Well, kind of.
Throw away your fad diets. If you’re serious about losing weight, there are only two things that matter: calorie intake and exercise. Consume fewer calories and get more exercise and you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that.
Reducing calories and increasing exercise doesn’t mean dieting and hitting the gym. Here are eight things you can do to lose weight without making major changes to your diet or lifestyle.
1. Drink water.
Water does several things that can help you lose weight and feel healthier:
- Water can decrease your appetite by fooling your stomach into thinking it’s fuller than it is. If you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water and waiting 20 minutes. You may not be hungry anymore.
- Water has no calories and no caffeine, so it’s a great alternative to other beverages that contain one or both.
- Water is vital for a number of bodily processes, including removing waste, carrying nutrients, regulating body temperature, reducing fluid retention, and keeping bowel functions normal.
Different sources recommend different amounts of water in your diet. One source I found suggested 64 ounces a day. Another suggested 48-64 ounces a day. Still another suggested 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight — so a 150-lb person should drink 75 ounces a day.
2. Eat only half.
One of the problems with American food portions — especially those in many restaurants — is that they’re just too big. The next time you’re faced with a huge plate of food at your favorite restaurant, eat just half of what’s on your plate. Take the rest home in a carry-out bag. Not only will you eat less food, but you’ll have a free meal the next day.
When you cook at home, make smaller portions. Pay attention to portion size on prepared foods and only cook what you and your family need. While leftovers are nice, it’s all too easy to eat all the food you prepare instead of stowing some of it away in the fridge for the next day.
Here’s what I’ve noticed: the less I eat, the less I want to eat. It’s almost as if I’m shrinking my stomach so it needs less food to feel full.
3. Snack with fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables make great snack foods. Not only are they good for you, but they’re often very low in calories. They’re also easy to prepare — especially when eaten raw — and taste great.
Some fruits to keep in mind:
- Honeydew Melon
For vegetables, try:
- Dill Pickles
- Sugar Snap Peas
And, in case you’re wondering, I’m talking about fresh fruits and vegetables here. The good stuff. Leave the cans on the shelves where they belong.
4. Say “no” to dessert.
Boy, is this a no-brainer. If you’re accustomed to eating dessert after dinner, just stop. Instead, reach for a piece of fruit. Fewer calories and better for you.
5. Park in the farthest parking space.
How much time do you spend cruising for a parking spot close to where you’re going? Did you ever think that that time could be better spent walking from a parking spot on the other side of the lot?
Park far away. Then walk to where you’re going. It’ll only take a few minutes and you’ll be giving your body an extra dose of exercise it wasn’t expecting to have.
An added bonus: You might actually find a spot in the shade.
6. Get off on the wrong stop.
Do you take a bus or train to work? Instead of getting off at the stop closest to your workplace, get off one or two stops before or after it. Again, you’ll be treating your body to some extra exercise.
Sure, it might take a few minutes more, but you can always catch an earlier bus or train. And imagine the new things you’ll see along the way.
7. Take the stairs.
Only need to go up or down one or two floors? Avoid elevators and escalators. Take the stairs. More exercise squeezed into your busy day and only your body will notice it.
8. Walk your kids to school.
When I was a kid, I walked to school. Rain, snow, heat — it didn’t matter. Four blocks to elementary school, eight blocks to junior high school, and a full mile (with uphills and downhills both ways) to high school.
While I realize that times are different and many parents are concerned about the safety of their kids, you don’t need to drive your kid to school to ensure his or her safety. Take a walk instead. You’ll get exercise and make sure your kid gets some, too. You’ll also have some quality time to spend with your kid on that walk.
Want to make it really count? Take the dog along, too.
Do the Math
My doctor told me that 3500 calories equals a pound. That means that knocking 500 calories off your daily diet will result in a loss of 1 pound a week — without increasing exercise. But if you add exercise to the equation, you can drop weight a bit more quickly without sacrificing your health.
You’ll also develop some healthy habits that’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.
Got more tips? Share ’em in the comments. And please do let me know how you do with your weight loss efforts.