Whether you've recently lost a bunch of weight, you're heading out on a vacation, or a big holiday of eating is coming up, preventing weight gain is easier than you think. Aside from no-brainers like drinking a lot of water and not eating an entire cake every day, keep these tips in mind, and you won't have to worry about the scale numbers creeping up.
- Save yoga pants for yoga: Wearing leggings when you're not down dogging is comfy, yes, but a bad habit to get into. The stretchy fabric and elastic waistband are so forgiving that you'll have no idea if your waist is expanding. Save the spandex for your workouts and opt for something more structured like a pair of jeans or a fitted dress so you can keep tabs on your waistline.
- Fiber, and more of it: Fiber has the ability to fill you up for hours. Include at least eight grams at every meal and three to four at every snack to help you reach a goal of 25 to 30 grams a day. Nosh on fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and you'll have no problem getting your fill.
- 30 minutes, at least: Get in the habit of moving daily. Aim for at least a half hour, with four to five days devoted to more rigorous or longer workouts, and two to three days a more moderate workout like walking, hiking, or stretching. Be sure to include strength training with weights since building muscle helps you burn calories faster. If you don't have time, studies show that even 15 minutes proves beneficial.
- Eat one every day: Make one meal of the day a big, huge salad to fill up on fiber without a ton of calories. Include a variety of greens and fresh veggies in your salad along with a low-fat protein source like beans or marinated tofu, add cooked whole grains to make it even more filling, plus avocado or sunflower seeds to add healthy fats. Ensure you eat one salad every day by making a week's worth all at once.
- Chocolate, alcohol, or french fries: Cravings only grow stronger with time, so keep them at bay by giving in to them! Indulging a little every day will settle those cravings, so you can move on and stay committed to your healthy diet. The key, though, is to enjoy a small taste and to be done. Don't let a little indulging turn into a week of eating whatever you want.
- Have a bedtime: Research shows those who are sleep-deprived tend to eat hundreds of calories more, not just because they're awake longer, but because sleep affects levels of hunger-regulating hormones. Feeling tired makes you more likely to reach for sugary pick-me-ups. Get to bed at the same time every night (even on weekends), and set your alarm for the next day, making sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep. As a bonus, the extra energy will allow you to hit your a.m. workout with intensity, instead of hitting the snooze button and skipping out.