Relaxed to the feel-good weight instead of starving
Many people struggle with their weight and want to lose some. It is important, though, to really consider why you want to lose weight. Is it about some beauty ideal or your health? We gathered the following tips for all those who want to live healthier and loose some kilos in the process:
1. Decide consciously.
By now, there are so many diets, that it seems hard to find the right one: paleo, vegan, clean eating, gluten-free, ketogenic… All have good arguments going for them, but you don’t have to commit to any of those a 100%. Try out, what works best for your body. If counting calories helps you lose weight, calculate your daily requirements and stick to them. Or reduce your portions. Drop junk food. Try intermittent fasting or no carbs after 4pm. It is okay to try different approaches to find the best diet for yourself.
As a rough guide to healthy eating and achieving your feel-good weight, bear the following in mind: daily foods should include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds, high-quality vegetable oils and in small dosage milk products. One to several times a week you can enjoy nuts, eggs, dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, tofu and optionally fish or lean meat. Ice cream, chips, lemonade and co. should be limited to special occasions and enjoyed in small portions. The same goes for alcoholic beverages.
2. Clear out your pantry.
If you want to change your eating habits, get rid of all junk food in your house. Give an away all chips, milk chocolate and jelly sweets or bring them with to a party. Tell your surroundings and especially your household members about your endeavour and ask for their support. Maybe some family member or flat mates want to join in. Together, such a change of diet is easier.
3. Buy smart.
Granted, supermarkets have great selling strategies for their products, but we can avoid those. Write down a shopping list with all wanted foods and stick to it. Ignore the sweets and snack isle. Try to avoid “peak times”, so you don’t have to stand long in front of the sweets at the cash register. And: Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry!
4. Only eat when you are hungry.
Yes, this tip seems like a no-brainer and yet most of us eat for other reasons than real hunger: appetite, boredom, frustration, loneliness, as a treat, thirst, habit or simply because there is an opportunity for it. Observe yourself and ask: Am I starving at this moment? If you are not sure in the beginning, imagine a scale from 1 to 10 in your head. When 1 is really, really full and 10 feels like starving, only eat at 7 or higher. If you pick a lower number, check the real reason for your appetite. Are you thirsty? Drink a big glass of water. Do you want to distract yourself from negative feelings? Contact a friend, go for a walk, do sports, meditate or sing. Find other ways to cope with uncomfortable feelings.
5. Stop when you are full
Just as obvious and just as often ignored: our feeling of satiety. In some cultures, it is considered rude to leave food on your plate. In others, it is polite. Anyhow, it is always okay to stop when you are full. If possible, take a small portion and, if you are still hungry, another one. It helps to avoid overeating and less precious food has to be thrown out.
6. Outsmart your cravings
Most of us know those mean cravings for something sweet or salty. But we can learn to deal with them better: In many cases, a big glass of water just does the trick. Also fruits instead of sweets can help. Our taste buds get more sensitive after a while of sugar abstinence and we will experience the fruit’s flavour more intensely. A handful of unsalted nuts or 1–2 rice crackers also give us that yummy crunch in our mouths. If you have snack alternatives with you, you are rarely tempted to get a doughnut from the bakery. A home made muesli with oats, dried or fresh fruit and sunflower seeds is super delicious and very satiating. If you can’t do without certain foods, take a small portion (e.g. a tablespoon full) to your dinning place and enjoy every single bite. Stop, as soon as you’re full.
7. Eat less animal products.
Countless studies have proven that a (mostly) vegetarian diet prevents many common civilization diseases and contributes to a healthy weight. Be conscious about your consumption of animal products. Reduce meat to 1–2x a week, or even less. Try plant-based milk/cream instead of cow milk/cream and yogurt made of soy, oat, or rice. They have less saturated fats and often fewer calories. Moreover, they preserve animals and the environment.
8. Move more in your everyday life.
You don’t need to sign up for a strict sports program (except it helps you), but it is easy to incorporate more movement and exercise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk a train station or take your bike to work. Meet your friends for a long walk, go swimming or attend a sports course. Set realistic goals. If you sit a lot at work, get up from time to time and leave the building in your lunch break.
9. A challenge for the advanced.
Observe yourself to develop a better understanding of your body. Be conscious of how your body feels after certain meals. Are you tired after a big meal in the afternoon? Do you get stomach pains after eating certain foods? Do you sometimes crave certain vegetables, legumes, or eggs? If we really pay attention, our body shows us what it needs and which foods are good for us.
Whether you want to loose weight, maintain it or simply eat more consciously, it is important to have fun with it. Be patient with yourself and not too strict. Because you want to do something good for yourself! Small changes step by step will help you reach your goals more easily and long-lasting. Take care!