There are loads of diets that promise fast weight loss. But while they may be effective to begin with, unless you have the willpower of tempered steel most quick-fix diets will make you feel hungry and far from satisfied in the long run.
If you’ve had your fill of faddy diets there are lots of small diet tricks you can use instead that could make a big difference. Just eat as healthily as possible, watch your portion sizes and try these easy and effective ways to boost your weight-loss efforts right now…
- Chew, chew, chew
Devouring your food means you’re more likely to overeat than someone who slows down and savours every mouthful, as your body needs time to realise you’re getting full.
Eat more slowly by getting into the habit of chewing your food really well. Aim to chew each mouthful at least 20 times, or make it a rule to only swallow when food has become almost liquid in your mouth. Put your knife and fork down between each bite, think about how good your food tastes and smells, and before you know it you’ll feel perfectly happy with eating less.
- Spice it up
Spices that have a warming effect on the body are thought to help rev up your metabolism and your ability to burn calories and fat. So add some turmeric, cayenne pepper, mustard, chilli, ginger or garlic to your meals. Don’t forget breakfast, as eating spices first thing could help you feel full until lunchtime (add turmeric to your scrambled eggs, for example).
- Drink smart
If you’ve swapped fizzy drinks for juice you’re already doing your health a big favour. But even the most saintly-looking juices can be laden with sugar. The answer? Cut down on liquid calories by diluting fruit juice with water (start with half and half then work up to a quarter juice and three-quarters water). Also try having a long, cool glass of skimmed milk at the start of the day, as it can help prevent midday hunger pangs.
- Dress up
Whether you’re going out or eating at home always make a point of dressing for dinner. Wearing fitted clothes instead of your old baggy sweats will make you more inclined to eat less. That’s because when your waistband starts getting tight, you’ll recognise it as a sign that you’ve eaten enough.
Don’t dim the lights though, as experts think you’re more likely to binge if you eat in a darkened room. Low light apparently makes you let go of inhibitions, which means you may eat more.
- Fast when you’re stressed
Some people lose weight when they’re stressed. But others gain because they reach for junk food instead of something healthy when the pressure piles on.
If stress is making it harder for you to lose weight, next time you feel uptight do something else that makes you happy and relaxed rather than reaching for the biscuit tin. Then have something to eat when you’re calmer.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth
Cutting out sweet treats will only make you want them more and you could end up bingeing on them. Try these healthier sweet snacks when you get a sugar craving – they’re all under 100 calories:
- Three prunes wrapped in prosciutto (take a slice of prosciutto, cut into three and wrap each piece around a dried prune).
- Two fresh dates stuffed with almonds (one almond per date).
- Honey and sesame balls (mix a tablespoon of sesame seeds with a teaspoon of honey, roll into balls and leave in the fridge to set).