Losing weight doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. All it takes is the first few kilos to get the momentum going.
It’s the end of the year and most people will check in with their New Year’s resolution to see if they achieved what they set out to do. Losing weight is usually one of those resolutions that get abandoned that after the first few months!
Well, it isn’t too late to lose some weight and get started on the coming year, on the right fitness track. The best part is it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you’re likely to get inspired by the initial weight loss and keep going.
#1: Upsized breakfast, downsized dinner
Contrary to common belief, you won’t have to have just salad for three meals straight. Try having five meals a day; three main ones (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon). This is to ensure that you stop feeling hungry in between your main meals.
Having a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast made up of complex carbohydrates (oats, wholemeal bread) will ensure that you’ll have sufficient energy for work or school. As for the mid-meal snacks, just a piece of fruit and/or low or non-fat yoghurt will keep those niggles of hunger at bay.
For lunch, something like vegetable soup with wholegrain pasta and grilled veggies or a salad (gasp!) with grilled chicken with lemon is good. Finally, for dinner, try baking some fish with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice and have it with some vegetable soup. Dinner should consist of fewer carbs, especially for people who lead sedentary lives. If you’re not very active, you probably have plenty of carbohydrates stored in your body and do not need any extra. Extra carbohydrates will lead to excess body fat storage.
#2: Cook with little or no oil
Try cooking healthier by substituting oils, cutting it out of cooking entirely or even changing cooking methods. Instead of frying, try baking or grilling. Get a non-stick griddle and grill vegetables with a small amount of olive oil. Throw in some dried rosemary and thyme to give it a savoury taste, without salt.
If you can’t say no to crispy foods, one way is to use an air fryer. This method of cooking circulates hot air around the food at high speed. This cooks the food and produces a crispy, outer layer. Food such as potatoes, chicken, bacon and fish are popular foods for an air fryer.
Steamed vegetables may sometimes feel like a form of ‘bland torture’ but there are ways to spice these up. Try steaming some sliced broccoli or broccolini until they’re just cooked but still firm. Toss these in a mixture of soy sauce, chilli flakes, diced garlic, and just a drop of sesame oil for a delicious salad.
Baking is an age old substitute for frying and meats such as fish and chicken taste delicious, baked. Wrapping fish and chicken in foil prevent them from drying out and to add flavour, add a dash of Chinese cooking wine, garlic and ginger. Pair this with the broccoli salad mentioned above and you’ll have wonderful dinner.
#3: Drink, drank, drunk…
We’re talking about water, that is! It is important to note that water does not magically burn fat but plays a powerful role in weight loss. A study by Virginia Tech has shown that participants who drank a glass of water before a meal consumed 75 less calories compared to participants who didn’t. Water has also been shown to possibly increase metabolic rates. Berlin’s Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Centre found that after ingesting about 500 ml of water, the metabolic rates of the study participants rose by 30 percent!
It is advised to drink 35ml of water per kilo of your bodyweight and this is for healthy adult men and women. So for instance, a healthy 58kg person should drink 2.03 litres to stay hydrated. Other ways of hydrating yourself is to ingest fruits and vegetables. A bonus to having plenty of fruits and vegetables is that these are sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibre as well.
#4: No more soda and alcohol for you
For some, this might be hard but it isn’t the worst thing to happen. All calories come from either fat, protein or carbohydrate. Sugary and alcoholic drinks do not provide a lot of nutrients but contain plenty of sugars, which are essentially carbohydrates. Thus, these drinks give you empty calories.
There are a certain amount of calories that are optimum for your age, gender and profession (please refer to the Optimum Calorie Count table). Eating more calories than you burn is what causes weight gain. Thus, to lose weight, the opposite needs to be done. However, drinking packaged juices, sodas, energy drinks and beer can add calories to your diet and won’t do your weight loss efforts any good.
#5: No way around this
Just making changes diet-wise will make your weight loss journey slightly unbalanced. What about if you could turn your body into a lean, mean fat burning furnace? Having more muscles in your body means you’ll need more energy to move yourself. The way to have more muscles is — you guessed it — exercise! Exercising can help you build muscles, strengthen your bones and improve your cardiovascular system.
However, your exercise regime doesn’t have to be drastic especially if you’re just starting out or haven’t been exercising for a while. It is recommended that you do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. This may seem like a lot but you can break it down to five 30 minute sessions of brisk walking, cycling or swimming a week.
As you can see, losing three kilos isn’t that hard. Most importantly, don’t give up! The first three kilos can melt away with a snap of your fingers but if your goal is to lose more than that, you’ll definitely need to up the ante. Do check with your medical practitioner if you have a pre-existing condition before starting on your diet and exercise routine.
Optimum Calorie Count