[By Vanessa Tan]
So often, we hear of costly fad diets that reek of promises but fall short of its delivery. Here we have 5 simple, lifestyle changes we can start instituting right now to get our bodies back on the skinny track, without spending a dime.
#1 Eat Protein
A quarter of your calories should come from lean proteins, such as eggs, lean meats, fish and low-fat dairy. Why? Protein helps you feel fuller longer, recharges your muscles after intense workouts, and according to recent research at the University of Illinois, sheds more fat than muscle.
#2 BREAKFAST IS KEY
Eat A Filling Breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. The best breakfast is one that contains both protein and fiber to boost your energy levels and help you stay satiated throughout the day (think nonfat Greek yogurt and fruit, toast and nut butter, or an egg scramble with chives and mushrooms.
#3 SMALLER PLATES
Downsizing your bowls and utensils can be the key to dropping a dress size. When you’re eating from a salad plate (about 7 or 8 inches) rather than a dinner plate (10 to 14 inches), you think you’re still eating a large portion. The proof: Researchers from Cornell University found that people given larger bowls at breakfast ate 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls, yet they estimated that they were eating less.
#4 DRINK ICED WATER
So often, when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. So make it a weight-loss lifestyle rule: Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water before every meal. That way you know you’re not thirsty when you’re eating. And yes, water is still your best beverage bet. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people had modest weight loss simply by replacing high-calorie beverages with water and drinks with zero or very few calories. In fact, cold water can boost your metabolic rate so down a glass of iced water before each meal.
#5 AVOID ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
This may seem surprising considering all those yellow, pink, and blue packets we use, but artificial sweeteners do little for weight loss and could actually cause you to pile on the pounds. The problem is that they’re so intensely sweet that they seem to exacerbate a person’s addiction for sweets. Researchers at Purdue University found that rats given food sweetened with artificial sweeteners ate more calories than rats given food sweetened with normal sugar! Once you’ve reset your ‘sugar thermostat’, you should find yourself craving less for the sugary stuff, setting yourself back on track for a more balanced diet.