Spring is here and if you’re like most of us, you’re hoping to shed a few pounds before summer arrives. But with social distancing and Covid precautions, you might also be avoiding the gym. All is not lost. You can still achieve your weight loss goals with these strategies.
You need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. You can do that either by eating fewer unhealthy calories or by increasing your physical activity, but a combination of both is the best method. One pound equals 3,500 calories, so if you cut your daily intake by 500 calories, you could lose one pound per week. Increasing your activity will also burn calories and you can do that without a gym.
- Count Calories – You’ll need to change your diet so you’re eating fewer calories. The simplest thing to do is focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. You don’t need to measure them, and they add very few calories. The next thing you’ll need to do is eat more high-fiber foods, such as whole-grain breads, brown rice and quinoa. You’ll feel fuller faster and won’t be tempted to overeat. Completely avoid soda and fruit juices – they’re loaded with sugar and calories. Think you’re better off drinking diet? Think again – those artificial sweeteners simply increase your cravings for more sweet foods.
- Walk, Walk, Walk – Get out there and move! Take regular brisk walks or jogs at least five days a week. We’re not talking about a leisurely stroll – you’ll need to get your heart pumping. Start out with a short distance and gradually increase the distance over time. Walking with a friend is a great motivator. It’s always nice to have someone to chat with while you’re walking and knowing they’re waiting for you provides an accountability factor, making you less likely to skip it.
- Keep a Diary – Keep a journal of your eating and exercise habits. Several studies have shown that people who keep food journals are more likely to be successful in weight loss and keeping it off. A six-month study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records just one day a week or less. Researchers suggest that food diaries help people identify areas where they can make changes that will help them lose weight. For example, you may not be aware just how many calories you’re obtaining from beverages and snacks, and these can be easy interventions that can help reduce calories. If pen and paper aren’t your thing, there are several apps and online journals available as well.