise on our own, all of us can find little ways to incorporate some activity into our lifestyle. Whether it is doing extra chores around the house (try vacuuming or cleaning your car) or walking to work, there are many ways in which you can add a lot of meaningful activities in your day. These ways of just rigging up your routine to make it more active will add up and you will see that, without doing much, you will soon have dropped down a size or two.
Personally, I used to enjoy walking to work but with the pollution and the state of the roads these days, that isn’t very enjoyable anymore. Now, I make sure that I’m as active as I can be throughout the day. I’ll never make a phone call when I can simply walk over to the next department to talk to a colleague in person. Even if you are stuck at a desk all day long, you can walk for five minutes in at least every two hours. A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day.
I also play with my dog and since he’s such an energetic little one I get my daily dose of cardio just from it. I also clean my car every single day. You should see me at the end of the 20 minutes it takes to do so, I’m literally huffing and puffing, and have sweat running down my back. The thing is if you can’t find time to exercise, or are too lazy to do so (we all are actually) then you must find ways to lead an active lifestyle. This is not only good for weight loss, but for your overall health as well.
Rule # 3 – In the long run: Make changes that stick
Most of us are guilty of making elaborate diet and fitness plans only to go back to our old routines after a week or so. The key is sustaining any fitness plan is to make slow changes over time and not drastic ones overnight.
On average, sedentary people take only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that will help you lose weight. Buy a fitness tracker and just begin by monitoring your daily steps.
It’s also amazing how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration – so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. If you are hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you would eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom.
Try taking three less bites of your meal, cut down on your portions, have a fruit everyday, fit in small bouts of exercise whenever possible, like doing jumping jacks or crunches, prepare your own meals and eat out less – make small lifestyle changes and watch your weight disappear. Don’t expect to change over night and don’t make all the changes in a single day. Pick one or two and stick to it until it becomes a habit and then move on to others.