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1. Count your calories
There are two obvious reasons why you should do this: to look slimmer and to feel healthier (and have it show in your next annual medical checkup!). When you do not count the number of calories that you are consuming with every meal – also the reason why some menus and supermarket shelves in the US and Japan come with helpful calorie labels so you never over-indulge! – you tend to take in more than you need. For instance, an adult man in a sedentary job needs just about 2,000 to 2,400 calories in a day whereas an adult woman needs about 1,800 calories. To maintain your weight, you should always consume just a little under your calorie requirements. If you need to lose kilos, you will have to cut this down by about 20 per cent or more. When I count calories, I realise that every curry puff or butter cream cake that I see as “just a little snack for 3pm” actually takes up the calories that I should be saving for a proper meal!
2. Order the right drink
And it’s not only about eating the right food (or not over-eating it too). What you drink in a day is just as important, especially if you must have your caffeine or bubble tea fix. Unless you stick to plain water, every drink has its own set of calories: think about 10 calories for a coffee with non-fat milk (no sugar, no fancy whipped cream, no honey!) and then it jumps to about 40 calories for one with sugar and milk. A frappucino with the works can take up almost 400 calories from your daily limit, similar to what you would be consuming if you had a burger. Suddenly that cheeseburger doesn’t look that bad now!
3. Eat at home more often
If you can, try to prepare your meals at home more. Doing this lets you see and control the amount of salt and sugar that goes into your food. To cut down on these, use more herbs and spices to season your dishes. It will take a lot more effort to slice, chop and dice onions, garlic, ginger, chillies, lemons and more but they really help to add more flavour to your food sans the extra, useless calories. Also, when you make your own food, you can choose to swop carbs like rice and potatoes with more greens and protein-rich tofu and meat.
4. Walk 10,000 steps or more every day
You’ll be surprised how many of us in Singapore actually walk only 5,000 steps or less in any day. If you want to shed some weight, the magic Math formula is this: reduce calories, increase steps. This can be easier said than done since most of us work in deskbound jobs. So, instead of emailing or calling your colleague on the phone, walk over to his or her desk to chalk up more steps. Walk to the pantry more often to fill up your cup (and with only plain water!). Then try to run more errands after work and during the weekends. Walk to a supermarket further away from your home for your groceries. Stroll home after dinner at the neighbourhood mall. The possibilities are endless.
5. Get a fitness tracker device
Of course, not knowing how many steps you have walked is pointless and discouraging. To motivate yourself, get a fitness tracker device or watch and turn it into a game. If you clocked 10,000 steps yesterday, break your record today with 11,000 steps.
6. Buy more tight-fitting clothing
The problem with wearing loose, comfy clothing is you risk eating more and not losing weight because there’s always room in your dress or jeans! Always buy clothes in the right size (a snug fit is great) so you know that you have to get into them easily, all-you-can-eat buffet or not!
7. Go for a body treatment
And sometimes, you need a little more help with toning down those stubborn love handles and smoothing down the cellulite. A body slimming treatment will let you de-stress while someone else does the work for and on you (like how great is that?). For instance, the one-and-a-half-hour DrSpa® Shape & Lift Dynamic treats fat and cellulite with intensive lymphatic drainage. At the same time, it uses an advanced aerodynamic air suction technology to wake up lethargic skin cells which then do their part in giving you more toned-looking skin. Have less time? Try the one-hour DrSpa® Slim & Contour, a slimming and sculpting programme that burns fat and reduces the appearance of cellulite. It also makes skin look and feel more taut so that your body appears more toned in general.
Article contributed by former women's magazine editor Pearlyn Tham who bought her first foam cleanser and liquid foundation at the age of 13. More than 20 years later, she has since moved on to eye creams, liquid lipsticks and - her security blanket - sunscreens.