It can be hard to stay healthy in Shanghai, so we might obsess over expensive gym memberships or fancy vitamin cocktails to stay in shape. The devil’s in the details, though, and the little devil is sneaky.
A bad diet and lifestyle can easily be a death by a thousand cuts if you let the stealthy calories pile up on you. Luckily it doesn’t take too much effort to catch them before they fall in your mouth or to start burning them before they sink to your stomach.
1. Exercise before lunch
Exercise not only burns calories right away but also for a long time afterward. If you do a good amount of exercise (the more the better, but even just a brisk walk at lunchtime) before you’ve eaten the bigger meals of the day, any fat that’s thrown at your body afterward won’t stick so well. Kickstart your metabolism early and it’ll work for you throughout the day. This is especially important when you work at a desk all day, where your metabolism gets lazy.
2. Snack on fruit and veg instead
Speaking of working at a desk all day—stress and staring at a screen all day, unfortunately, do not burn a lot of calories. Still, you might find yourself craving sweets and salty snacks just to feel better. Fruits and vegetables can fix your snack addiction. It’s just a matter of finding the fruits and vegetables you like and taking them with you. Nuts are okay, too, as long as they don’t have any added salt or sugar.
3. Drink more water
Soda, juice, energy drinks, fattening milk, beer, and so on—they might as well be sugary grease water. If you regularly drink any of these things, cutting down will make a big difference in your daily calorie count. There’s nothing leaner than plain old water, so drink lots of that (throughout the day, not all at once!). If you really need some flavor, you can squeeze the juice from some fresh fruit into the cup. Use less sugar and milk in your coffee or tea if you want to really make a difference.
4. Cut down on the sauces
It’s just a little ketchup, right? Only if you don’t use it every meal. The same goes for salt, pepper, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and so on. You might not realize it, but altogether in a day you probably use enough condiments to fill an entire glass. You’d never drink a glass of ketchup, would you?
5. Keep a healthy eating schedule
Whether you do 3 main meals a day or 5 smaller ones throughout the day, keep it regular. If you skip a meal, you’ll get especially hungry for the next. That makes you stuff your face and fall asleep with a stomach that feels like it’s about to burst. And while you sleep, all of that food turns to weight.
As small as these changes are, they might still seem like an annoying thing to think about every day. Maybe the first few weeks or months will be annoying, but once everything becomes a habit, you won’t have to worry. And sooner than you think, you’ll not only feel the difference, you’ll start seeing it around your waistline.