Spring is here and you might be hoping and trying to shed a few pounds before summer arrives. But now that the weather is nice and the days are longer, you may be less likely to go to the gym. All is not lost. You can still achieve your weight loss goals without hitting the gym.
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 joining the gym.
Step 1 – 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.
Step 2 – 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. If the weather is nice, head outside – the fresh air has advantages, too. If cold temps, snow and ice have you stuck inside, get creative and find places where you can take your walk indoors. Try the track at your local high school; hit the mall or even a museum. Try to convince a friend to join you – 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.
Step 3 – 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 losing weight 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.