Finding it hard to shed those extra kilos or pounds? New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings so now is the ideal time to change your eating habits and the ways you exercise. It’s all about eating better on less and getting more movement into your day. Here are my fave 7 tips and tricks to boost your metabolism, burn more energy and promote healthy weight loss
1. Serve main meals on a small side plate
This simple eye-trick will force you to serve less effortlessly but still feel as if you are eating enough. Remember to eat slowly, chew well and pause often so your stomach has time to signal your brain when it’s ‘had enough’. Sit down to eat and stretch out your meal to last 20 minutes.
2. Drink water
Drink a glass of water before you eat and continue drinking water throughout the meal. This has been proven to reduce the amount you consume by as much as 13 per cent. It’s a simple dead-easy hack. I’ve written about it before here.
3. Fill up on salad before your main
Start a meal with the salad to satisfy your appetite and create bulk inside. You can order many interesting salad-based starters at cafés and eateries now such as tomato, basil and radish or rocket and pear salad.
4. Limit liquid kilojoules
The problem with liquids is that we don’t eat less to account for their kilojoules so we unconsciously end up consuming more overall. From juice to beer, this applies to anything you drink, really. Chewing an intact whole structure somehow helps you feel fuller sooner. It’s another good reason to eat whole foods. What to do? Swap juices and fizzy drinks for water and limit your consumption of alcohol. I often say “Don’t drink juice – eat the fruit whole and drink water.”
5. Rev up the spicy heat
Spicy foods, such as chilli, horseradish, ginger and cayenne pepper, can increase your metabolism by up to 50 per cent after eating. No other change is needed and you’ll burn off more. So be liberal with the hot/sriracha/pepper/Tabasco/peri-peri sauce, chop up hot red chillis to scatter over your food, indulge in a hot curry or serve a fiery salsa alongside your steak.
6. Less alcohol, not zero alcohol
Here’s an easy way to cut back on alcohol without missing it – dilute it down. You can still enjoy a drink with friends but you’re drinking a lot less. For instance:
- Dilute wine with ice or water. At 12 to 14 per alcohol, wine is too concentrated on its own
- Order light beer instead of full-strength
- Have a half-nip instead of a full one; top up with soda water or a diet drink
- Steer clear of cocktails which are hard to modify to be lighter
- Swap to sugar-free diet drinks or sparkling mineral water.
Obviously the less alcohol you drink, the easier your fat loss efforts will be. Alcohol is concentrated kilojoules (calories) and diverts the body from burning off the fat stores.
7. Close the kitchen between meals
Have a new rule that you’re not allowed into the kitchen except at meal times. This is a handy trick to prevent mindless snacking between meals. Allow yourself water, tea and perhaps a piece of fruit if you can’t make it to the next meal.
Understand the difference between eating because you are physically hungry, and eating because you are bored, unhappy or lonely. If you get a craving, drink a glass of water first then do something that’s got nothing to do with food such as calling a friend, going outdoors for a walk or pick up some needlework or craftwork to keep your hands busy. And away from food.
Remember that small changes done daily will do more for your long-term weight than a huge change that you can't sustain.
Download my free Hunger-Fullness Log so you can record your feelings of hunger and satiety over the day.