Simple Ways to Lose Weight
You've Heard It All Before
You're probably sick of hearing this, but we all know that to lose weight, one must reduce calories or increase activity, preferably both. It's true. On the other hand, I have pieced together a few strategies that should help you meet your goal. Keep in mind that my suggestions are suggestions only, and not a weight loss program. But if you follow my tips, they may just help you stick to your weight loss plan, whatever it is, without cheating.
Did you know that sometimes your body tells you you're hungry when you're actually thirsty? Keep yourself hydrated and you'll know when you're truly hungry. Not to mention, there will be less room in your belly for extra food. Brenda Davy, PhD and Associate Professor of Nutrition at Virginia Tech., published a study, finding that obese participants who drank 16 oz. of water before each meal lost about 50% more weight than obese participants who did not drink the water before meals.
Most health experts agree on a goal of 8 glasses of water a day. Personally, though, I try to pay attention to my body. Is my tongue dry? Are my eyes itchy? Do my lips feel cracked? These are the first signs of dehydration and if you aren't very good at hydrating yourself, you probably experience them daily without noticing. Pay attention and take a water break!
#2: Have Breakfast
Yeah, yeah, yeah... It's the most important meal of the day and yadda yadda yadda. I bet you're already tuning me out. People who eat breakfast weigh less than people who don't. Now do I have your attention? How is it that people who skip a meal actually weigh more, then? There's a good reason for it: If you really wait until lunch to eat, you haven't eaten in probably 16 or more hours and are going to nosh like there's no tomorrow. Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City, says: "Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, binging at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure." Plus, eating breakfast keeps your metabolism going strong. Now that's a reason to grab a granola bar with that coffee!
#3: Eat Your Veggies First
Probably 110% of nutritionists would agree that veggies are the healthiest food category out there, and something you should eat several times a day. What's not to love, after all? They're low-fat or fat-free, high in fiber, and low in calories, almost without exception. But what you and I know is that probably almost 110% of regular people would agree that veggies are generally not as delicious as everything else you're eating for dinner. That's why you should eat them first. In fact, you should eat a salad first, rest for a few minutes, and then eat your vegetable side. You're hungry, so your body will be saying, "Yay! Food!" and not noticing that there's that lasagna you haven't tried yet. Then once you eat all of your veggies, feel free to move on to the lasagna. I bet you won't have seconds.
#4: Get Lots of Fiber
When I was pregnant, my husband used to spike my drinks. No, no... It's not what you're thinking. He didn't add alcohol to them; he added fiber. Once I was sitting down with my feet up, he'd ask if I wanted a glass of water, which of course I did, since I was paying attention to myself and knew all about #1. Well, anyway, he'd arrive with a coy smile and he'd watch me take a sip. Next I'd notice that there was a spoon in my glass of water. Ahhh... I'd think, the daddy-to-be strikes again with his secret weapon: Benefiber. And while I gained about 35 lbs. with each of my pregnancies, I have no way of knowing how much I'd have gained if I hadn't been consuming fiber like it was water.... literally. Plus, I stayed really regular.
My husband is not the only fiber warrior out there. In fact if you take a good look at the nutrition information on any pre-packaged diet foods from Weight Watchers to Nutrisystem, you'll find that my husband knows a thing or two. In fact, fiber expert Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, a professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, says that you should eat a high-fiber breakfast for weight loss.
#5: Chew It Up!
Maybe you've heard that old wives' tale about how you need to chew your food twenty times before you swallow. I know I usually scarf my bites down in about three-to-four chews since I'm a busy American, and that's what we busy Americans do. But there's research to suggest that chewing your food slowly leads to eating less. Dr. Jie Li, a researcher at Harbin Medical University in China, published a study in the August 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that their participants who were obese chewed less and consumed more than their non-obese counterparts. Huh. Who knew?
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