No matter how dedicated you are to getting healthier or losing weight, you can start to feel deprived and bored as the days go on. But there are some “easy” things you can do that will bring big results without big deprivation. Some of these might surprise you.
1. Skip through the commercials
Get up and move during the commercials while you’re watching TV. Skip, dance, go up and down some stairs, run in place, or do some housework—anything that gets your heart rate up. For each 2-minute break during a typical 2-hour TV night you’ll burn an extra 270 calories a day. That means a 28-pound weight loss in a year!
2. Brown-bag it once a week
You’ll save thousands of calories (not to mention hundreds of dollars) over the course of a year if you take your lunch to work once a week instead of going out for lunch. For instance, a chicken Caesar wrap from a chain restaurant has 610 calories, more than 40% of which come from fat. If you make your own with chicken breast on whole wheat bread, light mayo and romaine lettuce, it will amount to about 230 calories. That’s almost 400 fewer calories. In addition, you control the quality and portion sizes and reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and fat.
3. Eat fruit — don’t drink it
Skip juice and eat the whole fruit instead. You’ll not only get more heart-healthy fiber in your diet (3.5g for a small apple versus .5g in a glass of juice), you’ll also stay satisfied longer. Research shows that, fiber aside, liquid carbohydrates just aren’t as filling as solids. On top of that, drinking juice results in 48% more calories than eating the whole fruit.
4. Drink your coffee the pre-Starbucks way
A regular cup of coffee with a dash of milk and even a little sugar has hundreds fewer calories than blended coffees, which are practically dessert in a cup. One recent study of about 3,000 purchases from 115 coffee shops in New York City found that while servings of brewed coffee or tea averaged about 63 calories (including milk and sugar), the fancier drinks averaged nearly four times more, with 239 calories. A daily habit can translate to an 18-pound gain over a year.
5. Eat a treat and enjoy it
Give yourself permission to have a treat you really like once or twice a week. This will give you something to look forward to the rest of the time, and you won’t feel so deprived. It will cut down on your cravings, too. And while you’re eating, enjoy it to the hilt. Take a minute to smell it, look at it, and think about it. Take one small bite. Chew slowly, moving it around your mouth and focusing on the texture and taste, then swallow. When you take the time to slow down and be more mindful of what something really tastes like, you’ll feel more satisfied.
When you’re having that treat, why not try some of Claire Gosse’s delicious desserts from Are You Sure That’s Vegan? (Desserts). This book has 55 recipes, all as good as the Nanaimo Bars pictured above. How about Key Lime Cheesecake or Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes or Nutty Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies or Blueberry Pie? These are all worth waiting the rest of the week to enjoy. All the recipes have been tried by vegans and non-vegans…and everyone loved them!
Click the link for Are You Sure That’s Vegan? (Desserts) to see the beautiful photos and read the testimonials.
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