Sometimes making the smallest changes to your diet can make a massive difference towards obtaining your nutritional goals. In this section we will look at some of these changes you can put in place right away, start out small and then increase these changes over time.
1. Phasing out the fizz
Cutting soda based drinks from your diet can make a huge difference to your ability to process and burn fat efficiently. Fizzy drinks can increase the risk of obesity by up to 65%, they are also filled with artificial sweeteners which some studies show may stimulate your appetite and potentially causing overeating. Water is the obvious choice, but if this transition is too drastic try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Lemon water detoxifies the liver and metabolises fat, it can speed up your metabolism by 33% – that’s around 100 calories a day!
2. Going “tea-total”
No I’m not talking about giving up alcohol, I’m talking about green tea. Green tea has half the caffeine content of coffee and it contains catechins, a substance that has been proven to boost your metabolism. A recent study in Japan found that people who replaced their regular drinks with an 11 ounce serving of green tea a day lost 5.3 pounds of body weight in 3 months, those who drank regular tea lost 2.9 pounds. Green tea has zero calories and is full of antioxidants which help to purify your body.
3. Packing in the protein
Doubling up on protein can help you eat less and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Protein also makes your brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full and nutritionally satisfied.
4. Clockwork eating
People who erratically eat throughout the day with no real structure over what they eat and when they eat it generally consume more calories than they can effectively burn. Whereas people who eat 5-6 structured meals a day are far more efficient at tapping into their fat stores and burning calories by maintaining a fast burning metabolism. Find a routine that works for you and stick with it.
5. Sleep time
Sleeping helps you burn calories. People who sleep an average of 8 hours a night can burn fat and lose more weight quicker than people who get an average of 6 hours of sleep a night. Depriving your body from a good night sleep produces more stress hormones, which in turn can hinder your ability to lose weight.
6. Portion control
A small cut back on what goes on your plate can make a substantial difference. If a meal can satisfy you to an 80% full rule and you consume around 5 small meals a day you’ll never go hungry, and never overeat.
7. Make a list and stick to it
Before you go to the supermarket to do your food shopping take a little extra time and write a shopping list. Take your time and make sure you have everything on that list that you need from the supermarket, then double check it. You should never go into the supermarket “blind” and most importantly never go on an empty stomach, becuase if you do you’ll pick up all kinds of crap that you don’t need. Know what you need and stick to the list.
8. Prepare and freeze
Here’s a handy little tip; every time you make a meal make a little extra and freeze it. This is a great way to save on some time in the future and it means that you’ll always have a tasty and healthy meal sitting in the freezer for those days where you just haven’t been able to get to the supermarket. Another handy way to save on some time in the future is to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen on a day off and cook up a load of food and freeze it, it may consume a couple of hours at first but you’ll save so much time in the future when you can just reach into the freezer and reheat a delicious meal.
9. Spice it up a little
Add a little kick to your diet with cayenne chilli pepper. Spicy foods have been proven to increase your thermic burn (your body’s ability to digest and process food) and help you burn more calories at rest.
If at any point you start getting bored of certain groups or combinations of foods try experimenting with them. Try changing the way you cook them, or what items you combine together. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new, you might just discover your new favourite meal.
11. If in doubt, blend it down
If it comes to the stage where you can acknowledge the benefits of certain foods but can’t bring yourself to eat them because you don’t like the taste, texture or simply the way it looks then throw it in a blender with some ice and knock it back. Even if you don’t like the taste it’ll be over before you know it.
12. Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth after a meal can suppress your appetite by clearing your pallet and neutralising your taste buds.