Losing weight is one of the most commonly made New Year’s resolutions; it also may be one of the most commonly abandoned. It is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged when faced with the conflicting information and strictness that is characteristic of many popular diets. MayoClinic.com confirms what many dieticians and doctors have been saying all along: When it comes to weight loss, calories are king. Fortunately, there are many helpful tricks that will have you shaving calories from your daily intake without the need for scales or measuring cups.
If you are just starting out on your weight loss journey, you don’t have to radically change your entire lifestyle overnight. The best way to reap long-lasting results is to make small changes that you can stick to for life. Begin with a few of these tips and add more as you go along on your permanent weight loss journey.
Portion control is the most important factor in controlling calories. Simply using a lunch plate instead of a large dinner plate at meals will help you slash calories while tricking your brain and body into feeling content with less. The results of a Cornell study suggest that this method could create a calorie deficit resulting in a loss of 10 to 20 pounds a year. Eating more slowly also helps control portion size by giving your body a chance to realize it has had enough before you consume more than you need. Using thin tall glasses rather than short fat ones is another way to use tricks of perception for your own benefit.
Staying away from large containers of food is another easy way to resist temptation. Serve yourself dinner in the kitchen and sit down to eat in a different room. Never leave serving dishes in front of your plate while you eat. Try packing up your leftovers and putting them in the fridge before you begin your meal. You will be less tempted to steal a few extra bites if you have to open the fridge and reheat your food.
Portioning out snacks ahead of time makes it easier to control mindless munching. Place serving-sized helpings of nuts, pretzels or other healthy snacks into small zip-top bags, so you can grab one when you are hungry and stop before eating too much.
The secret to maintaining your weight loss momentum is to not starve or deprive yourself. The best way to do this is to make healthy foods the majority of your meals while still allowing small amounts of your favourite treats. Filling up on clear broth soup or a salad without heavy dressing before eating your entrée is another way to lower total calories while not going hungry.
Natural appetite suppressants can also easily help you cut daily calories. Drinking a large glass of water before eating is one way to help calm hunger. Chewing peppermint gum while cooking or baking will forestall those sneaky nibbles that can wreck your daily goals. Prevention magazine online recommends at least four grams of fiber, six times a day, to keep you feeling fuller longer, helping to stop those second and third trips to the kitchen after meals.
Tracking your success is another tool that can help you reach your goals. Natalie Gingerich, from Prevention, recommends daily weigh-ins. She notes that in one study, dieters who weighed themselves daily lost double the weight of those who weighed themselves weekly. Keeping a food log of everything you eat is an effective way to keep yourself on track.
The experts at WebMD suggest sleeping more to shed pounds. They cite a University of Michigan study that recorded up to 14 pounds of weight loss in one year, resulting from an extra hour of sleep each night. There is also evidence suggesting that inadequate sleep can increase appetite.
Implementing these tips is a great way to help you begin to reach your weight loss goals or help boost the results of an existing regimen. Only take on as much as you feel comfortable with, and fully commit to making each change a permanent part of your life.