Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little Changes for Big Weight Loss

  1. Eat Off of Blue Plates. We are naturally drawn to red, yellow and orange in our dining area or restaurants because psychologically it stimulates us to want to eat -- and eat a lot. Studies show if you put your food on blue plates it can cause you to eat less.
  2. Eat Eggs for Breakfast. Researchers believe the higher protein content of the eggs helps you stay fuller, longer and leads to eating less throughout the day.
  3. Put a Bigger Fork in it. A smaller fork makes us feel we aren’t making as much of a dent on our plate so we’ll take more forkfuls to satisfy our hunger. So next time you’re order a super-sized entree, ask for a bigger fork to help you eat less. And while you’re at it, stop when you’re satisfied -- not stuffed.
  4. Turn Off the TV. Studies show that we eat around 40 percent more when watching TV and we’re more likely to eat junk food while distracted. To lose weight without major sacrifice, power down your TV, computer or smart phone during dinner and concentrate only on your meal.
  5. Fill your (Small) Plate. People who fill their plate with everything they plan to eat (including dessert) eat about 14 percent less than those who don’t fill it as much but return for second helpings. So to eat less, load up your plate -- but only once. To reduce your intake even more, use a smaller plate. 
  6. Focus on the Future. Instead of rewarding your happiness with a candy bar in the moment (or eating one for comfort), focus on the future outcome (like a healthier, lighter you) so you’ll make better choices in the present.
  7. Hold the Mayo. One simple little change like skipping the ketchup, mayo or other ‘special’ sauces could save you around 100
calories per day.
  8. Slim down your daily coffee. Removing just two teaspoons of sugar from your daily cup of coffee may not seem like a big deal, but it can save you 32 extra calories a day or three extra pounds a year.
  9. Add Fruits and Veggies. Weight loss doesn’t always mean cutting down on things. In fact, adding in more fruits and vegetables helps you stay fuller, longer, with less calories and more nutrition. To lose weight without feeling hungry, eat at least one serving of fruit or vegetables with every snack and two with meals.
  10. Slowly Swap Out Processed Food. Highly processed foods are low in nutrients, causing the body to seek more food to find the nutrients it needs, which leads to a vicious cycle of overeating. You don’t have to empty the pantry all at once, but slowly start making swaps like fresh fruit and yogurt for protein bars (which can contain as much sugar as a candy bar) or hummus and fresh veggies instead of nutritionally devoid pretzels.
  11. Don't take Weekends Off. Instead of letting the days of the week influence your habits, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable all month long (with the occasional indulgence) for lasting weight loss.
  12. Take a Time Out. Too much stress could be thwarting your weight loss efforts. To decrease cortisol and decrease fat, try this quick time out every day. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and choose a mantra such as ‘relax’ or ‘let go’ and repeat it in your mind as you take slow, deep breaths for about 10 minutes.
  13. Eat a Lighter Lunch. Portion control doesn’t mean you’ll go hungry. Reward yourself with a snack for sticking to smaller meals, which can help shave off pounds without major sacrifice.
  14. Eat Intuitively. Taking cues from your body on what to eat on a daily basis can help you eat less.  Next time you’re hungry, pay attention to what foods seem appealing to you -- and why. Craving sweets, for example, may be a cue that you need energy. Don’t limit yourself -- if nothing is off limits, you may find yourself craving nutritional food as well.
  15. Stay Satisfied. By adding either one-quarter cup of nuts, a small bowl of beans or an egg to meals, you’ll ward off hunger and keep your energy level constant.
  16. Go for a walk immediately after a meal. Walking is great exercise for weight loss, but it seems to be even more effective when done just after eating. And because walking is a low impact form of exercise, it shouldn’t cause any digestive distress.
  17. Burn more fat with Walnuts. Research shows that eating two ounces of walnuts a day in the place of another snack can help you burn fat 62 percent faster. The reason walnuts help burn body fat quicker is likely due to the high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Omega-3s are known to improve heart and brain function and are also important in muscle recovery and fat burning.
  18. Start your meal with Soup or Salad. Fill up on vegetable-dense soup or a salad before your main course so you’ll eat less overall. While you’re at it, try to increase your daily vegetable intake, too.
  19. Chew more to weigh less. Chewing your food 40 times (instead of the average 15 times) can may help you eat about 12 percent less food. The study found a direct correlation between chewing more and lower levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and higher levels of CCK, the hormone believed to reduce appetite.
  20. Increase your daily fiber intake. Increasing your daily fiber intake to 20-30g a day can help you lose weight. “There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which are essential for weight loss. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but absorbs it, which helps you feel full and promotes quicker movement of food through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, slows down the absorption of glucose, allowing cells to burn sugar for energy, rather than storing it as fat. It also regulates insulin levels, controlling hunger.” Aim to eat a combination of both types of fiber (fruits and veggies are a great source), but increase your intake gradually to avoid digestive distress.
  21. Drink water before meals. Drinking 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal helped participants eat about 13 percent less. “A lot of people can confuse hunger with thirst, so regularly sipping on water can help keep hunger and cravings at bay,” says Batayneh. “And if you get bored with water, try sipping on green tea or water with a fresh fruit or vegetable slice.”

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