It’s all across the media: losing just a little bit of weight can significantly boost our immune systems. How’s that for motivation to tackle five or ten pounds?! Thinking about it as “weight loss”, however, can be overwhelming and make it seem like a chore. There are many simple ways to contribute to a healthy, gradual weight loss without even noticing the difference. Here are some of my favourites:
- Exchange the tablespoon or teaspoon of oil for a spritz of oil from a “Misto” canister. Misto’s are basically a spray bottle but it is specifically designed for oil. You can fill yours up with your favourite kind of oil (mine contains extra virgin olive oil), and use it as a replacement for Pam (which has unhealthy chemicals in it) or for any time when you would normally use a dollop of oil or butter. I have never come across a recipe in which I couldn’t use my Misto when it came to using a frying pan. I use the Misto for cooking eggs, sauteeing garlic, and for “greasing” any kind of pan. There have been times when a recipe would call for 2 tbsp of oil and I would instead use a quick spray of my Misto; the recipe still turned out perfect. A tiny bit of fat goes a long way in cooking; you do not need to use piles of it for either the cooking process or the flavour in most recipes (some recipes do require those fats to give big flavour to the dish- but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from those kinds of recipes ;)).
- Make scrambled egg whites instead of using whole eggs. I adore eggs and I think they are one of the most powerful foods, nutritionally speaking. Whole eggs have an abundance of nutrients and the perfect ratio of protein to fat. Egg whites do not have nearly the same amount of nutrients as whole eggs, but they are very high in protein and they are very low in calories. I don’t recommend eliminating whole eggs from your diet altogether, but using egg whites instead of the whole egg for about half the time that you eat eggs will be beneficial. Don’t throw out the yolks! Either save the egg yolks to use in another recipe, or else buy cartons of Simply Egg Whites (check the ingredient list: the only ingredient should be “egg whites”) and use that as your egg replacement. I always have whole eggs and a carton of Simply Egg Whites in my fridge. I am not a fan of Egg Beaters because they add all kinds of other ingredients to the egg whites. It’s healthier to get the Simply Egg Whites and add whatever you like to it at home. I really like just sprinkling my egg whites with freshly ground black pepper and some crushed red pepper flakes, but you can add any seasonings you like, or Laughing Cow Cheese, etc.
- Cut portions in half. I buy my bread from local bakeries, so the bread tastes fantastic but the slices are also unnecessarily thick. I recently discovered that one slice of their bread can be anywhere from 110 to 140 calories- eep! If I want to have peanut butter and jam on toast, one slice alone could easily be about 200 calories. Cut the slice of bread in half before you toast it; put the other half of the slice back in the bag and save it for later. Alternatively, you could toast the whole slice and cut it in half after it’s been toasted; use the extra half to make bread crumbs or croutons. Sometimes I find that I can’t decide between savoury and sweet, and I want both eggs on toast and peanut butter/jam on toast, so cutting the toast in half is the perfect option in this situation. I can have my egg on one half and my nut butter on the other!
- Set out everything the night before. A major part of losing (or maintaining!) weight is to plan. When I decide the night before what breakfast I will have, I can set out the ingredients so that it’s all ready to go first thing. If I’m having a green breakfast shake, I can even make it the night before so that it’s in the fridge when I stumble into the kitchen at 6am. Another option is to simply have a couple of choices for breakfast ready: sometimes I wake up wanting something savoury after I already “decided” I would have fruit, for example. But if you have a “backup” breakfast plan ready, you won’t have to try to figure out the next healthy choice. It’s already been figured out for you the night before and you’re all set! The same applies to exercise: lay out your yoga mat and a set of dumbbells on the floor before you go to bed, and you won’t be able to avoid it in the morning. Especially if you put them right in the centre of your house where you’re liable to trip over them if you don’t pick them up and pump out a few reps. Thank you, natural clumsiness, for making me do my workout in the a.m.
- Go for protein. It will fill you up. Deal with it (that’s what I have to tell myself every time I want bread and Earth Balance :)). I still think it’s super important to have a good balance of carbs/fats/proteins, but having a slightly higher ratio of proteins to carbs/fats is a good idea when the focus is healthy weight loss. There are many vegan sources of protein, but I find that some animal products- such as eggs and egg whites- really do the trick to keep me satiated, so it might actually be easier (for some of us!) to lose weight by eating animal products rather than focusing on a mostly-vegan diet.
Those are some of my favourite tips, which I’m trying to employ! Check out my food diary if you’re interested in seeing what my daily eats are like (I’m posting less these days, but you can still check out the archives). What are some of your healthy ways to (painlessly ;)) lose weight? I need all the help I can get!