If you’re reading this, chances are you’re very much like me – want to get in shape, want to try and make some healthy changes, but aren’t really willing (or able) to cut out every single vice. I’ll admit, I’m a candy lover (and I may drink Diet Sunkist on occasion – if by “occasion” you know I mean regularly) , and I bet I’m not the only one living large. Am I right?
No doubt it can be tough and even overwhelming to try and start to shape up. And there are a LOT of fitness fanatics out there that have all these great big ideas on how to cut your life down to a bowl of oatmeal and a piece of grilled chicken, and then oh, just a quick 5 mile daily run. Let’s be real. The best way to get into the game is by taking baby steps. The less you feel deprived and the more you enjoy the process, the better chance you’ll have at sticking with it.
So here I’m offering you 10 Hip and Healthy tips on how to get yourself going without feeling a whole lot of pain. You can do all of them, or start with just a few, but I promise you, once you see that it’s really this easy to start, you’ll be looking for more fab and fun ways to stay on track.
1) Don’t go Nutty
Yes, we all know that nuts have heart-healthy fats, but don’t kid yourself – they’re crazy high in calories! But if you truly must go with a nut, go for pistachios. Why? Because first of all, they’re known as the “skinny nut”. Second, you’re going to spend time shelling, which will slow you down. And third, a handful (49 pistachios is about 1 ounce) is just 163 calories. Win win.
2) Put Your Phone Down
People who look at their phone during lunch tend to eat up to 200 calories more per day. We know that mindless munching in front of a TV can add to your calorie count – well so can mindlessly checking social media or playing Scrabble with Friends while you’re eating. You’re also prone to feel less full and snack more in the afternoon. Just what you don’t want.
3) Smell an Apple a Day
You know how the smell of garlic or the smell of freshly baked cookies can make your mouth water? Well, the smell of some foods can actually help you suppress your appetite. And apples (and bananas) are among them. In fact, some researchers confirm that smell is 90% of taste, and this is why essential oils can greatly improve efforts to shed a few pounds. Just smelling certain scents can help you from overeating – grapefruit and peppermint are also effective in this area. As we essential oil advocates like to say, there really is an oil for everything.
4) Swap Your Dish
Seriously. I know it sounds crazy, but if you change out your 12-inch plate for a 10-inch one, you’ll actually eat 20-25% less! That’s up to 500 calories, people! And, researchers say people are more satisfied with less food when they’re served on a smaller plate, versus more food on a larger dinner plate. Bam.
5) But use a Bowl
How many of us have opened a bag of chips and then sat down and ended up eating them all? Oh, ummm not me. But I mean, I know people that’s happened to. Seriously, if you actually count your chips, you can literally save…wait for it…more than 1000 calories! Whaaaat?!? Yep, it’s true. A bag of chips is not one serving, my friends. And eating through the whole bag will pack on about 1250 calories. But, if you put a “serving size” portion into a bowl, you’ll end up eating about 140 calories. And guys, even if you end up reaching for another bowl, you’re still saving yourself close to 1000 calories. Totally worth it.
6) Sleep it Off
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know you should be getting more sleep at night for a multitude of reasons. But researchers at the University of Chicago say that those who sleep only about 5 ½ hours a night end up snacking much more! Just getting enough zzz’s can save you more than 300 calories. For reals.
7) Learn to Love Lemon
It’s not rocket science people, and you’ve likely heard that drinking a glass of water before meals (and generally more throughout the day) can help you from overeating. But have you actually tried it? It’s too easy to pass up – simply drink a glass of water and squeeze some lemon in it for a little extra flavor (different essential oils can be used, as well, such as lime, grapefruit and even peppermint!) and you will see the slimming first hand.
8) That’s a Wrap
Go with whole grain tortillas for your sandwiches instead of two slices of hearty whole grain bread. It’ll save you between 60-80 calories per pop! And anyway, who doesn’t love a wrap?
9) Get Your Chocolate Fix
Did someone say chocolate? Yes, you can have your treat and eat it, too! Try a chocolate covered strawberry instead of chocolate chip cookies. You can cut 250 calories right there. Boom.
10) Sharing Really is Caring
Look, desserts are my thang. Cookies, ice cream, brownies, whatever. I want it. But the truth is, do you really feel less satisfied if you share your sweet something with your dinner partner? Often times, even just a bite or two will satiate us, so make that a plan from the get go. Yes, you get dessert, and yes you also save on the calories. Can I get an amen?