By: Ann M. Swank
You’ve heard it a thousand times: If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But in reality, it’s not.
We need some effective strategies to help us do it. One way is to make lots and lots of small and painless changes related to eating and exercise. I recently lost 30 pounds over nine months by using this method.
See if any of these suggestions will work for you:
- Substitute water and diet drinks for sodas. Subtracting just one calorie-rich soda every day can make a big difference. With all the calorie-free flavored-water beverages now available, this is not difficult to do.
- Eat only healthful and calorie-free snacks after dinner. This strategy was effective for combating my “mindless eating,” which occurred most often at night.
- Eat at least one salad every day. Salads are nutritious and satisfying—just go easy with the dressing, cheese and other high-calorie additions.
- A personal downfall of mine is the buffet-style meal. I feel compelled to “get my money’s worth.” If you frequently eat at buffet-style restaurants, substitute a regular menu meal every week, or avoid the buffet tables entirely.
- Add a mile of walking to your daily routine. I increased my weekly mileage from 15 miles to 25. Ten miles of walking each week adds up to about 1,000 more calories burned per week.
- Consider adding a resistance-training or strength-training program to your workout routine. While the actual performance of resistance exercise does not burn a lot of calories, in the long run it can increase muscle mass, which boosts your resting metabolism and helps you to burn more calories all day long. Muscle is three times as active metabolically at rest as is fat.
- Consider starting a flexibility program like yoga. There are many benefits of improved flexibility, and yoga is great for reducing stress and creating a quiet time to get centered during our hectic lives.
- Change up your exercise routine periodically. If you’re a swimmer, try running; if you bike, take some dance classes. Doing the same exercise day in, day out is boring for you and for your body, and it often results in a weight-loss plateau. Give your fitness program a jump start with a different routine.
- Park farther away from work and walk, walk the concourse at sporting events, walk or bike to do short errands instead of taking the car. I call this my “unconscious” exercise strategy.
- Find an exercise partner who will pester you to exercise and will be your conscience. Having a workout buddy can make the time fly by.
- Be flexible with your program. Follow the 80/20 rule: If I can follow sound exercise and diet strategies 80 percent of the time or four days out of five, positive things will usually result.
I hope these ideas help you meet your goals this summer. Have fun with your program!