In reality, it’s the choices you make throughout the day that can help you lose weight. Sure, that cupcake may sound awfully tempting. However, the trail mix would be a far healthier snack. That decision right there would save you almost 100 calories. Not too mention the vitamins and minerals in the trail mix are better for you. So, what kind of easy choices can you make today that can impact your health?
Choosing to Lose Weight Can Be Simple
Many people, myself included, make poor decisions throughout the day that prevent weight loss. Whether it’s feeling too lazy to get up and get your own coffee or deciding fast food is better because it’s too hot to cook, your choices are what drive success. Here are seven things I try to keep in mind when cutting the inches off my waistline.
1. Your Snacks
Snacking can be very problematic for a lot of people. It’s cheap and easy to grab something at the store that tempts the taste buds while filling the stomach. However, it’s these snacks that can cause the most damage when trying to lose weight. For instance, I saw a cream cheese cinnamon role down at 7-11 the other day that looked delicious. It was more than 1400 calories! That’s more than what you should eat in two full meals.
I’m not saying that you should avoid tasty goods altogether. However, you need to understand how many calories, sugars and carbohydrates are in those snacks. One or two cookies a day usually won’t destroy your diet. It’s when you eat a whole bag of cookies throughout the day that can be problematic. When you need something sweet, try to eat more fruit. When properly portioned out, a pineapple can last a few days while saving you money at the same time.
2. Doing More for Yourself
Here is something that has helped me keep off the 20 pounds I lost. Instead of having the kids get stuff for you from the other side of the house, get up and do it yourself. I don’t ask anyone to get things for me as of a couple of years ago. Just getting up and getting my own coffee has increased both step-count and stair climbing, since I work in the basement and the coffee pot is upstairs.
You can easily double your physical activity by doing things yourself. I can attest to how this can help you lose weight. Here are a few ways you can increase your physical activity to burn off some of those excess calories:
- Increase housework: Vigorously cleaning your house 20 minutes a day has potential to burn more calories than calisthenic exercises.
- Walk instead of drive: If you live within a mile or two from the store, walk instead of drive…unless you’re bringing home a ton of groceries.
- Get your own supplies at work: Volunteer to get your own supplies while at work, or do things for the company that can keep you moving.
3. Cooking Your Own Meals
Cooking your own food can easily help you lose weight. This is especially true if you spend too much time at the drive-through window. Standing and actively cooking will burn calories faster than if you were to sit the entire time.
Avoiding the drive-through window can also reduce your caloric intake. For example, a McDouble from McDonald’s has 390 calories for than $1 burger. Usually, people will eat two or three of these. When you consider the health factor of the food you’re eating, cooking meals at home could be significantly better for you than something dripping with grease and fats.
What if it’s too hot too cook? That’s been one of our problems in the household as of late. That’s when you fall back on salads. There are so many things you can do with lettuce that go beyond the leafy green. From adding shredded lunch meat to including raw veggies, it’s an easy meal that requires little to no cooking and is incredibly healthy for you.
4. Develop Water Drinking Habits
Drinking water can contribute greatly to health. Not only is it the one thing no human can survive without, but it has several properties that can help you lose weight. The most difficult part is to make sure you’re drinking enough. A lot of people, including myself, often forget to drink water and rely on other things throughout the day. This is bad for you and may result in keeping those extra pounds you want to lose.
Personally, I try to make it a habit to drink at least one cup of water every time I go to get a cup of coffee. Any time you enter the kitchen, try to get into the habit of grabbing a cup of water before you do anything else. Here are a few things that water can do for you when you want to lose weight:
- Fills your stomach instead of food: Although it digests rather quickly, water can help subside some of those feelings of hunger.
- Helps you digest food quicker: Solid foods can take up to 3.5 hours to digest. Water helps move this process along.
- Rids the body of excess toxins and other components: The more you drink, the more you have to pee. This is the body’s way of eliminating toxins within the blood stream. It also can help rid the body of excess components such as sodium.
5. Cutting Back On Sugar at Night
Sugars are not necessarily bad for you. In fact, sugar is needed by the body in small quantities. It’s when you eat sugary goods at night is when it can pose a problem. Sugars, fats and carbohydrates are used by the body to promote energy. If you are getting ready for bed, then these components are wasted. Instead of supplying the muscles with energy, they now collect around your waist.
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid snacking at all two to three hours before bedtime. It’ll give your body the best chance of using what is available without worrying about storing the excess amount. If you do want to snack, try to focus more on things like carrots and celery. You don’t want foods that are too heavy in starches, carbs or calories.
6. Go for Morning Walks
Try to get into the habit of morning walks. In reality, any extra walking you do throughout the day is going to be beneficial. However, morning walks are nice because it gets the blood flowing to the brain. This makes you more alert while improving your cognitive functions. In other words, you can boost your brain power simply by going on walks every day.
You don’t have to try and walk a 5k first thing in the morning. Something as simple as walking around your block can be beneficial, especially if you don’t normally walk throughout the day. Since walking is one of the easiest cardio workouts, it’s hard to imagine why so many people are reluctant to get out and move their bodies. Yes, I fall into that category as well. However, I am making a difference in my life by increasing my steps per day by almost double.
7. Put Effort Into Fitness Apps
Never underestimate the value of fitness apps. Many of these can help you make better decisions throughout the day to lose weight ranging from what you eat to the amount of activity you get. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, a lot of fitness apps can be used directly from a computer Internet browser.
A fitness app is not going to do the work for you. You have to make a conscious effort in order to get the most out of the experience. For example, tracking your food through MyFitnessPal means nothing if you don’t actually track every single morsel you consume. While you can fool the app, you can’t fool your body. Here are the apps I use on a regular basis:
- MyFitnessPal: Great for tracking food and exercise.
- Fitbit: Excellent for tracking physical activity, especially if you have a Charge HR or better.
- Exercise.com: This site has a lot of information regarding thousands of different workouts.
- Runkeeper: Use this to track walks, bike rides, jogs and any other mode of transportation other than driving.
The best part is, most of these can be connected together to give you a complete overview of health and fitness.
Getting healthy isn’t as elusive as many may think. All it really takes is motivation and determination to drop those extra pounds. You need to commit yourself fully if you truly want to lose weight. What kinds of things can you alter in your day to get more activity and less foods?