A weight loss program at the gym definitely requires heroic effort. And goodness, you gonna starve yourself, too? No way. I ain’t gonna buy that.
But what shall we do with that extra fat? Well, there are several proven tips that can help you “mindlessly” eat fewer calories. These are effective ways to reduce your weight, as well as to prevent weight gain in the future – and they are based on science.
1. Chew thoroughly and slowly.
In fact, eating quicker can make you gain weight. A study reported that faster eaters are more likely to gain weight, compared to slower eaters.
Why is this so?
For starters, our brain needs time to process that we’ve had enough to eat. Studies show that chewing your food better makes you eat more slowly, which is associated with decreased food intake, increased fullness, and smaller portions.
2. Use Smaller Plates (especially for unhealthy foods).
The logic behind this is quite simple and requires just common sense. Using a smaller plate may help you eat less by making food portions look larger.
Studies show that a bigger plate can make a serving look smaller causing you to add more food. You can use this to your advantage by serving healthy food on bigger plates and less healthy food on smaller plates.
Also, did you know that the typical food plate is larger today than it was a few decades ago?
3. More protein, please.
Science shows that protein can increase the feeling of fullness, reduce hunger and help you eat fewer calories.
Why? Protein affects several hormones that play a role in hunger and fullness, including ghrelin and GLP-1. A study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories helped participants eat 441 fewer calories per day and lose 11 pounds in 12 weeks, without intentionally restricting anything.
What’s the best source of protein? Eggs, folks. Eggs. A study conducted among overweight or obese women showed that those who had eggs for breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch compared to those who ate a grain-based breakfast. Also, they ended up eating fewer calories for the rest of the day and during the next 36 hours!
4. Keep unhealthy foods away.
Science says storing unhealthy foods where you can see them may increase hunger and cravings, causing you to eat more. And, gain even more.
One recent study found that if high-calorie foods are more visible in the house, the residents are more likely to weigh more, compared to people who keep only a bowl of fruit visible. Need I say more? Take ‘em away.
Oppositely, store healthy foods where you can always see them.
5. Eat fiber-rich foods.
Studies suggest that a special kind of fiber, called viscous fiber, is particularly helpful for weight loss. It increases fullness and reduces food intake.
Furthers studies on viscous fibers show that they form a gel when it comes in contact with water. This gel increases the time it takes to absorb nutrients and slows down the emptying of the stomach. This type of fiber can only be found on plant foods like beans, oat cereals, brussels sprouts, oranges, asparagus, and flax seeds.
6. Water, please!
I have to admit, I do not encourage myself to drink water before and during a meal (unless a bone gets stuck in my throat) because my appetite diminishes greatly after drinking water. Turns out, this drill is effective for weight loss!
A study in adults found that drinking half a liter (17 oz) of water, about half an hour before meals, diminished hunger and helped them eat fewer calories. Those who drank water before a meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period, compared to those who did not.
7. Eat Without Electronic Distractions
Overeating may result from not paying attention to what you eat or how much you’ve eaten. People who eat while they’re watching TV or playing computer games may lose track of how much they have eaten.
One review article looked at the results of 24 studies, finding that people who were distracted at a meal ate about 10% more in that sitting. Moreover, not paying attention during a meal has a greater influence on your intake later in the day. People who were distracted at a meal ate 25% more calories at later meals than people who were not distracted.
8. Sleep well and avoid stress.
Sleep deprivation and stress form a vicious cycle, and both have a grave effect not only on our mental and psychological health but also on our physical health.
Studies show that sleep deprivation may disrupt the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. Another hormone, called cortisol, becomes elevated when you’re stressed.
What’s more, chronic sleep deprivation and stress may increase your risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.
9. Don’t drink sugar.
It’s very easy to take in massive amounts of excess calories from sugary drinks, because, as studies point out, liquid calories don’t affect fullness like solid food does.
If you want to lose weight, you should be cutting back on added sugars.
10. Serve unhealthy foods on red plates.
Isn’t this counter-intuitive as it is a known fact that red makes people more hungry? Well, not always, at least, this seems to work with unhealthy snack foods.
A study reported that volunteers ate fewer pretzels from red plates, compared to white or blue plates.
A Word to the Wise
There are many simple lifestyle habits that can help you lose weight, some of which have nothing to do with conventional diet or exercise plans.
You can use smaller plates, eat more slowly, drink water and avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. Prioritizing foods rich in protein and viscous fiber may also help.
However, don’t try these tips all at once. Experiment on one or a few first.