You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have days when the mirror told you stories you weren’t particularly enamoured with… but the reality is that sometimes those stories may be closer to the truth than you would like to admit. It’s not necessarily a big deal; to some extent it is within our power to change our physiques, but the hardest part is sometimes finding the time for diet and exercise. Busy people with busy lives might not have time for both diet and exercise, so may be contemplating dieting with minimum effort.
It makes sense; why put in more effort than you have to when you can achieve the result you want regardless? After all, time is a commodity these days. With a little know-how on the dieting front, the mirror will soon be telling you pretty tales once again. If you want to lose weight without the hard slog, check out our top weight loss hacks below. They will fit in nicely with even the busiest schedules… in fact, some may even free up more time; so the only thing you really have to lose is flab!
The idea of fasting might induce a cold sweat, and we get it. However, intermittent fasting is not as tough as normal fasting (during which you might not eat anything for several days). Starving yourself isn’t a smart way to lose weight, and it tends to work only in the short term. Then the inevitable food cravings and hunger pangs take over, and before you know it you’re several packs of cookies down, and a few pounds up on the scales.
Intermittent fasting means fasting for specific periods of time, regularly. This kind of fasting makes it easier to consume fewer calories, and you’re also giving your body a break from processing food constantly. This allows it to utilize the available energy for other activities, like healing itself of ailments. Your body can quickly get used to an intermittent fasting schedule, and you’ll still be getting all the calories and nutrition you need – just in a smaller time window. Of course you can’t just eat junk food in that window and expect to lose weight… but when done correctly, intermittent fasting is one of the best ways of dieting with minimum effort.
There are various fasting protocols out there, so choose one that best matches your schedule and eating preferences. For beginners, we recommend the 08:00-18:00 plan, which allows you to fast for 14 hours per day, and there are various fasting protocols with meal recommendations to help you get going. When you’re used to that one, you could try the 12:00-18:00, or even the 5:2 fast (5 normal days and 2 with restricted calories each week). You might even choose to fast for 24 hours each week. All of these help to kick start the metabolism and drop the excess weight.
To diet with minimum effort, you can just make a few simple changes to your habits. These changes need not leave you hungry or craving more flavorsome foods. Sometimes all it takes to drop a few pounds is a change in cooking methods and ingredients. There are so many tasty alternatives out there – you simply need to know what you’re looking for.
Here are some options for swapping and changing:
- Quit using deep fat fryers and frying pans in favor of grilling or baking. For instance, if you like fish, season and grill or bake it, and it will be tasty but far less fattening
- Steam vegetables instead of soaking them in oil to cook them
- Switch scrambled eggs for simple poached eggs so you can cut out the butter, milk etc.
- Eat wild brown rice instead of gluten-rich, carb-laden white rice. You’ll still feel full but it also contains metabolism boosting dietary fiber and antioxidants, without converting to excess sugar (and subsequently fat) in the blood
- Lay off fattening, unhealthy refined sugars. That means no more white or brown sugar in your coffee or on your cereal, and avoiding sugar-heavy processed ready meals. If you have a sweet tooth, invest in some low GI natural sweetener like xylitol… or syrups like maple or agave
- Snack on nuts: walnuts, macadamias and Brazil nuts are particularly tasty
- If you eat meat, choose lean cuts such as loin and sirloin, or white meats like chicken and white fish
Swap unhealthy vegetable oils for those rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are known as the good fats. These kinds of fats can actually help you lose weight; they don’t stress your body and encourage LDL cholesterol as the ‘bad’ fats (saturated and trans fats) do. Monounsaturated fats boost your basal metabolic rate, which helps your body to burn fat more quickly – especially in that tricky abdominal area, which seems to want to cling onto to excess fat to the bitter end!
Great sources of MUFA:
- Coconut oil (extra virgin, organic, raw and cold-pressed ideally)
- Olive oil (extra virgin, organic, raw and cold-pressed ideally)
- Nut and seed oils (tasty options are flaxseed, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted sesame, roasted cashew and walnut oil)
- Olives (black ones in particular)
- Avocados (they have great health benefits and just one per day can work wonders on belly fat)
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
As you can see, there is no reason you have to implement elaborate processes into your cooking routine, compromise on flavor or starve yourself. A few small changes in routine and choices can pave the way to more palatable scales readings… so weight loss is still a viable goal, even when dieting with minimum effort!
Lastly, we probably don't need to tell you how important it is to make time for exercise, as it’s intrinsically linked to your health and wellbeing. If you’re prone to letting the couch suck you in like a vortex after a long day (or week), read our article, 3 Simple and Effective Ways to Stay Active in a Busy World, for tips on staying active regardless of the demands of your daily schedule.