Sometimes we make getting healthy and staying healthy far too complicated. Here are five, very simple, yet highly effective ways you can safeguard your health to look and feel your best.
Eat less by using a smaller plate. It may seem simple, and it is, but using a smaller plate can make a big difference in how much you eat. Instead of piling your food onto a dinner plate, use a side plate. Why does it work? We think things are smaller when we compare them to things that are larger. If you place your food on a large plate, your mind tells you that it’s a small portion, so chances are, you’ll go back for more. If you put that same food on a smaller plate, your mind will tell you that your stomach is getting a large portion, so you’ll know that you really don’t need, and shouldn’t, go back for seconds. Study after study has proven this to be true, including one that found when shift from a 12” plate to a 10” plate, there was an average of a 22% decrease in calories. The researchers noted that assuming the average dinner consisted of 800 calories, this one simple change could result in over 10 pounds of weight lost in the course of a year.
Switch calorie-filled beverages for water. Don’t drink your calories, this is one of the main ways people go way over their daily calorie needs, and many beverages are also filled with artificial flavorings, dyes, sugars or artificial sweeteners that can be just as damaging to the body as smoking a cigarette. One of the easiest things to do to lose weight is to skip that soda, juice, milk, or alcohol and choose water, herbal tea, or water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Keep in mind that even those beverages with “zero calories,” have been linked to weight gain in multiple studies, and quitting all types of soda, diet or regular, is one of the easiest ways to improve your diet and achieve a thinner waistline.
Trade sugar for cinnamon in your coffee. One of the best ways to improve your health and to lose weight is to cut back on sugar. If you’re used to adding sugar to your morning coffee, try exchanging it for cinnamon instead. Not only will you enjoy a flavorful kick, but unlike sugar, cinnamon offers lots of benefits. It contains antioxidants which help boost the immune system, fighting disease and illness, as well as to improve blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and reduce triglycerides. One study found that just a half-teaspoon of cinnamon each day can significantly reduce blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in those who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Sugar, on the other hand, has been associated with weight gain, diabetes, and it may even be toxic to the body. If you can replace both your cream and sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon in your coffee, you’ll save at least 70 calories per cup, while adding a potential metabolism boost to help you burn more calories all day long.
Fancy up a water bottle with time. Nutrition doesn’t just include the food you need to eat to give your body essential vitamins and minerals, it includes water too. Your body needs at least eight 8 ounce glasses a day, and preferably more, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. If you struggle to drink enough water, transforming your water bottle with a marker might be just the nutrition hack you need to help you achieve this important goal. All you need to do is take a clear water bottle, and using a permanent marker, mark the bottle, dividing it into 200 ml intervals that coordinate with every hour in the day. Every hour, you should drink one glass of water, which means at the time marked on the bottle, your water should be at that level. If you start at 8 a.m., and you have a 1-liter bottle, it should need refilling at noon, continuing the same system, and by dinner time, you should have consumed 8 glasses of water.
Plan your meals in advance, and eat at home as often as possible. If you don’t plan ahead and find yourself hunger, you’ll be much more tempted to impulsively eat whatever happens to be around. Planning meals eliminate guesswork and ultimately, impulse eating. It’s especially helpful for those who have a busy schedule. Once a week, sit down and plan around your schedule for the following week, making sure you get the most out of your time and ensuring that you know which meals you can look forward to after a long day at work. Cooking your own meals is another important step toward better nutrition. Although many restaurants offer more nutritious food options today, the choices are limited, with most foods still containing a high number of calories and fats, not to mention those processed foods filled with all sorts of chemicals and potentially harmful additives. By making your meals at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating – and, if you stock up on key spices like cinnamon, garlic, turmeric and oregano, you’ll be able to enjoy more flavorful meals too. If you aren’t sure what to make, just do an online search for healthy recipes.