How you look changes with one small step after another. When planning on making a dramatic body transformation, a person is tempted to make a drastic overhaul in all of their dietary habits. This usually means going from having takeaways and ordering Chinese or Italian 5 times a week and eating all kinds of junk food to making steamed veggies and steak and eating them from Tupperware at lunchtime, while glancing sadly at the cookie on the colleague’s desk.
A lot of people employ this approach and while it can work wonders for some, it’s been shown that it doesn’t apply to the majority. Scientists have proven that a drastic change in your dietary habits is very hard to maintain and it takes a strong will to do it, and when you do start to slip, chances are you’ll pack on the fat you lost pretty fast.
But, fear not, because there is a better way to do it. Studies have shown that by implementing small changes in your diet, you increase the likelihood of maintaining the newly-acquired habits with less mental effort. Then, when you start seeing results you will become even more motivated and start implementing more small changes in order to keep the process moving forward. It’s a positive self-reinforcing cycle. We present you with several dietary “mini-changes” you can make in the following weeks or months, that will change your diet without you even noticing.
#1. DRINK WATER AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP
Drinking water as soon as you get out of bed is perhaps one of the most crucial things you can do for your health. It revs up the metabolism, drastically improves cognitive function and increases energy levels.
Drinking water can also aid with weight loss. A study was made where participants were put on 12-week diet with restricted caloric intake. The participants were then divided into a group that before every meal consumed 500ml of water. The other group didn’t drink water. The first group lost around 4.5% body fat, while the second group lost only about 1.2% of body fat.
There has also been another study which proved that drinking ½ liter of water made the participants expend 25% more calories for one hour after drinking water. Scientists believed this was due to changes in the total amount of body fluids that forced the body to burn more calories to redress.
#2. EAT MORE PROTEIN WITH YOUR BREAKFAST
If you’ve been at least a bit immersed into healthy nutrition, chances are you’ve started eating cereal for breakfast and perhaps toast. And that’s OK. There’s a lot of healthy recipes you can make with oatmeal alone. But there’s isn’t much protein there. So, what you need to do is add some protein in the form of a whey protein shake, a couple of hard-boiled eggs or perhaps add some whey into your oatmeal and mix it up.
Protein is known to have a potent thermogenic effect when digested. That means that the body will expend more calories trying to break down the protein, plus making you feel fuller for longer periods of time, increasing the possibility that you’ll be able to resist the tempting croissant before you get to work.
#3. EAT AN APPLE BEFORE SNACKING
Here’s a new rule for you. You can eat anything you want, a cookie, a biscuit, a cake, but you need to have an apple first. Most of the time we’re snacking because we are bored, have low energy or experiencing plummeting blood sugar levels. An apple is known to cure all of these. You can choose any variety you want, but we suggest that you eat a Granny Smith, since they have high levels of pectin and it’s been shown that this type of non-digestible fiber improves intestinal bacteria, which will satiate you for longer periods of time and reduce cravings.
#4. ADD MORE SPICES IN YOUR DIET
Spices aren’t just for taste, even though they are very helpful in decreasing sugar cravings. Curcumin which is found in turmeric decreases fat deposits and capsaicin, which is the substance that makes cayenne pepper so hot, prioritizes fat use as your body’s main energy source. Make sure to always add some spice to your meal, even if it’s as bland as couple of hard-boiled eggs. Sprinkle some black pepper on them, since it has a compound known as piperine, which is known to block the forming of new fat tissue.
#5. DON’T EXPERIMENT WITH COFFEE, DRINK IT BLACK
Drinking black coffee is an acquired habit and you should implement it as soon as possible. You’ll be consuming a lot less calories the usual cappuccino provides and you’ll also save some cash. You can even invest in a coffee machine and start making your own coffee. You can always sprinkle some cinnamon on it if you think the taste is too harsh for you at first. Cinnamon is known to control and maintain stable blood sugar levels efficiently and making the body less prone to storing calories in the form of fat.
#6. STORE THE LEFTOVERS DIFFERENTLY
Chances are you are already using foils or plastic containers like Tupperware and put them in your fridge, so why not improve the “storage system”? Anything you deem healthy like veggies, salads, lean meats will be put into a transparent container, while the foods you deem as unhealthy like all kinds of sweets, brownies or cakes will go to the back of your fridge remaining hidden. Thus, you’ll be less likely to snack on the unhealthy foods and more likely to eat the healthy ones.