Losing weight on a busy schedule (or a tight budget) is difficult but taking these simple steps can put you on the path towards weight loss success.
Many people attribute poor eating habits and weight gain to their hectic schedule. Being a busy professional, college student, or a working parent can certainly have an adverse effect on the nutritional choices people make every day; often times people choose to eat fast food or processed meals because it saves them time and money.
A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, “the highest rates of obesity occur among population groups with the highest poverty rates.” It should come as no surprise that foods composed of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars often come at the least expense to consumers. Fast food and processed diets are not only more affordable than prudent, healthy diets, but they also offer a quick solution for people who are inundated with their daily activities.Many people who wish to lose weight are faced with the reality that good nutrition costs time and money.
Eight Changes for a Total Transformation
A diet based on lean meats, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruit is optimal for encouraging weight loss. But if it were that simple to start a new diet regimen, we would all be in great shape. There is obviously no magic answer or perfect solution for every person seeking a healthier physique but there are several steps you can take to lose weight and improve overall health.
Eating a healthy breakfast (particularly one that is high in protein) helps maintain weight loss. The sooner you eat something in the morning, the sooner your body starts to burn calories.
Eating breakfast actually speeds up your metabolism and helps you to feel fuller through out the day. Opt for foods that you can make quickly and eat on the go: a boiled egg, a banana, whole wheat toast with peanut butter, a protein bar, and yogurt with granola are all fast and easy options to meet your breakfast quota.
Do Not Eat Late
While you are asleep at night, your body’s digestive system actually slows down. Rather than using the food you consume for fuel, your body will simply store it as fat. We are the least active in the evenings when our bodies begin to wind down and prepare for sleep. As a general rule, try not to eat anything after eight or nine o’clock at night. If you find it impossible to avoid snacking in the evening or late at night, settle for a glass of low fat milk or a piece of fruit.
Drink Plenty of Water
The more water you drink, the more weight you will inevitably lose. Water is a diuretic, meaning that it flushes out your system causing frequent urination. A great tip to enhance the flavor of water is to add fresh lemon juice; lemon is also a diuretic and consuming diuretics can help you to shed access water weight.
Many fast food restaurants offer healthier choices on their menu and it’s not impossible to eat a low calorie meal on the go. Fast food restaurants typically provide nutrition labels for their customers, making it easier for you to be mindful of what you are consuming.
To lose weight, the average person should consume between 1200-2000 calories per day. When eating fast food, opt for menu items under 400 calories to stay well below your daily caloric jintake. Mcdonalds offers a variety of low calorie menu items which can help you to stick to your diet and lose weight.
According to McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items, the grilled chicken sandwhich from Mcdonalds is served on wheat bread and is under 400 calories. Mcdonalds also serves a variety of snack wraps which are almost all under 300 calories. Chic-fil-a offers a reasonable selection of low calorie menu items during breakfast and lunch. According to the menu and nutrition section listed on chic-fil-a.com, the classic chicken sandwhich (fried) has 430 calories while the grilled chicken sandwhich is only 290 calories.
Dairy products are a great source of calcium and can promote healthy weight loss when eaten in moderation. Making small changes in your diet can make a huge difference in the amount of calories and the types of fats you are consuming.
If you are consuming a food that is high in saturated fats and calories, consider looking for a substitution. For example, Greek yogurt is a great substitution for mayonnaise, which is high in saturated fat and calories. Mixing a little relish with your Greek yogurt and using it to make tuna salad is a healthy substitution that still tastes great.
Making adaptations to your usual coffee drinks can also dramatically help reduce caloric intake. Substitute coffee creamer and whole milk for skim milk or soy milk whenever possible. Cappuccinos, frozen coffee drinks, and lattes are almost always high in calories and sugar, and you will probably find that once you cut them out of your diet or substitute them with a healthier option, you will lose some of the weight effortlessly.
Whole Wheat/ Whole Grain Bread/ Pasta
Whole wheat bread is much higher in fiber than white bread. Fiber aids digestion, helps you feel full and makes it easier for you to control your weight. Switching your white pasta and white bread over to the whole grain version is a simple change you can make with out sacrificing taste or spending a lot of extra cash.
White bread, as a refined grain, is also high in sugar which turns into fat. Avoid eating white breads and refined grains whenever possible. When using whole wheat pasta, cook it for a few minutes longer than you would normally cook your white pasta to make the texture softer and more palatable.
Avoiding sugary soft drinks and alcohol altogether is the best way to avoid unnecessary calories, however, both can be fairly difficult to give up entirely. If you like soda and/ or an occasional alcoholic beverage, there are ways to have them in moderation without threatening your effort to lose weight.
Rather than drinking soda with your meals, try to think of it as a treat; being mindful of how much soda you have on a daily basis will help you to consume less of it and to make better food choices. When choosing an alcoholic beverage, opt for a glass of red wine, which is healthy in moderation. Clear liquors like vodka, light rum, and gin have less sugar than others and can be mixed with soda water and lime to create a low fat alternative to beer, sugary mixed drinks, or sweet wines.
Eating through out the day will increase your metabolism and keep you feeling full until your next meal. Healthy snacking often prevents overeating at meal time and if you are mindful of which snacks you keep with you at work or around your home, you will be in control of the calories you are consuming on a daily basis.
Losing weight entails making healthy choices and substituting wholesome, lean, and natural foods for over-processed, fatty foods whenever possible. For instance, chocolate lovers often complain that giving up they’re favorite chocolate treats is a daunting task in the effort to lose weight. But the best thing about healthy eating is that is doesn’t necessarily require you to sacrifice certain foods altogether.
Dark chocolate is much lower in calories than other varieties and contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind. Instead of having a milk chocolate bar as a snack everyday, substitute a piece of heart healthy dark chocolate. Boxed raisins, carrot sticks, peanut butter and celery, pretzels, sliced apples, bananas, yogurt, popcorn, granola, or trail mix are all great options that will satisfy your need to snack on potato chips and prevent overeating at meal time.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Adam Drewnowski, Poverty and Obesity: the Role of Energy Density and Energy Costs, Vol. 79, No. 1, Pg. 6-16, January 2004, American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
- McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items, June 2011, Mcdonalds.com.
- Chic-fil-A: Menu and Nutrition, 2011 CFA Properties, Inc., http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Menu.