45 Little Changes for Big Weight Loss Results
(continued from the last issue)
Take a Time Out
Too much stress could be thwarting your weight loss efforts. “Cortisol is the stress hormone in your body that glues itself onto fat and keeps it on your hips, abs and thighs,” says Jillian Moriarty, a certified yoga instructor and owner of Happily Ever Active in Wayzata, Minn. To decrease cortisol and decrease fat, try this quick time out every day (especially when stressed), recommends Moriarty. 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.
Eat a Lighter Lunch
According to a new Cornell University study, people who ate smaller, portion-controlled lunches consumed about 250 calories less per day (that’s about two pounds a month) than those who ate as much as they wanted. 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.
Taking cues from your body on what to eat on a daily basis can help you eat less, says Jasia Steinmetz, a registered dietitian and author of Eat Local: Simple Steps to Enjoy Real, Healthy & Affordable Food. 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. If you really want a Snickers, for instance, enjoy a bite-size. Don’t limit yourself — if nothing is off limits, you may find yourself craving nutritional food as well. “The vitamins and minerals that are so essential to the various functions of your body will come from a wide variety of foods, and choosing which foods appeal to you each day will help you tune into your body. Paying attention before, during and after you eat will help you respond to the positive feeling you get from eating healthfully and lovingly.”
Stay Satisfied (sans Snickers)
“Adding small amounts of fat and protein [to your meal] will trigger your satiety center, signaling you are satisfied and help slow digestion so you feel full longer,” says Steinmetz. She recommends 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.
“Taste” the First Four Bites (then Move On)
Many dieters get so bored with bland “diet” foods they end up eating more of them to feel fulfilled. Instead of eating for quantity, focus on the quality of your food. “You may notice that the first few tastes of the food are the most satisfying — your taste buds are on high alert,” says Steinmetz. “Buying small quantities of high quality food and concentrating on taste will help you savor small bites. Stop after the first four bites so that your taste is not ‘saturated’, and then try a different food.”
Eat Only in Designated Dining Areas
“Eat only in the food-appropriate areas of your home like at the kitchen or dining room table,” recommends Mary Miriani, an American College of Sports Medicine certified Health and Fitness Specialist in Naperville, Ill. Sitting down at the table to eat (instead of in the car, standing at the kitchen counter or sitting at your desk) means you are more likely to focus only on eating and pay more attention to the visual cues that help us decide when we are full. According to research, being able to see all that you have eaten (evidenced by the remnants of food on the table) could help you eat up to 27 percent less at meals.
Keep Serving Dishes Off the Table
According to a 2010 Cornell University study, you’ll eat about 20 percent less if you keep your serving dishes in the kitchen instead of on the dinner table. Researchers tested how eating habits would change if food was served from the kitchen, not the table. Participants ate less when the food was out of reach, and were more likely to choose fruits and vegetables when kept in plain sight.
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. A 2011 Japanese study found that walking immediately after a meal was more effective for weight loss than waiting up to an hour afterwards. Subjects who went for a brisk, 30-minute walk just after lunch and dinner lost more weight than those who waited to walk. And because walking is a low impact form of exercise, it shouldn’t cause any digestive distress.
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, explains Marissa Vicario, a certified holistic health coach and founder of Marissa’s Well-Being and Health in New York City. “Omega-3s are known to improve heart and brain function and are also important in muscle recovery and fat burning.”
Stay Away from ‘Enriched’ Foods
Steer clear of breads or flours that have ‘enriched’ on the packaging if you want to stay slim, says Kim Truman, a certified CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and peak performance trainer in Dallas, Tex. ‘Enriched’ means the nutrients have been stripped and then added back in, leaving you with basically nutrient-empty calories. Instead, buy whole grain products, such as wheat bread, whole-wheat flour and old-fashioned oats, which have their nutritional value intact and are more filling.
Start Your Meal with Soup or Salad
A 2007 study by researchers at Penn State University found that when subjects ate vegetable and broth-based soups before a meal, they ate about 20 percent less. 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.