This article is one that any serious dieter shouldn't be without. It's packed with handy tips designed to make weight loss easier. Write your favourite tips on post-it notes and stick them to your fridge, your PC or your dressing table mirror to ensure you're constantly inspired and share this article with your fellow dieters on Facebook and email so they can tell you which tips work best for them and support you in achieving your diet targets.
Hours of research and testing went into creating this hot list of diet tips, and we hope this feature revolutionises your weight-loss plan and helps you achieve your fitness goals. We would love to hear about all of your weight-loss success stories too, and see your before and after pictures, so please contact me on Editor@AhlanLive.com if you would like to inspire other dieters and share your weight loss story.
After reading following these tips, success is inevitable...
Food for thought...
1. Al dente pasta has a lower GI value, so is a healthier option than nuking your fusilli till it’s soggy.
2. Eat goats cheese instead of regular cheese. It contains 40 per cent fewer calories than the cheese made from cow’s milk.
3. Eat muesli two hours before working out to boost fat burning while you train. Slow to digest, muesli takes longer to get through your system, so is less likely to be turned into fat and still gives you a good energy boost.
4. Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you must take away. Integrate tasty veggies into your meal, rather than serving them on the side. Not only will they offset the fat in your chicken or meat, but the phytochemicals in fresh produce are proven to prevent diseases.
5. Are you really hungry, or just being greedy? Your stomach is only the size of a fist so it takes just a handful of food to fill it comfortably. Assess how you feel after eating. If you feel stuffed, bloated or tired, you are either eating at the wrong time or consuming too much.
6. Like it or loathe it, horseradish, which comes from the same family as wasabi, can actually help you dissolve your fat and stave off hunger pangs, claim researchers from the University of Copenhagen. Spread a little on your sarnies, instead of your usual ketchup, for a slimming effect.
7. Enjoy your treats away from home. Pop to the ice cream parlour for a scoop of your favourite flavour, or plan a meal treat with friends on a weekend. Turning your cravings into an adventure takes the temptation out of snacking at home.
8. Be realistic. Crazy goals like losing two dress sizes in two weeks will almost always end in tears, lost motivation and more than a little comfort eating. You can only ever look like a thinner you – so set standards you know you can achieve.
9. Use spray oil rather than pouring. One squirt contains only one calorie compared to 120 calories from a tablespoon. If you use oil in your cooking daily, this small change could lose you a stone over the year.
10. Yes, the 70s diet still holds sway. Low calorie, high fibre celery will stop you snacking, and contains high levels of calcium which help to get rid of the fat content in other foods. Tip: Eat braised celery with roast chicken to negate the bird’s calorie content.
11. Catch some zzz’s. Lack of sleep produces the hormone ghrelin, an appetite booster. Tiredness will almost certainly mean you’ll skip your early morning swim or evening jog and start craving sugar, bad carbs and caffeine. Commit to a regular sleep pattern and experience the transformation it will have on your ability to slim.
12. Mustard is a secret bulge-buster. It boosts your metabolism and increases natural ephadrine, the hormone that burns fat. According to Jeya Henry, professor of human nutrition at Oxford Brookes University, just a tablespoon in your food can reduce a flabby waist by 20 per cent!
13. Laziness is not a physical disease, but a mental one. Make it easier for your body to burn those extra calories by parking your car a little further away from your destination or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
14. Grating lemon zest into food could stop the urge to snack. According to The Journal of Nutrition, fibrous pectin in lemon peel turns into a sticky gel in your stomach which stops you absorbing sugar quickly.
15. If you suffer from food cravings, try a high fibre diet supplemented with a daily dosage of chromium. This will reduce your sensitivity to insulin, and is one of the easiest ways to help you lose weight.
16. Chew gum. Sometimes just chewing something with negligible calories in it is all it takes. If you can handle it, chew a piece of gum for one hour and drop 11 calories. Remember to opt for the sugar-free variety.
17. Make gradual but permanent behaviour changes. Slowly re-vamp the contents of your fridge to healthier products, steadily increase your fruit and veg portions, phase out biscuits and treats, and soon you’ll find that healthy eating becomes habit! Carole Holditch, founder of Good Habits
18. Suck it in. Consciously hold in and contract your stomach muscles while you’re walking, sitting at your desk or making the dinner. This will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and your core, and bring you one step closer to a flatter stomach.
19. Beans, beans, are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you… lose weight actually. Super-effective and full of fibre, beans will regulate your appetite and slow down the rate at which your stomach empties, meaning you stay fuller for longer.
20. Believe in yourself. How often have you admired someone and their achievements and then instantly thought, ‘I’d love to do that, but I just can’t.’ Don’t limit your achievements by your thoughts. You can do whatever you want to do.
