Losing weight is hard. Let’s face it – if it were easy, there wouldn’t be such a huge weight loss industry out there. Not only do you have to increase the amount of exercise you do, but you also have to give up all that yummy food you love. Chocolate? No way. Potato chips? Get rid of them. In fact, committing yourself to lose weight can seem like more effort than it’s worth, and it’s no wonder that so many people fail time and time again.
You might be surprised to find out that there’s an easier way to go about losing weight, and it doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you love. In fact, it has been shown that all you need to do to start your weight loss journey is change the way you approach food. Rather than eat less, fill your diet with different kinds of foods, and eat in different ways. Not only can you achieve weight loss without actually doing any exercise, but you will also add some variety to your life.
1. Chew your food more slowly
It’s true that it takes at least twenty minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it has had some food. Your hunger signals persist even after you start eating until your brain can catch up. This means that when you wolf your meals down really quickly, your body is still receiving hunger signals, resulting in you eating more than you actually should. How do you change this, though? You can’t modify the way your brain receives signals from the rest of the body.
Here’s where you’re wrong. Actually, by chewing your food for longer and taking more time in between each mouthful, you’re actually allowing your body to keep up, and therefore as you eat your hunger is actually subsiding. Your brain is processing the satiation feelings, and you’re feeling fuller after eating fewer things. Neat, huh? That means that you’re done eating in a shorter amount of time, the amount of food you eat is way less, and you consume fewer calories.
2. Use smaller plates
Chewing slowly and taking your time to eat your meal isn’t the only way you can trick your brain in regards to food. The speed at which you eat is one thing, but you can also impact your level of food intake if you make your food plate smaller. How many times have you gone to serve yourself dinner and absolutely filled your plate until it’s almost overflowing? It’s not your fault – we are actually brought up to believe that a heaped plate means a healthy appetite and that we should finish everything on it.
By switching out your full-size dinner plates to ones that are either half or three quarters the size, you will inevitably eat less food. Even if you stack these smaller plates up, they won’t hold the sheer amount of food that your big plates do. You can even use a side plate for this purpose. While a big plate can make a normal sized serving look small, using a smaller plate will allow you to enjoy a smaller meal while your brain thinks you’re getting a huge one.
3. Eat more protein
Eating is one of life’s simple pleasures, and sometimes eating less can be really depressing. One trick you can do is switch the food you’re eating out for better food, and continue to eat the normal amount of food that you enjoy. For instance, eating more protein instead of carbohydrates means that you can alter the way your body produces insulin, which in turn means you are more energized, less hungry and happier.
There are a lot of diets out there that rely on the intake of protein rather than carbohydrates, and a lot of them are backed up by scientific evidence. Reducing carbs can induce ketosis in your body, which is a state where your body is burning fat for energy. This diet is highly efficient and people see incredible weight loss in short periods of time by doing this. By supplementing your low carb diet with high amounts of protein, you are ensuring that if your body breaks down proteins for energy then they are replaced straight away so that you don’t experience muscle loss at the same time as you are losing weight. By making protein 50% of your meal rather than carbohydrates, you will see weight loss quickly and continuously.
4. Clean out your pantry
It’s no secret that bad foods tend to be addictive. It’s not specifically many of the ingredients that cause this addiction, but it also incorporates the formation of habits, which may not be good if you tend to binge your junk food. By having bad food stored around your house, particularly in plain sight, you are increasing the chances that you will fail. Unfortunately, you are going to have ups and downs in your weight loss journey, but by getting rid of the problem food from your cupboards, you’re putting yourself in a good position to succeed.
High-calorie foods such as chocolate, cookies and potato chips should be taken off the shopping list altogether. However, this doesn’t help if you already have these items in your house, right? Well, one thing you can do is hide all of these unhealthy foods out of sight. That might be in the back of your cupboard or a drawer where you won’t go looking for them, or, preferably, in the garbage. You want to give yourself the best chance to succeed, so that means getting rid of anything you might find yourself craving.
5. Drink lots of water
Over the course of your life, you’ve been told to drink lots and lots of water – up to 8 glasses per day. Some people find it easy to drink water, while others tend to struggle. Drinking lots of water have a ton of benefits without even considering the weight loss benefits. Keeping yourself hydrated is the first key to staying healthy, so getting at least 8 glasses a day should be something you aim to do. Drinking water before a meal can assist with your weight loss, as it reduces your hunger and the number of calories you consume.
