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10 Ways to Lose Weight Healthily
New year, new you! If you’re hoping to drop a few kilos in 2016, don’t turn to yo-yo diets and quick fixes. These 10 tips on how to lose weight healthily will kickstart your journey to a fitter and healthier body!
Why is it that gaining weight is so easy, and losing it is so hard? There are millions of crash diets floating around the Internet, and while they may seem like easy fixes, they will not help you to lose weight healthily. Here are the top ten tips to help you lose weight healthily.
1. Slow and steady wins the race
Fad diets are never a good idea, especially when you’re trying to lose weight healthily. Cutting out entire food groups and overdoing exercise are unsustainable in the long term, which will make you more likely to quit your diet and make a faster return to unhealthy foods.
The same goes with other “fast fixes,” like pills or even spa services that promise rapid weight loss. Weight loss pills are often filled with dangerous chemicals that can seriously damage your metabolism. And those weight loss wraps at some of Singapore’s most luxurious spas? They won’t help you lose anything but water weight (though they can reduce the appearance of cellulite and leave your skin looking smoother). To lose weight healthily, slow and steady wins the race.Image by Christine Cavalier licensed under CC BY 2.0
2. Set reasonable weight loss goals
Any plan to lose weight healthily should include a set of reasonable goals—how else will you know what you’re working toward? Set one main goal (like losing 10 kilos before your wedding day), and then set out smaller goals to help you achieve your main goal (like exercising four times per week, or cooking at home each weeknight).
Be sure to make your weight loss goal achievable, too. If you try to lose too much weight in too short of a time, you’ll only feel discouraged when you don’t reach your goal (and it could be potentially harmful to you health, too). If you’re not sure how much weight you should aim to lose, speak with a doctor.
3. Reward yourself (but not with food)
Rewarding yourself as you meet your goals is an excellent form of motivation, and a tool that you should use as you work to lose weight healthily. Too often, though, we use food to reward ourselves. We think, “I’ve been so good on my diet this week, I deserve an ice cream sundae today.”
While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself on occasion, using food as a reward creates an unhealthy, restrictive mindset. You’ll start to look forward to that ice cream sundae at the week’s end, instead of focusing on how healthy you feel. Try rewarding yourself differently when you meet one of your goals: get a manicure, go to the cinema with a friend, or buy yourself a small present.Image by Marco Verch licensed under CC BY 2.0
4. Cook at home
One of the simplest ways to eliminate unnecessary calories is to cook at home more often. Restaurant food is typically far richer than what we would make in our kitchens, and the portion sizes can be much larger. Cooking healthy recipes at home is one of the best ways to control your eating and lose weight healthily.
No time for cooking during the week? Set aside some time on Sunday night to prepare meals for the week, which can be as simple as cooking up a pot of brown rice or slicing raw vegetables for stir-fry and snacking. Remember, if healthy food is available to you, you’ll be much more likely to eat it.
5. Watch out for sneaky calories
When trying to lose weight healthily, it’s pretty obvious which foods you should avoid: cakes, ice cream, and basically anything that comes from a hawker stall. But there are more innocent-looking dishes that you might not think twice about on your journey to lose weight healthily.
Salads, when loaded up with veggies and no fried toppings, are a healthy and easy choice for lunch. Salad dressing, however, can quickly turn a nutritious meal into a calorie powerhouse—so always ask for dressing on the side. Other sauces, curries, and condiments can be equally as sneaky, so limit your intake. Cheer up though, you can also eat your way to healthy weight loss.Image by Gabriel Garcia Marengo licensed under CC BY 2.0
6. Don’t drink your calories
Staying hydrated is incredibly important when trying to lose weight healthily, but how you hydrate yourself is even more important. Water, and lots of it, is key to clear skin, balanced body systems, and staying fuller longer.
Other drinks, unfortunately, are simply empty calories. Alcohol, soda, and other sugary drinks can seriously hinder losing weight healthily, especially because these beverages don’t fill you up or keep you satisfied. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy drinks when thirst strikes.
7. Develop an exercise regimen that you can maintain
Have you tried starting an exercise regimen in the past, but haven’t been able to stick to it? Maybe you’re trying to do too much. In your journey to lose weight healthily, it’s important to find a routine that you can maintain in the long term.
Start out by exercising just once a week. Make a date with yourself (or better yet, a friend!) and don’t break it under any circumstances. Once that becomes part of your routine, add in another day of exercise, and so on. By creating a habit, your body will learn to crave exercise and it will feel strange if you miss a workout. Try these 20-minute workouts to get started.Image by Runway Pilates licensed under CC BY 2.0
8. Make working out fun
Another surefire way to maintain your exercise regimen is to make sure you enjoy what you do. If you hate running, but force yourself to go jogging several times a week, you’ll start to dread it—which will lead to quitting.
To lose weight healthily, you need to find exercise that you find enjoyable, whether it’s running, weight lifting, yoga, or cardio dance. Too shy to try out a new class? YouTube is filled with fun workouts that you can test out in the privacy of your own home. Whatever you decide to pursue, make sure you’re having fun while you do it.
9. Enlist the help of a friend
To lose weight healthily, it helps if you have a strong support system. Although your family and fiancé are sure to help you along the way, it’s even more helpful if you have a friend who is also trying to lose weight healthily.
You can swap healthy recipes, take a new class at the gym together, and provide encouragement when things get tough. But the most important thing to remember is…
10. Don’t quit
This may seem like the most obvious advice, but it’s the most important. If you want to lose weight healthily and reach your goals, you can’t quit. There will be days when you don’t feel like working out, or when hitting the hawker centre on your way home from work sounds much easier than cooking. When thoughts like these come, just envision yourself looking beautiful in your wedding dress. Remember that you’re working to lose weight healthily, and that it will all be worth it when you reach your goal.