When I was in eighth grade I kind of “woke up” and realized I was overweight, out-of-shape, and not very popular with the ladies. I decided it was time to fix the problem. Unfortunately, losing weight was just a “diet” to me, and I quickly gained the weight back. After years of trying this approach, I now view being in shape as a lifestyle issue. Rather than being super-restrictive for a few months a year, only to gain weight back later, I eventually decided to make some small, but significant, changes in my lifestyle that make keeping weight off pretty easy. I have decided to share three easy ones that can have a big impact.
Drink Less Sugar – And More Water
Most Americans consume a lot of calories from sugary drinks. A few cans of pop add 300 calories to your daily intake. A coffee drink can add the same. Over the course of a day, all that sugar adds up to a lot of calories, not to mention playing havoc with your blood sugar…also bad for losing weight. And diet sodas aren’t helpful either. Studies show people make up the calories saved by diet pop with later food, because the sweetness fools our brains into wanting something caloric. So you may not get the sugar calories from that diet cola, but odds are you will eat more at the next meal, or gorge at snack time.
Water is the best solution. Imagine drinking water instead of those two cans of cola. That is 300 calories a day saved, which, if all other calories or activity remain equal, will allow you to lose a pound every two weeks or so, for a loss of around 20 pounds in a year. That’s right: just eliminating sugary drinks, and nothing more, can help you lose those pesky extra pounds. Water also has its own health benefits, and may help you feel full. Another benefit is you will have more money. When you eat out, get water. I eat out about once or twice a week. By getting water, my wife and I save $4.00-$8.00 per week, or $208-$432 per year. That is a decent chunk of change that gives us money to spend on other, more worthwhile things. If you quit buying those twelve packs of pop, you could save an additional $300 per year.
Get A Pedometer – And Get 10,000 Steps a Day
When most people think of exercising, they imagine dragging their out-of-shape bodies to the gym, and suffering tremendously by working out intensely to complete exhaustion, only to wake up sore the next day and give up 2 weeks later. While intense aerobic exercise has many benefits (including increased longevity), for weight loss and commitment purposes, any movement will do. Even fidgeting burns calories (one study showed fidgeters are thinner than non-fidgeters).
One way to keep track of movement is by getting a pedometer. Experts suggest 10,000 steps a day is the way to go for health and weight loss. It may be hard at first, but soon you’ll find yourself doing what it takes to get those extra steps – taking the stairs, parking away from the store, pacing while you talk, taking an evening walk, etc. You’ll find that soon the weight will come off. And, the walking will get you in better shape, and making staying committed to an intense aerobic program easier and more feasible.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber is a group of carbohydrates that some animals can digest, but humans cannot. So, it passes right through the body, providing us with health benefits along the way, such as preventing colon cancer and constipation. Fiber also has the benefit of making us feel full because it fills up the stomach without adding any calories to our diets. Fiber also slows down the digestion of other carbohydrates, thereby decreasing any negative blood sugar reaction associated with high-carb foods.
Unfortunately, most diets are low in fiber. Pizza, fries, and hamburgers are low in fiber. Beans and certain vegetable, fruits, and grains are excellent sources. Probably the easiest way to get fiber is through Metamucil or similar products. I suggest getting the sugar-free product. Each teaspoon has 4 grams of it, with only one non-fiber carbohydrate. This means it is ideal for those trying to lower their carbohydrates. Try to get 25-30 grams a day. By stabilizing your blood sugar and helping you feel full, fiber is an instant helper in your weight loss battle.
Combining these tips could easily result in losing a pound a week. It may seem simple, but these easy tips can result in 50+ pounds in a year. Maybe if you start now, it won’t be in time to show off at the beach this summer, but by Christmas you’ll look like a new person.