One of my teenage clients needed to lose weight. He was 17, which meant he was a busy high school student. I put together a plan for him and thought to myself, “how serious is he going to take this? I haven’t even talked to him…” It was his mom who approached me. The plan was good, but knowing teenagers, they tend to be too busy to follow anything too rigid or strict. In addition to his nutrition plan and seven day menu I provided him, I put together a bunch of quick tips to lose weight when busy, eating out, hanging out with friends and staying up late doing you know, teenage stuff. Here they are for you to enjoy and try. These tips would work for anyone trying to lose weight or keep their weight balanced and in check.
- Eat half the bun – of a burger or sandwich – same taste, less starch (half the empty calories unless it’s 100% whole grain bun/bread)
- Always avoid the DOUBLE starch – bread AND fries, hash browns AND toast. Why do restaurants always add the double starch? It’s a cheap way for them to be able to charge more for “more food”. The plate is stacked with food, but it’s not necessary. Pick one and don’t make eye contact with the other.
- Start thinking: “What VEG am I having with this meal?” Focus on what veggie you’re having for your next meal and then add the protein and starch. Make half your plate VEGgies.
- Need a snack? Think fruit, yogurt, smoothie, juices, protein bar, nuts & seeds, dried fruit, veggies and hummus. Not all of them at once. Pick one per snack. Most of these items are available at grocery stores or small boutique natural grocery stores. You can also find smoothie or juice places around in urban areas which can be frequented instead of fast food restaurants. Make a note of where they are in your community and go to them instead of the cheap coffee shops and drive through joints. I know these snacks can be a little more expensive, but what is your health worth? Stock up on nuts, seeds and dried fruit at places like Bulk Barn and have them in your bag or purse. When you train your body to like these snacks, you start to notice they keep you satisfied longer.
- Just because the food is free, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Think about that for a second.
- Always say to yourself, this bag of chips, chocolate, candy is always around. It’s not like the world is going to run out of it. I can have it some other time. Somehow knowing “this food” isn’t the only place you can get it, somehow makes it less appealing.
- When in doubt, drink water. Do not drink your calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, water is your best friend. Pre-made drinks are filled with sugar and other additives which will help you gain weight, not lose it. Many pre-made drinks trick you into thinking they are better for you. Nope. Stick to water.
- When you’re thirsty, and you don’t want water, drink it anyway. If you neeeeeed something other than water, try kambucha or watered down juice (half and half). Sorry, no pop if you’re trying to lose weight. It won’t help your cause one bit. Herbal teas are ok too. And the odd coffee I’ll let slip. 😉
- Get thin crust over thick (Pizza). Here are some great tips on how to build a better pizza (making it, or eating out).
- When you want something sweet, eat some fruit. Don’t pay attention to those who tell you fruit is full of sugar. They’re right, but it’s not the kind of sugar you find in a Kit Kat bar. If you’re working on making small changes to lead you to losing weight in a healthy way, let this be your way to enjoy something sweet. It’s way better to have real food over something in a wrapper.
- Eat brown rice or anything 100% whole grain/whole wheat instead of the “white stuff” (white pasta, white bread or white rice). This is to ensure you are getting more dense nutrients from the real stuff and not the white stuff which is stripped of nutrients. Have you ever noticed you feel hungry quickly after eating a big bowl of white pasta? It’s because the white stuff lacks the slow release carbohydrates mentioned above. Whole grains have all the nutrients the white stuff was meant to have (fiber, protein, vitamins) and they will actually keep you full longer. They have slow release carbohydrates which keep your blood sugar levels more balanced, therefore keeping you full longer.
- Try a reduced gluten diet. The gluten free diet is absolutely necessary for those with Celiac disease. If you do not have Celiac disease, you do not have to go gluten free. BUT, many of my clients do feel better eating less gluten and wheat. People feel less puffy and bloated (myself included) and it’s a great way to keep your weight in check because you don’t eat the free bread they give out at restaurants or those free cookies and cakes at work or parties. You also tend to stick to meals that include rice, salads and soups. Keeping things lighter and easier to digest. As a side note, just because it says Gluten-Free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. There are a ton of Gluten-Free products out there full of other crap (especially sugar).
- Keep white bread to a minimum. Look for 100% whole grains when making sandwiches or toast. Again, slow release, keeping your blood sugar levels more balanced. White bread will spike your blood sugar levels leading to a crash shortly after.
- Always order a salad. When you go out for dinner or lunch, always order a large green salad (potato or pasta salads are not included in this). Okay, this can be very difficult. Especially if it’s a night out for your birthday or other special occasion. For those occasions, by all means enjoy yourself. I’m talking about the regular restaurant outings for a lunch here or dinner there. If you get it in your mind that you will always order a salad, then you will definitly be EATing MORE VEG. Yes. some salads can be bad (added croutons, thick creamy dressings, cheese, processed and breaded meat, etc) so try to stay away from those, but staying consistent with this tip will definitely help you lose weight and/or keep a healthy weight. You can always ask for dressing on the side and only use half of it.
- Go to bed hungry. Your meals should be heavier at the beginning of the day and get smaller as you go through your day. Go to bed slightly hungry and you’ll feel lighter in the morning. You’ll also be ready for a good size breakfast, which will keep the good cycle of eating bigger meals in the morning and smaller dinners going. If you are an avid SWEATer and do something fitness like daily (or most days) which I hope you are, replenishing after a workout is important. Talk to a nutritionist about how to eat properly around your workouts.
Incorporate these tips into your every day life and you WILL notice weight loss. If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, try one or two at a time and add more once you’ve mastered them.
Remember to EAT MORE VEG, SWEAT daily and don’t forget to BREATHE.