1. Create a “Calorie Budget”
It’s easier to lose weight when you have specific goals – like a specific “calorie budget” to stick to – which you can use to tailor a healthy diet menu around – figuring out just how many servings of fruits, veggies, proteins etc to include every day. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers suggested daily calorie plans – based on your gender, age, and physical activity level.
2. Get realistic about the amount of calories you burn in a work out
After a good, sweaty work out you might think you’ve burned up a storm of calories. The truth is, people tend to overestimate the calories burned from exercise – then wind up eating more. If you want to have a more honest sense of the average calories you burn during daily habits and exercise, review this chart from the CDC.
Bizarro world fact: You’re more likely to retain “water weight” if you do NOT drink enough water – rather than if you drink too much water! Do gulp that water down! Also, when you drink water, you wind up feeling more full, and are less likely to want to pig out. Plus, sometimes if you’re tired, it’s because you’re dehydrated. Instead of reaching for the coffee, reach for a healthy glass of water to perk up!
6. Say NO to Diet Soda and Diet Foods!
According to research from U of Texas Health Science Center, the more diet sodas a person drank, the greater their risk of becoming overweight. Even drinking just two or more cans a day increased waistlines by 500%. Another study found that even just one diet soda a day is linked to a 34% higher risk of Metabolic Syndrome – which means gaining belly fat and getting high cholesterol. Plus, according to research from Purdue University, when you eat or drink artificial sweeteners you can wind up wanting to eat or drink more sweet stuff – because your body is being fooled into thinking it’s taking in real sugar – thereby you crave more sugary things.
7. Sloooow down and appreci-eat your food!
According to research from U of Rhode Island, speedy eaters are often heavier people than slow eaters. Here’s the deal: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you have eaten enough and are sated. If you eat too quickly, your body won’t be able to receive the message of fullness in time – and you can wind up overeating! The solution? Try to chew every bite around 10 times. You can also slow down your eating by putting your fork down in between bites – or eating with chopsticks.
According to research from Penn State University, people who enjoyed a low-calorie vegetable soup before a meal wound up eating 20% fewer calories. Other studies have also reported people feel fuller faster if they drink anything hot before a meal.
9. Spice up your food – but not with salt!
Salt is a big trouble-maker when it comes to weight gain. Studies show that the average American consumes twice the amount of salt as they should – which leads to a puffy face, bloated belly and overall weight gain. Salt also makes you feel hungrier and thirstier. Watch out for the sodium in canned and frozen foods. Plus be forewarned that many restaurants salt-up their menu to make it taste yummier. Although salt is a nemesis to slimness, spicey spices are your pals! According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, adding hot spices to your food can help curb hunger! Plus, scientists at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that capsaicin (a compound found in chilies) can even trigger your brain to release feel-good endorphins.
10. Don’t starve yourself
When you’re super hungry, you make foolish food choices! Make sure you always have healthy snacks nearby. Recommended noshes include: sliced apples, carrots, mozarella sticks, raisins, yogurt, portion-controlled baggies of almonds – or you favorite nut!
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