We've all been there at some point in our lives. We have a wedding or other important event to go to next month and we can't quite zip up the dress we bought to wear to this festive occasion. We start to panic and think irrational thoughts. "Maybe if I just don't eat anything from now until then it will fit." While we know this thought process is not going to work we are desperate to find a way to fit into this dress in the shortest amount of time possible. While a healthy lifestyle is an organic and ongoing process, there are steps you can take right now to start you on your way to healthier living. Here are five tips to lose five pounds this month.
First, can the carbs. When you eat a piece of bread, for example, your blood sugar and insulin levels spike. Unfortunately, they do not stay spiked for long causing you to feel sluggish and hungry again relatively soon after eating bread. Also, there isn't very much in the way of nutritional value when it comes to carbs. White pasta, for example, contains no heart healthy fibres that add nutrition to your dinner. Choose whole grain or whole wheat pasta instead. Sadly, we need to add cakes and cookies to the list of foods to ditch this month. Most cookies and pastries contain not only a mix of refined carbs, but also unhealthy trans fats which are seriously bad for your heart.
Second, stop drinking fizzy drinks. Even diet fizzy drinks. A sugary can has around 40 grams sugar which amounts to roughly 9 1/2 teaspoons! That half litre bottle of pop you picked up on your way home from work: 62 grams of sugar!! That means you ingested a whopping 15 1/2 teaspoons of sugar by way of drinking one bottle of pop. Think diet drinks are any better? Think again. Studies have shown that drinking diet pop actually makes you more hungry. There is debate about whether that is because we subconsciously think we are "saving" calories by drinking diet versions and so we can eat more... or, the sugar substitute creates insulin and sugar spikes, thus turning our diet soda into a piece of thick crusted bread.
Third, and we know this one is difficult, cut out the wine. Really. That glass of wine with dinner contains anywhere from 120-150 calories of simple carbohydrates with zero nutritional value. If you have a couple glasses with dinner and maybe a nightcap later on, you could be adding up to 500 extra calories or more of sugar spiking carbs into your evening and extra weight in the days and weeks ahead.
Fourth, move your body. There is no need to join a gym or buy fancy equipment, especially since you just want to see if you can lose five pounds this month. Go for a walk after dinner. If you have a staircase in your home walk up and down the stairs at a brisk pace ten times or whatever feels comfortable for you. Take the kids to the playground and get off your phone and play with them. Run around the field. Throw the ball. Swing on the swings. Go to the dog park with your dog. Play fetch or frisbee with him. Do a DVD yoga session or a strength training session. Again, these are simple ways to get your body moving without a commitment to gym; for now.
Finally, try to get eight hours of sleep. So many studies are showing that a good night's sleep is essential not only for your overall health and spryness at work but also for your weight maintenance. When you sleep less than six hours nightly, your body makes less of a hormone called leptin which regulates feelings of hunger and fullness. People tend to eat more when they sleep less because their body tricks them into feeling hungry.
The above tips for shedding those five pounds this month are not earth shattering rocket science. Nor are they overly difficult medical concepts. These tips are common sense advice for real people with real lives and real jobs. There is no commitment other than to try to make small lifestyle changes that might give you more energy throughout your day, so that you are able to take that walk or play with the kids tonight.
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