Avoid foods you KNOW are bad for you. If the food seems unclean and bad for you, you’re probably right. Specifically, try to refrain from junk food, processed foods, fast food, and edibles that are high in carbs, fat, oil, or sugar. If you are hungry and looking for a quick meal, opt for healthy fruits and vegetables over tortilla chips.
Drink water. Water helps to remove by-products of fat and reduce how much you eat by filling up your stomach. Often times, you may think you feel hungry when in reality you are just thirsty. Water is a natural appetite suppressant that can help to raise your metabolism and, best of all, is zero calories.
Don’t drink your calories. Sugary drinks and alcohol have more calories than you think! One shot of vodka has about 100 calories, and a smoothie from Jamba Juice can have between 200 and 500 calories. Coffee and tea are good options if you drink them without add ons.
Buy smaller dishware. Eating off of smaller dishware has been shown to reduce your overall food intake. People will usually fill their plate and won’t stop eating until it is clean, even if they aren’t hungry anymore. Studies by Cambridge University show that smaller plates allow you to eat ten percent less.
Burn your calories on the go. Opt to walk to places if they are within close proximity or to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Next time you want to go grocery shopping, choose to walk instead of getting a ride. It’s good for you and reduces your carbon footprint! Walking from place to place can help burn hundreds of calories a day, keeping you more fit and raising your metabolism.
Go to the gym. USC provides us with free gym memberships for a reason! Working out improves your muscle definition, keeping you toned and raising your metabolism. Exercise improves the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol you have in your body and reduces “bad” LDL cholesterol concentration. This lowers your blood pressure and risk for heart disease while increasing your energy and overall mood.
Cook meals. By cooking your meals at home, you know exactly what you are putting in your stomach and have more control of the calorie count. Next time you are deciding between cooking and going out to eat or ordering delivery, remember that you’ll likely eat a smaller, healthier amount (and save money) by cooking.
Eat more earlier in the day. In a 2013 study called “Obesity”, researchers discovered that those who ate a big breakfast, medium lunch, and light dinner lost more weight than those who ate a light breakfast, medium lunch, and big dinner, even though the two groups consumed virtually the same amount of calories. Moreover, studies have shown that food consumed later at night is more likely to be stored as fat than to burn as energy.
Consider crash diets. Though these may carry a negative stigma, they do work while not having to be harmful. One crash diet to consider is the grapefruit diet, which concerns a restricted food intake mainly consisting of grapefruit. Not considering a limited eating regimen, eating half of a grapefruit with every meal can still help you burn more calories than if you did not. Another healthy diet is the Atkins diet, which focuses on lowering carb intake. Of course, use crash diets in moderation as they can have short term benefits but, in the long run, deplete you of nutrients.
Let yourself have cheat days. A large meal every now and then is okay and can even be beneficial. Your body can hold onto extra calories because of stress, and eating one larger meal in the midst of a low-calorie diet can help your body relax and expend the excess. One cheat meal also won’t change your body as it is elastic – just wait a day and any bloating will have completely disappeared.