15 easy ways to lose weight

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Still think losing weight means a strict diet? Check out these easy tips from food nutritionist Monica Grenfell that will have those pounds melting away before you know it!

1. Step on the scales

It might sound obvious but weighing yourself once a week is no different from brushing your teeth or shaving your legs - part of looking after yourself. Studies show that if you haven't weighed yourself for six months you can underestimate by a stone.

And while clothes feeling tighter seems like a good way to check, it can be misleading - hormones can bloat us, while alcohol dehydrates and makes you feel thinner. So be brave, step on the scales!

2. Eat Eggs

To burn fat more efficiently, you need the B vitamin biotin, found in egg yolks. One egg a day is enough.

3. Take your mind off it

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4. Sprinkle nuts & seeds

Nuts and seeds contain chromium - a mineral that helps insulin to regulate sugar in your body and prevent it being turned to fat. A dessert spoon sprinkled on cereal once a day or added to stir-fries is all you need. Most health food stores have cereal sprinkle mix made of a selection of seeds and nuts, but any combination you like is fine.

5. Have protein first

Sounds weird, but eating the protein part of your meal first (chicken, cheese, meat) really does fill you up more quickly than the other items on your plate. Save the potatoes to last and you won't gobble them down so quickly.

6. Get there faster

It's an old one, but if you usually get somewhere in 20 minutes, try doing it in 15. Not only does this increase heart rate, which is good for you, but it improves leg muscle power, and more muscle burns more fat. Just walking for 15 minutes, twice a day, burns an extra 3,600 calories a month, equal to 12lb weight loss in a year without dieting.

7. Eat more fibre

It's vital to eat enough fibre to whoosh waste through the body. A high-fibre diet of fruit, nuts and vegetables can help you lose 5-7lb of toxic waste and flatten your tummy by 2in. You should have 20-25g fibre per day, or five portions.

8. Try a tomato juice appetiser

Before you dive into dinner, try drinking a glass of chilled tomato juice. As well as taking the edge off your appetite so you won't scoff your meal, tomatoes are full of potassium, a mineral that reduces water retention, so you won't feel bloated and puffy after your meal.

9. Split your meals

If you're prone to night-time munchies and are hunting for a snack at 10pm, eat half your dinner at the normal time and save half for later. Eating late never makes you fat, it's how much you eat overall that counts. You can save dessert for supper, too.

10. Be calorie and fat-aware

Calorie intake is the difference between gaining weight, maintaining or losing weight, so be calorie-aware. Guessing the calorie content of food has been found to add about 400 calories to your daily total - 12,000 extra calories a month, so get to know the calorie and fat content of your favourite meals. Women over 35 should have no more than 1,900 calories a day.

11. Microwave your fruit dessert

Most fruits, especially exotic ones like pineapple and mango, taste sweeter when heated. Try microwaving a dish of mixed fruit salad for one minute and adding yogurt - you'll eat more slowly, and feel fuller.

12. Become an early bird

Exercising in the morning makes the most of the hormone cortisol, which wakes us up and gets us going. People who work out in the morning have also been found to be less prone to depression and feeling low, and to stick to their fitness programmes than those who wait until the evening.

13. Don't eat anything normally on a side plate

When they come round with the bread basket, just say no! One roll or slice of bread with butter or olive oil can give you over 300 calories before you even start - and it's not even the tastiest part of the meal! The same goes for prawn crackers and poppadums.

14. Check labels

Always hungry? Those low-calorie snacks might be a con, containing few calories but also hardly any food. A packet of low-fat crisps contains only 28g of potato (an ounce) making them 140 calories an ounce. Real potato is 50 calories an ounce. No wonder you're hungry after such a small snack!

15. Drink milk

Dairy calcium has been proven to help the body burn fat. Three low-fat servings per day, for three months, saw an extra 11lb fat loss in a controlled group.

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