3 Weight-Loss Shortcuts

If you’ve been working hard at the gym, and your patience is wearing thin try these strategies to boost your weight-loss progress.

1. Downsize Your Dishes

Portion sizes aren’t the only things that have grown bigger in recent years. So have the plates and bowls on which they’re served. If you have a tendency to pile your plate high and finish it all, try switching to smaller dishes.

Use a side plate instead of a dinner plate for your main dish. Ignore the giant pasta bowls and use a smaller cereal bowl to serve spaghetti. If the plates you already have won’t do, buy an inexpensive set of ‘downsized’ plates and bowls for everyday use. Another clever way to make a little less food seem like more: use a dessert fork instead of a regular fork, and a teaspoon for your soup and cereal.

2. Slim Your Sips

Plenty of people look to a cola for a pick-me-up in the mid afternoon. If you’re still reaching for soft drinks or other beverages sweetened with sugar, you’re drinking a lot of calories that aren’t doing much to satisfy hunger.

Studies show that these drinks slip down without triggering satiety signals. If you drink a 330 g can of cola you’ll consume 130 calories or more before you know it. This week, switch to sugar-free versions of your favourite drinks. Or try something new and add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to a glass of sparkling water.

3. Go for the Gold

If you’re a walker increase your pace this week. On day one, walk at your normal pace and keep track of how long it takes you to do your normal circuit. On day two, try shaving off a minute of your time. Be aware of how you feel. A good, brisk, walk should leave you feeling winded but not gasping for air.

The quicker your pace, the more calories you burn each minute. An 82 kg person burn 4.7 calories per minute walking at a leisurely 20-minute mile pace (three miles an hour). Speeding up to a 15-minute mile (four miles an hour, about as fast as most people can walk comfortably) increases the number of calories burned to 7.2 per minute. You’ll also increase your fitness level, which will translate into more stamina and energy.

If you swim, jog, bicycle, exercise at a gym, or do another kind of activity, nudge your workout a bit this week by putting in a little more time or pushing the intensity a little harder.

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