When you think of losing weight, what springs to mind first? Heavy sessions in the gym, long runs in the dark, eating rabbit food? We’ve somehow built up weight loss as a challenge that can only be achieved through extreme activity, which feels extremely daunting.
In truth, it’s possible to achieve fantastic weight loss results without a gym membership or a tough new exercise routine, simply by adjusting some of the habits you have at home.
Here are seven easy ways you can help yourself lose weight at home.
Time your meals properly
How you distribute your calories throughout your day has a big effect on your mood, cravings, and hunger levels. Timing your meals correctly and consistently will make it a lot easier to maintain good habits and eat less.
Assuming you have a standard schedule (no night shifts, etc.), aim to eat dinner no later than 8pm and have breakfast no earlier than 10am. There are two big reasons for this:
- Your digestive system slows down late in the day, slowing your metabolism with it and reducing your energy requirements. If you get into the habit of eating after 8pm, you can feel bloated and have difficulty sleeping — plus, you place yourself at risk of getting hungry during the early evening and snacking too heavily.
- Some people claim that going extended periods without eating (otherwise known as intermittent fasting) has helped them curb bad food habits, but there is not a lot of evidence to support this. What we do know is that eating late in the evening right before bed is not good for you.
Never overcook your food
When you overcook a meal, you damage the nutrients in the ingredients, nutrients that are important for general wellbeing and satisfying hunger. If you don’t get enough nutrients, you’ll be more susceptible to cravings.
Avoid overcooking by using ingredients that can be eaten raw (mostly vegetables) or using cooking methods that preserve nutrients, such as steaming or baking, instead of using microwaves. If you must use a microwave to cook vegetables, use a microwave-friendly steam kit to keep the nutrients in.
Consume more protein
Of all the macronutrients, protein is the most important for satiation. Because it is harder to digest, people on a protein-rich diet will feel fuller for longer and find themselves experiencing fewer cravings.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get more protein in your diet: you can eat more meat, fish, or dairy products, or, if you’re vegetarian, consume foods like soy, quinoa, beans, rice, or even Quorn.
If you are taking a weight loss treatment like Orlistat, you need to stick to a low-calorie and low-fat diet — lean protein can help you feel full with less fat and calories. Find out more about what to eat when taking Orlistat on our Orlistat diet plan page.
Eat very slowly
The next time you eat a meal, take great care to consume it as slowly as you can — eating quickly is very inadvisable when you’re dieting. This is because it takes time for your digestive system to register that you’re full and reduce your hunger accordingly.
It’s all too easy to eat a huge amount before you have a chance to feel satisfied. Aim to chew each mouthful thoroughly, and try putting your cutlery down between each bite to ensure that you take your time.
It’s hard to know exactly how much of the hunger you feel each day is wholly or partially down to dehydration, but it is well established that drinking enough water (or other suitable fluids) is very important for keeping your hunger levels from spiking.
Avoid sweetened and thick drinks, like juices or full-sugar sodas. If water is a little bland for you, opt for coffee or tea, try zero-calorie sodas if you must have them, or simply add to water with some basic flavouring or low-sugar fruit squash.
Attempting to lose weight without exercise is ill-advised. But if you’d prefer a gentler workout, try yoga. It’s easy on the bones and joints, helps with flexibility, and can be practised very slowly and calmly to refresh your energy levels, or tried more intensely to get your heart rate going and burn some calories. Check out some free fitness ideas on the NHS website.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep would be a miracle cure if it were a drug, yet many of us don’t get nearly enough of it (or the sleep we get isn’t as good as it could be). It’s alright if you can’t get eight full hours every night, but if you feel tired when you wake up in the morning, it’s a sign that you need to do something differently.
Try going to bed earlier, reducing your exposure to artificial light in the late evening, and ensuring a cool, comfortable sleeping environment with no distractions (leave the smartphone elsewhere to avoid temptation if you wake up in the middle of the night).
Feeling more motivated about your weight loss journey? It doesn’t need to be as difficult as we often make it out to be. Make these simple changes to your everyday routine while focusing on your overall health, and you’ll start to see some real results in a matter of weeks. Visit our weight loss advice pages for more tips and information.