You may be eating all the good stuff, but you’re eating too much of it. Take the time to read the serving size indications and stick to it by measuring out your portions or using an at-home food scale. Don’t trust yourself to guess what a cup of spaghetti looks like or you’ll be putting in all the effort of dieting without reaping any benefits. A study of overweight people found that 38 percent of those who practiced only portion control lost weight.
It can be tempting to throw in the towel when you slip up. You may be thinking that if you’ve already ruined your diet you might as well stuff your face and start fresh tomorrow. This way of thinking will get you nowhere fast. It’s natural to overeat once in a while or indulge in that chocolate cake you know you should skip, but don’t let one mistake throw you off balance.
If you want to lose weight quickly and efficiently it is best to pair your diet with a regular exercise routine. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. Whether that is a long morning walk, a bike ride, a yoga class, or an evening at the gym, make sure you don’t leave out the fitness component to your new healthy lifestyle.
You may think if you skip breakfast you can save those calories for lunch, snack, or dinner time, but by the time you get to lunchtime you’ll be starving and will have a tendency to overeat. Those “saved” morning calories won’t last long. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a good breakfast helps keep you on track for healthy eating the rest of the day and refuels your body with energy to start the day.
If you’re focusing on eating smaller portions and fewer snacks, but aren’t consuming enough protein you’ll constantly be hungry. Protein keeps your metabolism running, your energy up, and keeps you full longer as it is harder to digest than most carbohydrates. Include a lean protein in every meal and snack on items that are high in both fiber and protein like nuts, dried fruit, or hummus and veggies.
When you’re trying to lose weight you should be focused on drinking water. Not only does water make you feel full, but it is a pure, calorie free drink that is great for your skin and digestion. If you regularly consume a morning cappuccino, a soda with lunch, and a few beers with dinner you’re consuming a few extra hundred liquid calories a day.
Many people use food as a reward for completing a long day at work or completing a rigorous workout, but using food as a reward can be a dangerous pitfall when dieting. Emotional eating will sabotage your diet and leave you feeling worse off in the end. Studies show that 78 percent of American consumers are more likely to eat dessert as a treat to reward themselves. Rather than using food as a reward, give yourself an evening in with your favorite show or a new pair of running shoes.
“I got the blues” may conjure up memories of those macaroni and cheese commercials from the ‘90s, but we’re talking about blue dishware. The color blue can act as an appetite suppressant because it has the least appealing contrast to most food. Research says toavoid plates that match the food served on them (like white plates and fettuccini Alfredo), because there is less of a contrast, which may prompt us to eat more. A small but potentially useful trick!
Skipping out on snack time won’t necessarily lead to weight loss, since low calorie consumption can actually slow metabolism . Eating less than three times a day may benefit those who are obese, but research shows skipping meals throughout the day and eating one large meal at night can lead to some undesirable outcomes (like delayed insulin response) which may increase the risk of diabetes . Instead of forgoing breakfast or lunch, stick to a few meals a day with healthy snacks in between.
Next time you need groceries, circle the perimeter of the store before going in. This isn’t a way to stalk out your prey, but actually a tactic to load up on the healthy stuff first. The edges of grocery stores generally house fresh produce, meat, and fish, while the inner aisles hold more pre-packaged, processed foods. Browsing the perimeter can help control how many unwanted additives are in the grocery basket.
Make an effort to fill the fridge with healthy produce and proteins (from perusing the perimeter!). Keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand. And for when the fruit basket goes barren, make sure the freezer is stocked with frozen veggie mixes or berries (grab the bags full of just veggies, not the ones with butter-laden sauces). You may be less apt to order out when you’ve got the makings of a healthy dinner right at home. And the good news is, healthy food doesn’t always have to be pricey.
Skipping breakfast in order to “save your appetite” for dinner probably isn’t a safety shield for late-night noshing . While there’s still debate on how important breakfast really is, not eating until the afternoon may lead to binging later on (ie. four servings of mashed potatoes) . Make sure to stick a reasonably sized breakfast with plenty of protein; we tend to eat the same sized lunch and dinner regardless of how many calories we eat in the morning .
We promise cooking doesn’t take long! Restaurants often use larger plates than the ones we have at home, and studies show that increased portion sizes result in increased energy intake, even if there’s a doggy bag involved .
Take a little time out to toss the junk. If you’ve got some favorite not-so-great items you’d like to save as a treat, tuck them in the back of the pantry with healthier items, like whole grain pasta, rice, beans, and nuts up front. We know that just because the cans of tuna and a bag of lentils are right in front doesn’t mean you’ll forget the brownie mix altogether, but it’ll help keep the brownie mix out of sight, out of mind. Just seeing or smelling food can stimulate cravings, and increase hunger (especially true for junk food) .
Instead of lining up the breadbasket, entire casserole, and salad bowl, right on the table, leave food on the kitchen counter (away from reach). When you’ve cleaned your plate, take a breather then decide if you really want those seconds. Changing up the environment, like by leaving food by the stove, can help reduce food intake .
History shows plate sizes have increased over the past millennium . When it’s time to sit down for dinner, choose a size-appropriate plate or bowl. Using a smaller plate (8-10 inches) instead of a tray-like plate (12 inches or more) can make us feel fuller with the same amount of food. How does this magic trick work? The brain may associate the white space with less food, plus smaller plates generally lead to smaller portions .
Eating slowly may not fit into a busy workday, but it pays to pace your chewing: the quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register fullness . So slow down, and take a second to savor.