10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting
Simple changes to your lifestyle can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Sure, you can lose
weight quickly. There are plenty of fad
diets that work to shed pounds rapidly -- while leaving you feeling hungry
and deprived. But what good is losing
weight only to regain it? To keep pounds off permanently, it's best to lose
weight slowly. And many experts say you can do that without going on a
"diet." Instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
One pound of fat -- is equal to 3,500 calories. By shaving 500
calories a day through dietary and exercise
modifications, you can lose about a pound a week. If you only need to maintain
your current weight, shaving 100 calories a day is enough to avoid the extra
1-2 pounds most adults gain each year.
Adopt one or more of these simple, painless strategies to help lose weight
without going on a "diet":
Eat Breakfast Every Day. One habit that's common to many people who
have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day. "Many
people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they
usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD,
author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids.
"Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than
breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the
boardroom." Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat
dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop
eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking
while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard
candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want
something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less
likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD,
WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food
Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the
calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst
with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small
portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie
vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of
alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or
two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be
a huge calorie saver.
Eat More Produce. Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits
and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories.
Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try
starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup,
suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government's 2005
Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward
says that's not really so difficult: "Stock your kitchen with plenty of
fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings,"
she says. "Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals,
phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you
won't be reaching for the cookie jar."
Go for the Grain. By substituting whole grains for refined
grains like white bread, cakes, cookies, and pretzels, you add much-needed
fiber and will fill up faster so you're more likely to eat a reasonable
portion. Choose whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bran flakes,
popcorn, and whole-rye crackers.
Control Your Environments. Another simple strategy to help cut
calories is to control your environment -- everything from stocking your
kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants. That
means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat
restaurants. And when it comes to parties, "eat a healthy snack
before so you won't be starving, and be selective when you fill your plate at
the buffet," suggests Ward. Before going back for more food, wait at
least 15 minutes and have a big glass of water.
Trim Portions. If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by
10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants
and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get
a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get
instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian
Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won't feel deprived because
the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.
Add More Steps. Get yourself a pedometer and gradually add more
steps until you reach 10,000 per day. Throughout the day, do whatever you can
to be more active -- pace while you talk on the phone, take the dog out for an
extra walk, and march in place during television commercials. Having a
pedometer serves as a constant motivator and reminder.
Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack. Adding a source of lean
or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full
longer so you're less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of
nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating
small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar
levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
Switch to Lighter Alternatives. Whenever you can, use the low-fat
versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other
products. "You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and
lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one
will ever notice," says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or
hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain
roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead
of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little
vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.