1. Take it slow
When it comes to losing weight, slow and steady is sensible — and effective. Here’s why. Small weight losses don’t trigger starvation mechanisms, such as a slowdown in your metabolic rate, the way dropping pounds quickly does. Losing weight is not natural. Just think how worried you would be if you lost your appetite and the weight suddenly started falling off. A healthy appetite and maintaining a stable weight go hand in hand. In essence, when you decide that you want to lose weight, your mind is declaring war on your body — and your body will try to sabotage your weight-loss efforts. When you eat less than what your body requires, your body tells you that you need to make up that deficit by increasing your hunger. Rather than declaring all out war on your body, go for a subversive type of warfare. Losing one-half to one pound per week can go somewhat unnoticed by your body.
2. Join the breakfast club
Like all clubs, this one has some definite rules if you want to reap the rewards of being a member. Eat within 15 to 30 minutes of getting out of bed. If you wait too long for breakfast after rising, even if you’re not hungry, you burn fewer calories. Through the night, calorie-burning capacity is slower. Eating a balanced breakfast boosts your metabolism, so if you go hours without eating breakfast, you’ve missed an opportunity to burn more calories. As well, going too long without eating can signal a shortage of food for your body and lead to a greater likelihood of storing fat.
3. Eat protein early in the day
Along with servings of whole grains and fruit, include a slowly digested protein, such as a scoop of cottage cheese, an egg or an ounce or two of a lower-fat cheese, fish, poultry or lean meat, for breakfast or even lunch. Protein helps you avoid late-afternoon energy dips and cravings, as well as nighttime munchies. Have a smaller amount of protein at dinner to balance out the other meals.
4. Drink water
Drink plenty of water every day. While drinking water is not a magical elixir for weight loss, being low on fluids may impair your ability to lose weight. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Just think of how appealing a juicy orange is when you’re thirsty. Then think of the same orange after having two glasses of water.
5. Make it a 10
Deciding to banish decadent delights while losing weight is a surefire route to feeling deprived and abandoning healthy eating efforts. Instead, go for a winning strategy — have your cake and eat it, too. When contemplating non-nutritious temptations, take one bite and rate it from one to 10 as if you were a judge in a food contest. Finish it only if it scores a 10 out of 10. Just think of how many just average desserts you’ve eaten and regretted. When the plan is to lose weight, limit your 10s to a maximum of two per week.
6. Snack smart
Being starved at the onset of a meal goes hand in hand with overeating. Snacks can help bridge long gaps between meals and keep you from being overly hungry. Aim to eat every three to four hours, but don’t be spontaneous about your snacking. Instead of perusing the contents of a vending machine, plan your snacks. Tote along some nutritious eats: raw veggies with low-fat dip, a few tablespoons of nuts or seeds with a piece of fruit, or some fruit and yogurt are convenient and satisfying options.
7. Watch out for “super hungry” days
Take heed when appetite changes occur. Often the scale won’t register weight loss for a few days, and during this time, regular meals will satisfy your hunger. Suddenly one day, though, the hunger will seem relentless. This is the day that the scale drops — the payoff day, so to speak. Eat normally through these days — just don’t eat extra food.
Hungry days require some appetite taming, as do special occasions. When a ferocious hunger hits, as it might on a weight-loss day, going for hot foods is more satisfying than cold options (compare eating a cucumber to hot veggies). Or have a hot drink instead of a cold one. And soup carries that satisfaction even further.
Scientists at Pennsylvania State University assessed the difference in caloric intake between drinking water with a meal versus having the water incorporated into the food. In the study, the subjects received three different meals: a chicken rice casserole, a chicken rice casserole served with a glass of water and a chicken rice soup, in which the water was incorporated into the casserole. When the subjects ate according to their appetites, they consumed many fewer calories after the soup compared with both casserole meals.
Other research has suggested that foods with aromas are more satisfying, and because hot foods are more aromatic, this may be one of the reasons that soup is a terrific aid for weight loss. Keep an assortment of lower-salt soups on hand. Load them up with vegetables for even more satisfaction and an added health
perk. Enjoy them as often as you like, even daily, as a snack, before a meal or as part of a meal, if your appetite is a little too keen.
And there you have it! Now try to remember it!…LOL