21. Brightly coloured turmeric not only makes your curries taste fab, but it contains curcumin, an active ingredient that breaks down high-protein dishes, burns fat and holds back the growth of new fat tissue, according to The Journal of Nutrition.
22. Banish salt from your foods wherever you can. Not only does it raise your blood pressure and dry out your blood, but sodium causes you to retain water contributing to overall ill health and weight gain.
23. Time your eating and exercise appropriately. Never eat before you work out, and wait 30 to 60 minutes after training to ensure you catch your metabolism at its highest.
24. People who plan their weekly meals tend to be more successful at losing weight than those who don’t. Plan your dishes to include healthy carbs such as sweet potato and wholegrain pasta, green vegetables and lean proteins, buy all the ingredients in advance and don’t be tempted to eat out or order in.
25. Sunny side up please. Two eggs for breakfast is better than a bagel when it comes to managing your weight, says a report from the International Journal of Obesity.
26. Go bland. Plain, simple, unseasoned food such as grilled chicken, plain rice and a naked baked potato are nutritious but your palette will tire of them quickly, unlike salty moreish processed food, which keeps you snacking and piling on the pounds.
27. Choose spinach over any other green veg: it packs in double the fibre to help you process fat more quickly.
Top Metabolism Boosters
28. Pineapple: Nibble on it to break down the proteins in your main meal and kick start your metabolism.
29. Cinnamon: Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day, sprinkled into your breakfast cereal, will help you shift an amazing one kilo every month.
30. Cold showers: They not only burn 500 extra calories a day, studies from The New England Journal of Medicine cite that the icy water also activates ‘brown fat’ – the good type of body fat that creates body heat, increases metabolism and burns off naughty white fat.
31. Green tea: This powerful antioxidant can shift fat and ramp up your metabolism by 20 per cent.
32. Fatty coconut milk: Believe it or not, it contains good fats that are important for keeping your metabolism ticking. One meal, like a delicious Thai green curry, can actually increase your metabolism by 5 per cent, says research published in the International Journal of Obesity.
33. Fresh chilies, paprika, chilli or cayenne powder: Spice things up by adding a little to your meals, and getting a met-boost as you eat.
34. Buy smaller plates. Little crockery means portion control is much easier – those diminutive portions suddenly look huge and you’ll be happier to consume less.
35. Chewing your food thoroughly will not only make digestion easier, but will allow your body time to recognise when it is actually full, thus preventing overeating.
36. It’s Friday brunch time and you just can’t stop going back for seconds. But hang on! Stop for a minute and suck on an extra strong mint. The flavour will put you off that third plate of chicken korma/roast beef/sushi medley.
37. Music makes you eat more. According to a study by the journal Psychology and Marketing, soft, classical tunes encourage you to take time over your meal, so you consume more food. So, switch off – silence will make you more aware of what you’re putting in your mouth.
38. Be blue! Weirdly, azure shades have been proven to have a positive effect on your will to exercise regularly and resist bad foods. So, wear blue, eat from blue plates and watch the pounds drop off!
39 Get lifting. Pushing the heaviest weights at the gym will make you toned, sculpted and sexy, as well as raise your metabolism. Every new pound of muscle burns 75 cals a day at rest.
Tori Lecke, Health and Fitness expert
Work It Out
Personal fitness coach, Radha Belani, gives us her hottest workout tips:
40. Go back to basics – burn more calories than you ingest.
41. Put a two litre water bottle and a glass on your desk every morning. Get through it by lunch, and do the same in the afternoon. You’ll exercise better and recover faster if you’re hydrated. I drink some water every time someone asks me a silly question or sends a stupid email... find something that works for you!
42. Become an expert in what you’re doing. Learn how and why things work and then you’ll have faith that they will. Check out a podcast called Cut The Fat, and listen to it when you’re exercising.
43. It’s not weight-loss, it’s health-gain. Think about your changes as a way to gain things, not lose them.
44. You don’t need to exercise for hours on end. Short, sharp sets of exercise will produce better results if you work hard. Get a skipping rope, skip for two minutes, do push ups for one minute, skip for two minutes, rest for one minute. Then change the push up to something else like sit ups and do the set again. Repeat it five times and it’s a quick, effective workout that will get better results than a long run or swim.
45. Supplement your diet with Omega-3 – buy good quality and they’ll boost your energy and burn more fat.
46. After you wake up, eat breakfast as soon as you can. This kick starts your metabolism to work at a higher rate and burns more calories during the day.
47. Man up. Studies show that women binge on food more than men and, when food decisions are emotional, it’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, eat little amounts when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored or unhappy, and once a week go out with the girls for beer and pizza – you’ve earned it.
