By Lubna Hamdan
Easy tips on how to shed those extra pounds added over the holiday season
Between Christmas dinners and New Year celebrations, who doesn’t gain a few extra pounds during the winter holidays? Luckily, we’ve got you covered on how to shed that extra weight and who knows, perhaps even develop a six-pack!
Here are our top tried-and-tested (by ourselves) tips to a healthier and fitter you!
Add lemon slices to your water.
Drinking water to lose weight has always been a go-to for dieters. But what you probably didn’t know is that adding a slice of lemon to your daily water intake can actually help you shed more weight. Lemons contain an antioxidant called d-limonene that helps activate enzymes in the liver. This helps detoxify the liver and assist it to metabolise fat, especially targeting fat around the waistline.
Go for green tea.
A study in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners shows that green tea can reduce your appetite and boost your metabolism. The caffeine found in the tea is partly responsible for its fat-burning qualities. However, Women’s Health nutrition expert Keri Glassman says the tea quality differs from brand to brand. “There can be a difference in the quality of tea leaves and the number of additional, unnecessary ingredients,” said Glassman. She recommends going for an organic brand that use no artificial additives.
Beverages have calories as well.
Remember that Grande Mocha Frappuccino you had yesterday? It has over 500 calories. That can of cola you had when you were thirsty? Over 7 teaspoons of sugar. Just because it’s light, doesn’t mean it’s going to be light on your body. Sugar is gained fat, and if you want to lose weight, ditch the sugary beverages. Replace them with a fruit smoothie and add natural honey instead of sugar. It will taste just as good, or even better, than a can of cola.
Be a boss and toss the sauce!
While you do want to add sauce to your food, opt for one with natural non-fatty ingredients. For example, a plain tomato sauce has 5 calories per tablespoon, while an Alfredo white sauce has 249 calories per ¼ a cup, according to Fatsecret.com, a website dedicated to weight loss and nutrition.
Eat fat burners.
Incorporate fat-burning food into your diet. These include: oatmeal, olive oil, almonds, berries, eggs, fish, green vegetables, peanut butter, and dairy. According to Women’s Health magazine, these foods build muscle, promote fat burning, and use energy to burn calories.
Limit ‘cheat meals’.
Assuming that you’re following a healthy diet, you will want to have a slice of chocolate cake or burger every once in a while, as you should. But instead of having a burger and a milkshake to go with the chocolate cake, limit yourself to one cheat meal. So, either have a chocolate cake, or a burger.
Stick to six.
Six meals a day are what you should be having if your goal is to lose weight.
These are the three main meals - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - and three snacks in between. When you eat two or three huge meals a day, your body stores the extra fat instead of burning it for energy. However, eating smaller, more balanced meals encourages your metabolism to keep working throughout the day, whilst keeping you hunger-free and satisfied!
Don’t think ‘diet’, think ‘lifestyle’.
By definition, a diet is a healthy living lifestyle. You don’t have to cut out your intake of sugar and carbs in order to lose weight. On the contrary, if you want to lose weight, you should develop a diet that consists of balanced portions of everything. “When somebody says diet, they’re thinking deprivation,” Tom Kersting, PhD and author of Losing Weight When Diets Fail told health.com. “I want people to think health and longevity. Losing weight becomes easy when you invest your mental energy in making positive, healthy changes for yourself.”
Add some movement in your day.
You don’t have to become gym-obsessed to lose a few pounds. Small changes go a long way. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs up to your office. We are blessed with good weather in this region during winter, so make the most of it and hit two birds with one stone. Instead of sitting in a café where cakes are staring you in the face, grab a juice or coffee for takeaway and go for a walk in JBR or Dubai Marina with a friend. Dubai is opening more and more friendly walking-friendly spaces such as the newly opened Jumeirah Corniche. Situated by the beach, it contains a running track, children’s play area, and several other sports activities.
Quality as well as quantity.
Mind you, that doesn’t mean you can have three mini burgers for lunch and consider it a balanced meal. Your main meals should consist of healthy food and should have three balanced portions of carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. Opt for carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch, while avoiding them for dinner.
Look for replacements.
If you like sugar in your tea, you can replace it with honey, a more healthy option. If you like fries, you can replace them with oven-baked potato wedges. Replace junk food with healthy food and you will be losing weight in no time.
Exercise or fun? Why not both!
When people hear “exercise,” they think “boring.” But exercise can be fun, if you’re doing something you like. You think the gym is boring? Take a boxing class! Go swimming in the Arabian Gulf! Adopt a hobby that’s also a sport. Dubai is filled with diverse classes from bouncing to pole dancing.
It takes two to diet!
People are known to get more encouraged to diet if they know a friend is committed as well. It’s much harder to ditch your boxing class if you know somebody is waiting for you. According to 12minuteathelete.com, you are what you eat and who you eat with. If you’re on a diet with a friend, eating healthy together becomes much easier.
There’s an app for it!
We live in an age where there’s literally an application for everything. Why not download an app that helps you with your diet and fitness plan? Or even - wait for it - your own personal trainer! Apps like FitStar contain daily personal training sessions one-on-one with celebrity trainer and football star Tony Gonzalez. Also, apps like Google Now have recently added a feature that allows you to track the number of steps you take during the day. There’s even an app called “FitRadio” that plays music to pump you up and put you in the mood to move!
Never fear, Kcal is here!
If for whatever reason the above-mentioned tips do not work for you, do NOT panic. There are many new health food outlets especially here in Dubai – the one we like the most (which some of the Arabian Business team have signed up to) is Kcal Extra. This is a wellness programme that offers meal plans delivered to your home. How is it any different than other meal plans? It actually works, we think!
On a final note, losing weight does not have to be a chore, it can be an opportunity for higher energy levels and a healthier future. A thinner waistline just comes as a plus!