If you are like me, however, drinking water is a real chore. It’s hard to find ways to make water more interesting, especially while keeping the calories out of it. One trick that I’ve learned is that by adding a flavored electrolyte solution to your water, you are making it super easy to drink while boosting your body’s hydration. Electrolyte solutions and water additives can be found in your local supermarket. Just be sure to pick up one that has no calories.
6. Try intermittent fasting
One diet trend that has made the news over recent years is intermittent fasting. The reason it has gained so much traction is that people are seeing real weight loss just from going through short periods where you don’t eat. The focus of this particular diet is that you don’t have to change what you eat, just when you eat them. The most popular format of intermittent fasting is by eating just One Meal a Day followed by a period of fasting. Another popular form sees you eating most of your food within an 8-hour window each day, then fasting for the other 16.
There’s nothing unnatural about fasting. In fact, humans have been doing it for thousands of years. You are technically fasting while you sleep, and by extending this fast, we can experience lots of benefits. It’s not just great for losing weight; by fasting, we can improve our metabolic health, protect against disease and even live longer. There’s a lot of research to back up this method, so put the research in and you might find a fasting routine that works for you.
7. Eat without distractions
If you’re having a quiet meal at home, I’m sure that either the television or your cell phone is involved somehow. Whether you’re catching up on your latest episodes or scrolling through your news feed, entertainment has become a huge part of our meal times. This isn’t doing you any favors, though. In fact, by being distracted while you eat, you might not even realize that you’re eating way more food than you actually meant to. This is absolutely something you should pay attention to the next time you sit down to have a meal.
There have been scientific studies of the effect of distractions during food consumption. The first effect of absent-mindedness has resulted in study participants eating 10% more than people who are paying attention to what they are doing. Not only that, but the act of being distracted even affects how much food you eat at later meals. The easiest thing to do to lose weight, then, is put your cell phone down while you eat, and make sure your television is off. These small things will have a great effect.
8. Get more sleep
When it comes to overall health and wellbeing, one of the biggest factors is the amount of sleep you get. Unfortunately, most of us are getting too little sleep, or the quality of sleep we are getting is very poor. This is for many reasons, but mostly because we tend to carry the stresses of our days for far too long into the evening. Sleep has a huge effect on your hormones, including the ones that regulate your appetite. So it’s no surprise that your poor sleep is affecting your weight.
There’s a lot of things you can do to try and improve your sleep. There’s a whole area of techniques called sleep health, which allow you to form good habits around sleep. The basic gist of it is that by teaching your brain when you’re supposed to switch off and fall asleep, you increase the ability to get a full night’s sleep. This results in you falling asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, sleeping a total of 7 to 9 hours, and being alert when you wake up in the morning. Fix your sleep, and the weight loss will follow.
9. Don’t drink your calories
One of the worst habits for someone who is trying to lose weight is drinking beverages that contain a high-calorie count. This means all full-sugar soda. In fact, drinking soda has been associated with a whole range of diseases, so it’s best to stay away anyway. Another high-calorie beverage that you probably weren’t expecting to be unhealthy is fruit juice. It’s packed full of sugar, and even though it may be more natural, it isn’t good for keeping off the pounds.
If you’re addicted to soda, as many people are, you might find that it’s just the fizziness you crave and not the sugar. You should be drinking more water, so you can trick your brain into thinking you’re drinking soda by carbonating the water that you drink. It’s a really neat trick. Another thing you can do to replace soda is drink coffee, which contains the caffeine that gets you through the day or tries some green tea, which is full of antioxidants and has many health benefits.
10. Use a red plate
This last tip may sound strange, but a recent study has reported that by serving unhealthy food on a red plate as opposed to a white plate, you instinctively want to eat less of it. No one really knows why this might be the case, but it’s worth a shot, right? One explanation is that the color red is associated with stop or danger signals. It’s just another way to trick our brains into eating less, which is what we want.
Losing weight is one of the hardest challenges you can face. However, by making a few small changes to the way you eat, you can begin your weight loss journey in a way that suits you. This doesn’t mean you have to undergo strict diets or exercise constantly; just take your time while you eat, and experiment with plate sizes and water intake and you’ll be losing weight before you know it.