48. Set performance-based goals. Always set yourself incrementally larger goals each week to make sure you’re engaged and have something to strive for. Each little achievement is also a reward that you’re going in the right direction. From doing 10 more squats to mastering a new yoga pose, whatever floats your boat.
49. Bask in the sunshine. Just 20 minutes of Vitamin D absorption each day will boost your ability to loose weight.
50. People who embark on a weight-loss journey with a partner are 37 per cent more likely to stick with it than those who go it alone, according to a recent study from Indiana University in the US.
Don’t Diet, Dress Better!
VIVA’s Fashion Editor Kirsten Doak reveals how to slim down by dressing up:
51. Stock up on nude heels – the higher the better. They play on the eye and no-one knows where your limbs finish and the Louboutin’s start.
52. Buy the right size. Squeezing into those skinny jeans will only make your muffin top more noticable.
53. Make use of the season’s block colour trend. One colour straight up and down elongates the limbs.
54. It’s the small things that count. Invest in spanks. They cinch in the wobbly bits and make you feel taught, toned and terrific.
55. Don’t focus on your flaws, spotlight your best bits. Small waist? Belt it in. Beautiful bust? Lower the neckline. Toned butt? Rock tight jeans. Sexy legs? Show ‘em off. It’s really that simple.
56. It’s an age old trick but vertical stripes really do stretch you out. The contrast of colour straight up and down splits your body in half.
57. No raw after four. Your body can’t digest raw food after 4pm so eat fruit and salad earlier in the day and stick with cooked food in the evening.
58. Don’t mix fats and carbs. If you eat two of the most calorie dense molecules at the same time, your body will have issues processing them. You can eat both, but at separate times.
59. Get off the scales! As women, our weight can fluctuate according to our menstrual cycle, water retention and meal times. So refrain from standing on the scales too often to avoid becoming obsessed and demotivated.
60. If you’re supplementing, the vitamins and minerals most likely to rev up your metabolic engine are B complex, magnesium, copper, selenium, chromium and manganese. But don’t overdo it, find foods that are rich sources of each. Nuts and seeds in a small handful are perfect, says Stephanie Karl, Nutritionalist at the Dubai London Clinic.
61. Reduce your stress. Your stress hormone cortisol can be activated by extremely low-calorie diets, intense training, lack of sleep and day-to-day worries, which results in a spike in glucose levels in your blood. More worryingly, it can contribute to blocked arteries and fat build up around your internal organs, putting you at risk of diabetes and heart disease. The only prescription for this is to… chill out.
62. One grapefruit every day as part of a 120-week weight-loss plan can take 3lb off your overall target. Scripps Clinic in San Diego has found that the Vit-C packed citrus reduces insulin levels, which stop you craving sugary things. Try it in savoury and sweet dishes for added pep.
63. Anyone for tennis? You’ll be reaching for the racket when we tell you that a 60-minute game can burn up to 420 calories.
64. Download your favourite tracks to work out to. If you’ve committed to a half hour session a day then a 30-minute soundtrack of the most upbeat, motivating tunes will keep you pumped up!
65. Get scrubbing! Give your maid the day off and give your pad a good clean. You’ll be amazed at how fast you banish those bingo wings.
66. Take a tip from the yoga masters and breathe... more oxygen in your cells means more fat is burned away. Breathing exercises such as those practiced in yoga are an easy addition to your daily weight loss regime.
67. Getting up and away from your desk at work for five minutes every hour will burn 200 calories a day!
68. Drink juice with pulp – the fibre from the bits of fruit is processed more efficiently so you feel satiated for longer.
69. Snack on high fibre, low starch carbs including natural nuts and seeds, quinoa, barley and oats to reduce those pesky hunger pangs until dinnertime. It also stops you from attacking the biscuits.
70. Pack your fridge with healthy convenient foods: pre-cooked grilled chicken breast, pre-cooked brown rice, wholegrain wraps, canned beans, frozen veggies and bags of pre-washed salad. This way you’ll be less likely to dial-a-pizza when you’re feeling lazy.
71. Be a kid again! When eating out, order a child’s sandwich, pizza or burger. Then you can have the treats you love, while reducing your portions and lowering your calorie intake.
72. Swap a bowl of pasta for a bowl of vegetables. You can save up to 200 calories by cutting the starch and adding veggies.
73. Find an alternative stress-reliever. When you’ve had a bad day, don’t reach for the doughnuts – find a new coping mechanism that works for you, not against you. Listening to your favourite album, looking at family pics on Facebook, or just getting out of the house for a walk will help you to focus on the positives.
74. Keep it natural. Avoiding processed foods will keep your digestion working efficiently as well as minimise your salt intake.
