When it comes to beating the bloat, its the little changes that really add up. So rather than embark on a drastic regime, try a few of these ideas- there’s one for every day of the month…
1. Don’t keep your diet a secret- Slimmers are 10% more successful when they share their resolution with others and get their support, according to a study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol.
2. Spice it up- Chilli pepper has a three-fold effect when it comes to losing weight – increasing energy expenditure, burning fat and helping you feel full – according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
3. Choose eggs for breakfast- Protein-packed eggs fill you up for longer than grain-based cereals, meaning you’re less likely to reach for snacks mid-morning. If you don’t eat eggs, try protein-rich smoked salmon or yoghurt with seeds and nuts instead.
4. Eat soup- There’s nothing like freshly-made soup to pack you full of goodness and warm you from the inside out. We’re big fans of Abel & Cole’s Superb Souping Box, £14.50 each. Each one is packed with enough vegetables, spices and herbs to make three delicious soups. Visit abelandcole.co.uk.
5. Use a bigger fork– Forget about using a smaller plate – a bigger fork could be the answer! Secretly studying diners in an Italian restaurant, researchers from the University of Utah found that people randomly given unusually large forks went on to eat less and leave more on their plates at the end of each meal.
6. Eat from a blue plate- Research published in the US Journal of Consumer Research revealed that a blue plate can act as an appetite suppressant because, out of all the colours, it provides the least-appealing contrast to the food placed on it.
7. Shop ahead- Stocking the fridge and pantry with fresh produce means a healthy meal or snack is never far away – good news when the takeaway menus are calling your name. Fill the shelves with fresh fruit, vegetables and low-fat proteins.
8. Eat clean- Forget the 5:2 diet, the biggest healthy eating trend at the moment is ‘clean eating’. Pioneered by the likes of Ella Woodward, it’s about steering clear of processed foods and opting for fresh, natural foods instead. Check out details of Ella’s new diet delivery app – based on foods from her own deli – on her website deliciouslyella.com.
9. Eat mindfully- Taking the time to enjoy every mouthful of your meal is key to reducing overeating and preventing binge eating. This is according to new research taking place at the Centre of Psychological Wellbeing and Neuroscience at City University, London.
10. Rearrange the cupboards- Even if you’re determined to hang on to some of your less-than-healthy goodies, tuck them into the back of the cupboard for a while. Bring the wholegrains, nuts and beans up to the front to help you make healthier choices.
11. Out of sight, out of mind- Just before you dish up your evening meal, package any extras and pop them straight in the freezer – meaning seconds are out of the question.
12. Stick to healthy fats- While cutting fats can slash calories, we still need fat to make us feel full and to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Get healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from avocados, olive oil, nuts, coconuts, seeds and fish.
13. Drink more water-Experts at the NHS recommend we drink 1.6–2 litres of water each day, in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat.
14. Ban refined sugar- Skip that white sugar in your tea and cereal and opt for healthier sugars that come in a natural form – fruits, honey and natural syrups.
15. Be oil savvy- Switch from deep-fat frying to pan-frying or oven cooking. A spritz of non-stick spray or rubbing a few drops of oil onto a pan both give a lighter, healthier coating – a brilliant way to make tasty chips.
16. Weigh yourself weekly- The British Dietetic Association recommends aiming for a slow and steady weight loss of 1-2lbs a week – which means weighing yourself every day can be disheartening. Stick to a one-day-a-week weigh-in, alongside a goal like getting back into your favourite pair of jeans to keep yourself motivated.
17. Snap, crackle & pop- Low in calories and packed with antioxidants, popcorn’s a much healthier snack than crisps. Sprinkle on healthy toppings that really pack a punch – chilli, cinnamon or wasabi soy sauce.
18. Eat until you’re 80% full- Okinawa in Japan has four times more 100 year olds than the UK. Their cultural tradition is to eat only until they’re 80% full – consuming only 1,200 calories a day.
19. Chew gum- A stick of sugar-free gum can keep your mouth busy when you’re tempted to eat between meals and contains just five calories. Research shows gum can also lower cravings for sweet and salty snacks.
20. Choose tall, thin glasses- Research shows we pour less liquid into tall narrow glasses than short squat ones – a good choice to make when you’re sipping high calorie drinks.
21. Sip green tea to burn more calories- Swiss researchers from Lausanne University found that human guinea pigs given three servings of green tea a day, increased their energy expenditure by 4.6%.
22. Carry a water bottle- Stay hydrated on good old H2O and you’ll be less likely to binge on sugary drinks. Try adding a slice of lemon or sprig of fresh mint to keep things interesting.
23.Banish the booze- Alcohol contains a lot of sneaky calories and makes you crave unhealthy snacks later on in the night.
24. Keep your cool- Though it’s tempting to turn up the central heating, it makes sense to open a window to let fresh cool air in. When exposed to colder temperatures, your body burns more calories to stay warm when you’re just sitting around.
25. Chew- The more you chew your food, the more weight you’ll lose. This is because the smaller the pieces of food are when they enter your stomach, the better the digestive enzymes can work on them. The better you digest, the less you store fat.
26. Keep a food diary- Making a note of everything you eat and drink helps you spot bad habits and make better choices in future.
27. Switch from white to red wine- Containing ten times more flavanoids than white wine, red wine is said to lessen the risk of heart disease. Apparently flavanoids stop platelets –fragments of red blood cells in our blood – from becoming too sticky.
28. Get up and go- Going for a brisk 30-minute walk straight after a meal helps you lose more weight than waiting an hour, according to a Japanese study.
29. Eat the vegetables first- Filling up on the fibre-rich veggies in your meal, followed by the protein, means you’re less likely to overeat the starchy carbohydrates left on the plate.
30. Swap the smoothies than the fruit- Juices can slip down without you even noticing how many calories you’re sipping. Whole fruit takes longer to eat and helps you feel full.
31. Order first when eating out- Asking for that healthy meal is easier when you’re not tempted by what everyone else is having.
Images: Shutterstock/ Deliciously Ella: Every Day, Yellow Kite.