In my experience, the simple adage that eating less and moving more leads to guaranteed weight loss is absolutely true, so if you want to drop a dress size or two, that’s the place to start.
But if you really want to boost your skinny potential, I’ve compiled a list of some other habits that I’ve learned from my own and others’ quests to be skinny:
1. Drink loads of water: this flushes the system and actually prevents the water retention that can lead to puffiness and bloating. It also helps to fill you up, stops you from mistaking thirst for hunger, and gives you something to do with your hands, preventing snacking through boredom or habit. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to boost health and weight loss benefits, as well as flavour.
2. Drink green tea: the beneficial properties of green tea are gaining increasing attention, and it certainly seems to work for me. Swap your usual cuppa for the green variety throughout the day for an antioxidant fix that can also help you battle the bulge. Drink it with lemon for an extra detoxifying boost.
3. Eat more protein and fewer carbs: if you need to reduce bloating in a flash, lay off the starches. Even just cutting carbs out of your evening meal can help you wake up with a flatter tummy, and reducing them throughout the day is a tried and tested way to boost weight loss.
Don’t out carbs completely though, you still need them for energy. Choose low GI options such as oats and wholegrain varieties of bread and pasta for slow-release energy, and restrict or omit carbs in the evening.
4. Say ‘yes’ to smaller portions: In the past, I’ve managed to lose a few pounds by denying myself the things I enjoy – chocolate, red wine, pizza – but it’s no fun and, therefore, not sustainable, so my top tip for long-lasting weight loss is to say ‘yes’ to the things you enjoy, but in smaller portions than you would normally have.
So if, like me, you can devour a whole pizza most Friday nights, split it in half and stick the other half back in the freezer for next week. Similarly, instead of bringing the bag of M&Ms to sit with you on the sofa while you watch your Saturday night film, pour a limited supply into a small bowl instead. Just make sure you resist the urge to go and get some more when you run out!
5. Pay attention: savour each mouthful of food or wine so you enjoy it as it goes in, rather not noticing it until it’s all gone! Also, pay attention to the amount of exercise you do (or don’t do) in a day – an awareness of your lack of activity is the first step in cultivating a more active lifestyle.
Finally, one way to remain permanently skinny once you get there is to keep your weight in check instead of letting it get out of control again, and the best way to do this is to pay attention to your clothes: if they are starting to feel tighter, it’s a sure sign that you need to make some adjustments, and I don’t mean buying bigger clothes!