12 Diet Tricks to Slim Down Before Summer
Time flies and summer is just around the corner. This time of the year can be exciting, but it can also provoke anxiety about the upcoming beach season. Many do not feel quite ready to jump into their swimsuits or summer dresses due to the extra pounds that have crept on over the holidays.
We’ve all heard of how to lose weight: you just need to eat less and exercise more. It seems simple right? But in reality, it won’t work without a plan.
Here are a few tips I’ve gathered that will help support a balanced lifestyle and realistic weight loss, rather than a crash diet that usually doesn’t last and results in rebounded weight gain.
1. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up.
When you eat within one hour of waking up, your blood sugar and insulin levels become easier to keep in check.
If you’re looking to lose weight, or even just maintain your weight, eating breakfast within the first hour allows the body to immediately regulate insulin and blood sugar levels and kick-start your metabolism. When your blood sugar and insulin levels are regulated, the body has the necessary energy resources to power you throughout your day. Doing this also reduces the chances you'll overeat at your other meals.
2. Cut down on sugar.
One of the most common reasons why many adults fail to lose weight is because of sugar. This one is challenging because you sometimes cannot really know how much sugar you consume in a day. Hidden sugar is in almost every food we eat (even those that don't seem sweet by taste).
This can be very challenging to cut down on in your diet. The human brain has a strong desire to obtain sugar as a way to boost dopamine (a hormone that is tied to happiness), which can lead to sugar addiction. Sugar also provides a quick surge of energy that tricks your brain into making you feel euphoric.
That said, it is best to take control of your mind and body to watch what you eat. Try to monitor the sugar content of what you eat, avoid sugary drinks (juice, soda, etc.) as this can also shoot up your sugar level without filling you up.
3. Drink more coffee!
Coffee can help you lose weight because it speeds up your metabolism. It also helps reduce hunger cravings throughout the day.
Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control and blood lipid levels as well. Burning the extra calories can help with weight loss.
However, as delicious as coffee is, make sure to limit the amount of sugar you have with it. As much as possible, use alternative sweeteners like stevia. You can also add almond, oat, or soy milk as a healthier alternative to using cream.
4. Focus on improving your sleep.
An unhealthy weight can affect a person’s well-being in a lot of aspects. This is the reason why many people make a very conscious effort to lose excess body weight and have a healthy balanced diet. But, not everyone has an easy time achieving their goals.
Why? Likely because they failed to address one big factor in their lifestyle – their sleeping habits!
On average, adults need at least 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep per night to feel fully rested. But in reality, many people are unable to achieve this.
Sleep deprivation can seriously affect one’s hormones, which can result in overeating and unnecessary cravings. Focus on sleep to make weight loss much easier.
5. Have protein at every meal and snack.
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, this macronutrient helps keep muscles strong and can also play a role in metabolism and hunger.
Eating protein helps you burn more calories. Protein has a thermogenic effect in the body, which means the body expends energy and burns off calories during the digestion process. Compared to other foods, like carbohydrates which have the same caloric value, protein actually has a greater thermogenic effect.
It can also help reduce appetite and keeps hunger in check. Appetite and hunger reduction between meals are the main benefits of eating a high protein diet. It is advised to eat smaller high protein snacks (or mini-meals) between larger meals.
6. Use a smaller plate.
Your eyes play a significant role in telling your brain how much food you need to eat in order to feel full. When you pile large portions of food on a big plate, you won’t tend to feel full until you have eaten much more food than if you were to put smaller portions of food on a smaller plate.
One of the key strategies for weight loss is practicing effective portion control. Bigger plates lead to more calories consumed. Smaller plates lead to fewer consumed calories. So yes, something as simple as reducing the size of your plate can help!
7. Do not ban foods.
You don’t really need to “ban” certain foods to lose weight. This is all goes down to discipline and practicing moderation when enjoying foods you love! Eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the foods you enjoy.
One great way to balance this is by learning how to properly portion your food. Learn how much of each you can take without ruining your diet and losing track of your goals.
Losing weight to be more healthy should be a fun journey, not a painful one!
8. Try not to skip meals.
It is never okay to skip your meals. Doing this is unlikely to result in long-term weight loss. In fact, this can lead to the opposite – weight gain.
To lose weight and keep it off, you have to reduce the number of calories you consume and increase the calories you burn through exercise. But skipping meals altogether can result in overeating later and choosing more unhealthy foods.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to be extremely effective at weight loss, but for most people, it is a challenging diet to sustain. Long-term health is about creating habits you can stick with, so I only recommend fasting if it's something you are able to handle consistently.
9. Cut down on alcohol.
Most people would be shocked to see the number of calories they consume in a night of drinking. Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, compared to protein and carbohydrates which have around four calories per gram, and fat which has nine.
A pint of beer can have as many calories as a large slice of pizza, and a large glass of white wine could be the same as an ice cream cone, so the calories in a few drinks can quickly add up. What’s more, calories in alcohol are considered ‘empty’ calories, as they don’t provide any nutrients.
Drinking less makes also makes it easier to stick to your diet and make healthier meal choices, which in time will have a positive impact on your waistline.
10. Drink a glass of water before every meal.
You’ve probably heard of this before. A classic and very simple tip to help your body lose weight.
Numerous studies have shown that drinking water before meals can result in consuming fewer calories at those meals, which can ultimately lead to weight loss. This is probably because the water provides a sense of fullness, so not as much food is needed to make you feel satisfied. Plus, it doesn't hurt that choosing water as your drink of choice instead of an empty-calorie beverage can save more than 100 calories per glass.
11. Eat fruit for dessert.
On a diet? That doesn’t mean you can’t have dessert! If you want to satisfy your sugar cravings without messing up your diet, you can always opt for a healthy fruit dessert.
Fruits are naturally sweet, usually fat-free, and are highly beneficial for your health. Eating fruits, rather than fat-laden ice cream or pastries, can cut an enormous amount of calories and replenish your body with metabolism-boosting nutrition.
12. Focus on eating whole foods.
Eating whole foods, instead of processed ones, is generally healthier and is also one of the easiest ways to lose weight quickly. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins are likely to help you stay full longer, meaning you’ll have less room for the not-so-wholesome stuff. It’s also a way of eating that’s sustainable for the long term.
Take note that just because you’re eating healthy foods, you can't necessarily eat an unlimited amount of those foods and still lose weight. That’s because certain healthy foods also happen to be calorically dense, meaning that for their volume they have a higher concentration of calories than other foods. Be careful with nuts, avocados, and other high-fat options. There is nothing wrong with eating them, but moderation is key!