Keys To Weight Loss
Most fad diets have a series of complex instructions and are highly restrictive. This can give you the impression they have scientific backing. In reality, the only reason they are effective in the short run is they eliminate certain foods. You will automatically lose weight when calories are cut out. Unfortunately, these rules are nearly impossible to stick with. Once you stop the diet, you typically regain the weight you lost and additional pounds.
Instead of relying on gimmicks, the following information will present 18 keys to weight management that are based on evidence. It is not necessary to follow each of them. However, the more keys you can incorporate, you will increase your chance at successfully losing weight, and more importantly, preventing regain in the future. Try incorporating one or two steps each week. Remember, each person is different. Not everyone will benefit from all the suggestions. Customize your weight control plan by picking which suggestions work for you and which ones you feel comfortable using. The following suggestions are not a “diet” and there are no foods that are forbidden.
1) Implement a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. It is also low in trans and saturated fats, sugars, and refined grains. Include lean meats, such as fish and poultry. You should also eat dairy that is low or non-fat to avoid unnecessary calories. Your fiber intake should include 20 to 35 grams from plant sources. Fiber increases satiety and helps decrease the rate of carbohydrate absorption. Use the USDA MyPlate system as a visual aid. It is recommended that half your plate contains fruits and vegetables. Proteins and whole grains should each take up approximately one-quarter of the plate. For additional information, see 14 Keys to a Healthy Diet.
2) Watch portion sizes.
You can eat all the spinach and carrots you want. However, when you are eating high-calorie foods, portion sizes matters. Read food labels to determine the portion size. Even small packages often contain multiple servings. Therefore, you should check the sugar, fat, and carbohydrates multiple times to ensure you understand the nutrition for a single serving. Although packages of 100 calorie foods can help with your portion control, it will not help if you indulge and eat multiple packages at once.
3) Practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating means you are aware of how much you are eating and when, by using internal cues for guidance. This is in contrast to using external cues. When you eat mindfully, you give your meal your full attention. You savor each bite and are acknowledging whether or not you are enjoying it. You cannot eat while distracted during mindful eating. This means not watching the television, working, or driving during meals and snacks. This approach will increase your enjoyment of food, while eating less. Studies suggest that being more mindful reduces overeating as a response to external cues, such as around-the-clock food availability, larger food portions, and food advertisements.
4) Chew your food well and eat slowly.
Another part of mindful eating is chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly. This gives your brain more time to receive the signal that your stomach is satiated. This signal can take approximately 20 minutes to be received by the brain. Chewing can also stimulate the signal for satiety. Additionally, chewing more thoroughly increases your awareness of texture, smell, and taste of foods. This can lead to improved satisfaction with what you are eating and consuming fewer calories. Remember, the first few bites of your meal are often more pleasurable. Make sure you focus on the initial bites of indulgent foods, such as cake and chocolate, since this may be adequate to satisfy cravings. If you love gadgets, consider the HAPIfork for $99. It is an electronic fork which vibrates when you do not stop long enough between bites of food.
5. Do not depend on willpower.
Try controlling your food environment so you do not overfill your plate or eat when you are not hungry. For example, eliminating junk food in your home will make it more difficult to eat unhealthy foods. If you must have unhealthy foods in your home, keep them out of sight. Changing your routine can also aid in controlling your food environment. If the office pantry is attractive or you frequently drive past your favorite fast food restaurant, try changing your routine. Smaller dinnerware and utensils will force you to put less food on your plate and eat smaller bites. You may even want to invest in devices for portion control that allow you to measure the food on your plate. When eating snacks, pre-portion them into bags or only take a serving out and add it to a bowl. Eating directly from a large bag or box will encourage you to eat carelessly. It may be impossible to completely control your food environment, but being aware of your triggers may prevent you from overeating.
6) Find emotional triggers that may encourage you to overeat.
Many people find they eat more or more often when they are lonely, depressed, stressed, or even when they are experiencing positive moods. Try to learn the difference between genuine hunger and emotional hunger. Start by rating your hunger and fullness levels on a scale of 1 to 10, before, during, and after eating. A rating of 1 means you are more than hungry or starving, which can also be accompanied by weakness, headaches, and/or lightheadedness. Rating yourself with a 10 means you are beyond full, similar to the feeling after a large Thanksgiving feast. You should eat a meal or snack when you reach a level 3, which is hungry but not uncomfortable and stop eating when you reach a level 7, which is full and satisfied. If you notice you frequently eat even when you are not hungry, look for activities unrelated to food that you find pleasurable. Going for a walk or run is ideal, because it will help take your mind off food and help you burn calories.
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