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6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

6 Easy Kitchen Organization Hacks to Promote Weight Loss

If home (or apartment!) is where the heart is, then to me, the kitchen serves as the veins and arteries of the home. Biology analogy aside (I am a scientist after all) your kitchen can be the central place to promote positive health changes. Starting a journey toward weight loss or maintaining a healthful diet can seem daunting, but some of the most important steps toward a healthful approach to weight management or weight loss can start in the kitchen. Whether your kitchen is decked out with fancy gadgets or you have just the bare essentials in a tiny galley kitchen, read on for six simple tricks for making your kitchen work for you:

Switch up your dinnerware.

You may have heard that eating meals from smaller plates and bowls will help you eat less without even realizing it. While partly true, this argument has another interesting side to the story. Turns out people who used a large plate for meals served themselves more vegetables than those using a smaller plate. The takeaway? Using a large plate might be a simple and cheap strategy to increase vegetable consumption, so use dinner plates for your salad and save smaller plates for higher-calorie entrees and desserts.

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Keep cookies and candy on the top shelf.

Let’s face it – some days, a cookie is the only thing that’s going to make us feel better. Studies show that trying to fight food cravings can lead to overeating down the line, so satisfying an urge before it becomes irresistible is healthier than devouring a sleeve of cookies as a midnight snack. Keeping snacks around can help manage your cravings, but to avoid overconsumption, store high-calorie snacks and sweets on the top shelf or in opaque containers. You’ll be able to indulge when you need it, but otherwise out of sight, out of mind can work for you.

Rethink your fridge space.

“Out of sight, out of mind” also works in reverse – if you normally store vegetables in the refrigerator’s bottom drawers, rearrange your fridge to keep lower calorie, high fiber fruits and veggies in plain sight. The next time hunger strikes, you’ll find yourself reaching for salad or an apple instead of leftover pizza. You’ll also cut down on food waste and save your cash from (literally and figuratively) going into the garbage. A win-win situation!

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Plan for portion control.

Put your reusable food containers to good use. Set aside time on the weekend to prepare a big batch of your favorite grain or greens, mix in lean protein like chicken breast, canned tuna, or beans, and take 5 minutes to chop up vegetables for office lunches and snacks. Then, put food in single-serving containers so you’ll be able to grab-and-go during the busy morning rush. Planning ahead will save stress and calories in the long run.

Measure up.

Research has shown that overestimating serving sizes is a common reason that people don’t lose weight. Measuring food can help to keep portion sizes accurate, so keep measuring cups and spoons close by when serving up a meal. (If you have a kitchen scale, this is also a good idea to use.) Chances are it will be an eye-opening experience. You may be shocked to see the true serving size of some of your favorite things like cereal, peanut butter, and even salad dressing. It should only take a few times of visually seeing an appropriate serving size to make this a long-term change. This handy guide of appropriate serving sizes will make it easier to stick to appropriate serving sizes.

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Make the kitchen your happy place.

Creating a calming environment may be the key to de-stressing in the kitchen. Try to keep the countertops clear of clutter and the sink free of dirty dishes to make the kitchen a place where you want to spend time. Special touches like a bowl full of fresh fruit or a vase of farmers’ market flowers can add to the room’s appeal. Preparing a healthy meal can be great therapy at the end of a stressful day – and it beats drowning your worries in a bag of potato chips.

Some of these kitchen hacks only take a few minutes but can really add up to significant health-promoting changes. The hardest question is — which one will you try first?

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Allison Dostal, PhD, RD, Sylvia Rowe fellow of the International Food Information Council, contributed to this piece.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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