Gyms, ey? Who needs them? The repugnant odours. The sticky machinery spawned from countless clammy palms. Yes, for many, gyms aren't pleasant, and instead of offering individuals the chance to get in shape, they can, in fact, be major turn-offs. But whether we like it or not, gyms serve a purpose, and to ignore the benefits of regularly attending one would be ignorant and shortsighted.
The good news, however, is that you can gain the same benefits as any regular gym-goer without ever setting foot in one. Here are ten simple ways.
1. Make sleep your best friend
It can be hard to turn in early when you really want to read another chapter of that page-turning novel or tune into another spellbinding episode of Game of Thrones, but research shows that a lack of sleep is correlated with an increase in weight.
In fact, Michael Breus, PhD and author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep, believes the loss of only 30 minutes sleep can lead to a fluctuation in weight due to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, which can cause a person's appetite to rocket.
2. Eat foods high in protein and rich in fibre
Carbohydrates are great energy boosters but are slow to digest. Protein, on the other hand. is practically fat-free and not only promotes muscle growth but also keeps you full and away from gorging on weight gaining foods.
Even a juicy burger or a grilled kebab is a better option than carb-heavy foods such as pizza and pasta. The fibre found in fruits is also another great option due to its ability to speed up your digestive system.
3. Don't let your body get too hungry
While your weight may be high because of excessive eating, eating too little just to save yourself for a feast later can be much worse.
In fact, your blood levels will lower if you do so and your body will go into starvation mode, meaning it will slow the metabolism down for as long as it can to preserve every ounce of fat.
4. Always keep on the move
If you don't want to burn those calories off in the gym, then you're going to have to be prepared to do a whole lot of walking. It could just involve choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, if you work in an office, make sure you at least stand up and walk around once every two hours. If you want to buy some milk in town, walk it. These are small changes but in time, you'll be surprised how bigger change they'll bring to your body.
5. Make sure portions aren't excessive
It may be somewhat obvious, but a big portion for one person might be tiny for another.
To avoid confusion, make sure you take out snacks from the bag and put them onto a plate so you can visually see how much you're consuming. Buying smaller plates will help with this.
6. Eat a piece of dark chocolate for desert
While dark chocolate can taste incredibly bitter, your digestive system will soon get used to it.
So instead of raiding the cookie jar, try eating a bar of dark chocolate after every meal. The healthy fats contained in dark chocolate have been known to fasten the metabolism.
7. Get into the habit of drinking at least 2 litres of water a day
Just one whole glass of water can make you feel instantly refreshed and even fill you up for a few hours, preventing your body from overindulging in snacks.
8, Swap certain condiments and dressings
While salads are healthy options, the dressings drizzled on them can be quite the opposite.
So instead of a creamy dressing, which will no doubt be laden with carbohydrates and sugars, go for a vinaigrette or lemon oil option.
9. Avoid certain drinks
Many diet followers usually focus on foods without giving much thought to the drinks they are consuming. A glass of wine, for instance, contains more calories than most beers, while a cheeky soda now and then should be out of the question. Water, water, water is the way forward.
And for those needing a bit of help at weaning their way off sugary drinks, try flavoured waters.
10. Workout at home
Okay, so you probably weren't expecting this one. But don't despair!
If you invest in just a few simple dumbells and an abdominal roller, you can do many exercises within the comforts of your home. Even if it's for only 20 mins two times a week, your body will begin to tone. After all, when losing weight, no diet comes close to the physical benefits that come from regular exercise.