Three Relatively Easy Tactics for Losing Weight
You’ve heard that one before, haven’t you? “96 Fast Easy, Guaranteed Ways to Lose Weight and Keep it Off Even if You Work in a Cheesecake Factory”.
It’s why we used the word “Relatively” in the title. The ease of losing weight is somewhat relative to your level of motivation. You might feel motivated, but if you start to sweat at the thought of changing your diet and lifestyle, then cutting out dessert might feel like a massive act of martyrdom.
But for others, cutting out, or at least cutting down on dessert, might be a little easier to do.
So these are three tactics that might not seem easy to everyone, but they can be with the right approach.
And they are “easy” on other levels. For example, none of them involve cutting out entire food groups, or working out, or necessarily counting calories. They are just three “adjustments” to your current lifestyle that, if you can manage to make them, address three of the largest contributors to weight gain: sugar in your diet, salt in your diet and too little activity.
1. Focus of Reducing How Much Sugar you Consume:
We’ve outlined many times here in the Herbal One blog the startling amount of sugar Canadians consume. Here are the numbers.
a. 12 – The number of teaspoons of sugar that the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada says that we should get per day. Their recommendation is that we get no more than 10% of our daily calories from sugar.
b. 6 – The recommended number of teaspoons of sugar consumption per day (about 5% of daily calorie intake) that the World Health Organization (WHO) says “would provide additional health benefits” beyond limiting your intake to 10%.
c. 10 – The number of teaspoons of sugar in a 355ml Coke.
d. 26 – The number of teaspoons of sugar consumed daily by the average Canadian, according to Statistics Canada.
The saddest part about how much sugar we consume is, not only is it a major contributor to weight gain, but it is also linked to diabetes, obesity, liver failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, pancreatic cancer and heart disease, among other ailments.
How to Reduce How Much Sugar You Consume:
Aside from having a sweet tooth, one of the main reasons we eat too much sugar is one of the least known. There is no legal requirement to report a “% Daily Value” recommended for sugar on the nutrition labels that appear on processed food.
So even if you’re an avid label-checker, you might tend to scan over the sugar number because all it tells you is how much sugar by weight is in the serving size. If you see 32 g of sugar in the fruit juice that you’re drinking, how are you to know that is two more teaspoons than what WHO recommends for your total intake per day?
Remember 4 grams of Sugar per Teaspoon:
With that information, you can check nutrition labels and fairly easily convert the number of grams of sugar listed into teaspoons. Then you can look for foods and beverages that are surprisingly high sources of sugar in your diet, like fruit juices, spaghetti sauce and ketchup, and take steps to reduce or avoid them
2. Find Substitutes for Salt
Fortunately, unlike sugar, salt doesn’t drop lots of empty calories into your body. But too much of it is just as unhealthy as sugar, and it still can negatively affect your weight in a big way.
The biggest problem we have with salt is how much we like it and how little of it we really need. Your body doesn’t produce salt, so we have to get what we need from what we eat. But we only need about a teaspoon a day.
More than that and you put yourself at risk of experiencing some of the negative health effects of too much salt, including kidney complications, water retention (contributing to weight gain), high blood pressure, heart attacks, stiffening blood vessels and stroke to name just a few.
Like sugar, salt is a victim of somewhat misleading nutrition labeling. Health Canada lists two recommended levels of daily salt intake. One recommendation is that you should not exceed an “Upper Limit”, the other is that you should aim for the recommended daily “Adequate Intake”. The labeling problem is that the “% Daily Value” of salt contained in a serving size, as listed on the nutrition label, is a percent of the “Upper :Limit”, not the adequate intake.
Here are some numbers:
a. 1500 mg per day – The “Adequate Intake” level of salt per day, as set by Health Canada, for people 1`4 to 50 years old.
b. 2300 mg per day – The “Upper Limit” for the same group of people
c. 1320 mg of salt – In a box of “Original” Kraft Dinner
d. 1780 mg of salt – In a 284 mg can of Campbell’s “Fat Free” consommé
e. 5500 mg of salt – In a Montana’s BBQ Starters Platter – Rib Tips (an appetizer)
f. 8040 mg of salt – In an extra-large “Canadian Eh!” pizza from Pizza Pizza
How to Reduce How Much Salt You Consume:
In addition to being diligent on checking nutrition labels, look for salt substitutes. While soy sauce contains lots of salt, it delivers similar salt flavour with up to 50% less actual salt. Also try onion powder, chili peppers and garlic powder. And try not to sprinkle salt on your dinner, especially at restaurants.
3. Get Any Extra Activity You Can
Another problem with the exercise – weight loss relationship is that we don’t burn nearly as many calories as we think we do. Rode your bike for an hour? Fantastic! But that’s only about one-third of a Big Mac Meal.
On the other side of the equation, if you manage to burn an extra 50 calories per day, which you can do in about 10 minutes on a stair climber, and eat a healthy, balanced diet, you can begin an overall lowering of weight. And once the pounds start coming off, you’ll be more motivated to continue.
How to be More Active (without really trying)
First, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. If you don’t want to do 10 minutes on the stair climber, try 5 minutes. Look for ways to add activity. Stand up on the bus instead of taking a seat. Wash your car every week. Make your own meals (double points for this one: you’ll burn more calories and probably eat healthier foods). Do arm curls with your grocery bags.