75. Tell friends, family and work colleagues that you’re dieting. Support from the people around you keeps you motivated, stops you from cheating and makes it less likely that you will fall off the wagon.
76. Post workout everyone feels ravenous and it’s easy to grab naughty treats. So keep healthy options such as beef jerky, almonds, walnuts and dried apricots in your bag and your car for a well done nibble afterwards.
Tori Lecke, Health and Fitness expert.
77. Never give up! Even if you’ve failed 10 times before, slipped up on your diet programme and fallen prey to a food binge, it’s even more reason to get back up and start again.
78. Go shopping! Make a promise to yourself that as soon as you reach your desired weight and dress size, you’ll reward yourself with that fabulous frock you’ve been eyeing up. It’s amazing how tangible goals can get your motivational juices flowing.
79. Use the 20 minute rule. Eat your portion-controlled meal then, even if you feel hungry afterwards, wait for 20 minutes and see if you still do. Nine times out of 10, you won’t. If you do, eat 10 per cent more.
80. Low-fat protein is a great basis for a weight loss diet. Foods like lean turkey, lentils and eggs in the right quantities will keep your sugar levels even, make you feel fuller for longer, lower the GI of the carbs you combine it with and help repair damaged body cells.
81. If you eat when you’re stressed, try munching on pumpkin or sunflower seeds. You’ll need to chew more, which will dissipate some of that energy, but without adding calories.
82. Love your pooch. Walking the dog twice a day is a great way to keep those love handles at bay.
83. Don’t count calories after you eat. Check the calories before you dive in and you may find it puts you off that extra chocolate chip cookie.
84. Keep a food diary. Seeing every morsel of food you’ve eaten in a single day written down can help you to see where you’re overdoing it, or reveal patterns or triggers to bad eating habits.
85. East five or six small meals or snacks daily. Eat less but more often to keep your metabolism moving. Stephanie Karl, nutritionist at the Dubai London Clinic, says, “It’s critical to eat smaller amounts more often. This way you avoid raising your blood sugar into the fat storage zone, which is actually caused by a surge of insulin usually from carbohydrate foods, caffeine and artificial sweeteners.”
86. Eat dinner no later than three hours before you go to bed. When you sleep, so does your digestive system, so if you eat a sandwich an hour before falling asleep, you’ll wake up in the morning with it undigested in your stomach. This often causes you to feel too full to manage breakfast, meaning you starve your body until lunch, having a detrimental effect on the rate of your metabolism.
87. Drink plenty of water every day. Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, can lead to fatigue and slows down your metabolism.
88. Create a diet from foods you like, and substitute foods you don’t like included in set programmes. Often these are foods your body doesn’t process well. Identifying food intolerance with an elimination plan or test, can be very helpful.
89. Intimate, loving, ahem…horizontal physical exercise with your (legal) partner has been proven as one of the most effective ways to shift those calories. So get to it!
90. Don’t finish every last morsel on your plate, but leave a mouthful or two. This clever little trick means your host doesn’t offer to refill your plate, and you don’t feel tempted to go for seconds.
91. Do not skip meals. Your body will revert to starvation mode and store even the tiniest amount of fat content in what you subsequently eat, causing you to slow down your metabolism and put on weight.
92. Set small goals for yourself. Focus on losing two pounds at a time. The sense of achievement will spur you on to lose even more.
93. The UK’s University of Exeter studied effective weight loss techniques and concluded that cravings can be countered by a brisk walk. How very British.
94. Switch those weekly weigh-ins with a measure-in. Take the measurements of your bust, hips, waist and thighs as a more accurate reflection of how well you’re doing with your weight-loss plan.
95. Remember these four words and you won’t go wrong: Eat Less, Exercise More!
96. Focus on healthy eating, rather than just weight loss. Being happy and healthy is preferable to skinny and sick. You’ll thank us for this advice when you’re 80!
97. Visualise yourself at your target weight. If that’s hard, then cut out a picture of someone in a magazine that has a body shape that you can realistically achieve. Stick that picture on the fridge and everytime you reach for the ice cream you’ll be reminded of why you’re dieting.
98. Join a team. Group sports require more commitment and can be a much more fun and sociable way to get fit.
99. Write down three reasons why you want to lose weight. It’s the first and most important step. If you don’t know why you want something, it’s harder to achieve. Make sure your goals are positive and actionable, like “I want to look great in my swimwear on holiday”.
100. Don’t cheat yourself. You know that a frozen, breaded, fried prawn is not a healthy option. Be honest about what you’re eating and opt for the fresh, grilled prawns instead.
Good luck with your weight-loss plans from everyone here on the Ahlan! Live team.