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Thursday, April 19, 2012

12 Quick Tips to Lose Weight in 2012

As the glow of New Year's Eve festivities begin to dim and the reality of another year sets in, now is the ideal time to assess your health and lifestyle.

It's no coincidence that for many people, losing weight is one of their main resolutions when a New Year dawns. After the full-on festivities of pre-Christmas, Christmas and post-Christmas/New Year celebrations, a lot of us can feel quite guilty about the volumes and types of food that have been consumed over the past month.

While there are hundreds of ways that you can lose weight, tone up and be healthier and happier than ever before, here are my top 12 tips for rockin' a fabulously fit body in Twenty 12:

1. Begin each morning with a 20-30 minute walk. Go before breakfast and yes even before your first coffee! This gentle exercise will awaken all of your muscles and set your metabolism into power mode for the day ahead - perfect for burning extra calories. You'll also feel less grumpy on the commute to work because you've gotten out in the fresh air with the blood pumping through your body - a great energiser for the remainder of the day.

2. Skip the heavy, greasy fry-up or conversely, never leave home on an empty stomach. Aim for a low-calorie, high-protein breakfast such as a whole-egg omelette with ham, cheese & tomato, or banana on wholemeal toast with ricotta and sugar-free maple syrup. Less than 400 calories, these two breakfast examples are tasty and simple to prepare.

3. When it's 10am and you're already starving, avoid vending machines and colleagues' chocolate fundraiser boxes at all costs! A banana and coffee with skim milk and sweetener will see you through to lunchtime, with this snack less than 150 calories.

4. Let's face it. Preparing a salad each morning before you leave for work is not only tedious but by the time you're ready to eat it, the spinach leaves are limp and you'd rather go hungry than have to eat your soggy salad. Either take a week's worth of salad ingredients to work and prepare one each day in the staff kitchen, or consider buying frozen meals that take less than 10 minutes to cook and always come in at under 400 calories. Paired with a sugar-free soda, this light lunch won't leave you feeling like you need a nap like a greasy takeaway meal can!

5. Three-thirty-itis. While not officially a dictionary term, any office dwellers will know that as the clock creeps towards 5pm and your stomach starts to feel a little empty, this is the danger zone that can lead to mindless chocolate eating, followed by mass feelings of guilt. Pre-empt three-thirty-itis and stock your desk drawer with low-calorie muesli or fruit snack bars (make sure they're less than 150 calories otherwise stick to an apple or another piece of fruit).

6. Avoid the office enabler's advances. You know the type. The thin person in your office who bakes incessantly, offering their delicious danishes and creamy cakes around, but never eating them? They're called enablers and for some reason they get a kick out of people eating their treats. The best way to avoid consuming them is to say a polite "no thank you" and move on. It's impossible for most people (myself included!) to "just have one" muffin or cookie or piece of slice. Once you taste these treats you begin to reason with yourself that another two or three (or more!) pieces won't hurt. They will.

7. Another danger time for over-eating can be while you're preparing dinner. What can start out as a couple of crackers or handful of peanuts to tide you over can lead to many more handfuls and a lot of regret. It sounds boring but munching on a raw carrot while you prepare the meal will sate your hunger and give you something to eat to take your mind off those calorie-laden treats in the cupboard! Your evening meal should be around 400 calories and never more than 500 calories per serve. Perfect examples are spicy Cajun chicken kebabs & green salad; sweet potato soup with goat's cheese & pine nuts; or creamy garlic pasta with shrimp & vegetables.

8. I'd like to back track to those calorie-laden treats in your cupboard. The best way to combat their temptations? Get rid of 'em! Throw out whatever your food weaknesses are and simply stop buying them. It's much easier to leave them on the supermarket shelf than it is to ignore them in your kitchen. Another way to avoid junk food while grocery shopping is to consider ordering your food online. No line-ups either!

9. Dedicate just 30 minutes every weekend to planning next week's meals in advance. This simple exercise saw me lose more than 6 kilograms over several months. By planning nutritious, tasty meals in advance, typing up my grocery list and list of what meals I'd eat each day, I was always armed with healthy food. I also regularly prepare double the quantities of evening meals, in order to have yummy leftovers the next day.

10. Never deprive yourself. Reserve a meal a week for enjoying something delicious and yes, that includes dessert! It's what you do 95% of the time that effects your waistline. That one meal a week will keep you sane, satisfied and slim.

11. Educate yourself on how many calories are in different foods. Again, this assisted my weight loss. I don't mean obsessively writing down every morsel that passes your lips, but having a general understanding of how many calories are in different foods will help you make better choices. And honestly, once you realise that a piece of rich chocolate cake can have 500 calories or more, you kinda start to realise maybe those calories aren't worth the five minutes it takes to consume the cake.

12. Exercise 5-6 times a week. Three of those sessions should be "gut busters" ie. a run, aerobics class, cardio and weights in the gym, or cycling, while the other 2-3 should be gentler forms of exercise such as walking, yoga or a more casual bike ride. Once you make exercise a part of your day, much like reading the paper or spending time on Facebook, it truly becomes just another must-do habit.

I wish you good health, happiness, fun and light in 2012 and always.

For more ideas about low-calorie, delicious meals, visit my website at

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