Sometimes, it may seem that the only way to lose weight is to adopt a super-strict diet or spend every waking moment at the gym. Fortunately, that’s not the case. “Making small changes to your lifestyle is the best way to achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss,” says Alpha Coach co-founder and product head Vishnu Venugopalan. Losing weight is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.

Even though fad diets seem to be the most effective method of losing weight, they are doomed to fail over time. “A person may lose weight quickly, but they’ll also gain it back, often with some added pounds,” says Ketan Mevinkurve, founder and CEO of Alpha Coach. 

Rather than punishing your body to lose weight, try these 14 tips to get healthier overall. There are many benefits to this besides possible weight loss!

1. Be mindful of how much you eat.

Vishnu points out that Indians eat twice as much food as they need. But, of course, that doesn’t help that restaurants or family members often serve big portions, which can convince you that’s how much food you need. To get an idea of proper serving sizes, Vishnu recommends checking nutrition labels or looking up how much food counts as a portion for one person online.

2. Put your spoon down between bites.

By eating slowly, you can reduce your calorie intake. When you eat slowly, your body can register the feeling of fullness, which can take up to 20 minutes to hit your brain. In addition, several studies in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggest that eating slower may improve the taste of your food. 

3. Drink lots of water.

Although your body is generally a brilliant machine, it can make mistakes sometimes. For example, sometimes what you think is ‘hunger’ is thirst. The problem is, that all your body actually needs is water, but that “hunger” can lead you to snack. 

4. Pre-plan all your meals and snacks.

Pre-planning all your meals helps you make better food choices. In addition to saving money, you will also know what you’re eating. You will also be less likely to skip meals on busy days since you already have your meals and snacks ready! Although it may be tempting to skip meals, cutting those calories could help boost weight loss. Depriving your body of regular meals makes you more likely to overeat later.

5. Eating should not be interrupted by other activities.

Focusing on eating is difficult when you have work to finish and Instagram to check. If you eat while distracted, you may accidentally consume more than you need. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition systematic review published in February 2013 shows that distracted eating isn’t just associated with more consumption now but also with eating more later in the day.

6. Breakfast is essential.

You will likely make better food choices throughout the day if you eat a breakfast rich in lean protein and fibre. Try scrambled eggs with whole grain toast, Greek yoghurt with fruit, or an omelette full of vegetables instead.

7. Snack smartly.

Snacking can be your best friend or your most formidable enemy if you’re trying to lose weight. Rather than just nibbling at snacks randomly, you can pre-portion your snacks according to their serving sizes to avoid unknowingly consuming more than you think. In addition, when you graze or eat mindlessly instead of eating intentionally, you can develop snacking problems. 

8. Make sure you get enough sleep every night.

It can be challenging to stick to a healthy sleep schedule-especially when there are Stranger Things episodes to watch but getting enough sleep is key to losing weight. Moreover, sleep helps regulate the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin. When those hormones are not balanced, they can lead to an increase in appetite. Therefore, you should aim to sleep between 7 and 9 hours each night.

9. Even on weekends, eat healthily.

You may not lose weight when you eat healthy Monday through Friday but indulge in junk food on weekends. Don’t let the days of the week determine your habits. Focus on creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle with occasional indulgences.

10. Use smaller plates.

Compared to a larger plate, a small plate might seem more delicious because of its smaller size. The Delboeuf illusion shows how being surrounded by much white space can make something appear smaller. Cutting back on plate space around your food can trick your brain into thinking it’s a larger portion than it is. On the other hand, doing the opposite can stoke your hunger by making you believe you only had a small serving.

11. Reducing family-style eating is a smart idea.

 When possible, limit the amount of food on the table to what you eat. It’s not forbidden to have seconds, but checking in to see if you’re still hungry before grabbing more is smart.

12. At restaurants, sit away from the buffet.

You may eat more if you constantly look at food, especially if you are trying to maximize your money. Instead of staring at what you might eat next, turn your attention to what’s on your plate and enjoy it.

13. Eat more vegetables.

Healthy eating habits are best developed by adding foods to your diet instead of removing them. It can be counterproductive to refuse your favourite treats, but it is beneficial to increase your vegetable intake slowly. Vegetables contain essential nutrients that keep you healthy, energized, and satiated because they contain fibre. For a week, add a cup to a meal a day, then add more as you get used to them. 

14. Start logging your food.

The process of losing weight can feel like a mystery if you’re doing all the above and exercising but not seeing results. Start logging your food to get a comprehensive picture of your eating habits. By doing so, you will be able to identify areas specific to you and your lifestyle that need minor improvement. Try tracking your food and beverage intake for a week, then look back to see if you’re unknowingly taking in extra calories that you could eliminate. Food logging gives you a visual of you how much more you are eating towards your weight loss goal. It eliminates the errors of guesswork completely. 

You can lose weight healthily by trial and error, but the most significant thing is learning to be kind to your body.

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