Many of us worry about our weight. Our fast paced lifestyles and cravings for junk food have played a serious number on our health. Nearly 40% of the world’s population is overweight and the US is leading the charts. The diet industry is expected to pass $80 billion by 2021.
Here are some things to try for weight loss without a complicated diet system and each costs nothing or not much. They are simple lifestyle changes that will help shed some pounds and establish healthier eating habits.
The first steps towards losing weight:
Know when your stomach is full:
This is first on the list because overeating is most likely the primary reason for being overweight. How much we eat is more important than what we eat. Have you ever eaten at a restaurant or even someone’s house in Western Europe? Say like in Italy, France or Spain. Those who did may have noticed the food portions are much smaller. In the good old USA we like everything big, cars, houses, streets... Because we have big hearts too, we like abundance in everything. Unfortunately it reflects in our plates, not only we serve huge portions, we are preconditioned to clean our plate. 70% of Americans are overweight, #1 highest rate in the world followed by Canada and Mexico at 65%. Out of every 10 people you see in the street, 7 are overweight according to the standard BMI (body mass index).
Did you know it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full?
Many people overeat because they simply don't realize their stomach is full. 20 minutes fullness registration time is more than it takes to eat a whole course.
Know when your stomach is full. Try this:
1. Fill up your plate half as much as you usually would and eat.
2 Wait 20 minutes after the last bite.
3. Drink a small glass of water.
4. If you’re still hungry help yourself to the other half of your meal and enjoy.
Doing this at every meal will help you better gauge the correct amount of food you need to eat before being full. After a few times you will have a better sense of when your stomach is full but hasn't registered yet. Drinking water during the meal is not usually recommended, in this case it helps get a better idea of how full the stomach is.
It has been scientifically proven that eating at a slower pace results in less eating. It ties back to knowing when your stomach is full because eating slower gives more time for the brain and stomach to sync the nutrition information and fullness of the stomach.
The easiest ways to do that:
1. Chew more. Chew every bite that comes in your mouth 4 to 5 times more than usual.
2. Don’t eat alone, have a conversation. Talking doesn’t mix with eating and takes time between bites.
3. Avoid the feeding frenzy; don’t wait until you’re starving to have your meal.
4. Take smaller bites.
Chewing food more has a triple benefit. It slows eating down, it gives a better sense of satiation and it helps the stomach breakdown the nutrients faster.
Many people believe in calories in, calories out. Although at the end it boils down to that, they commit the error of believing that every calorie is created equal. Eating greasy burger with fries, and drinking a pop has a given number of calories that could be counted toward a reasonable total daily calorie intake. Even if someone who eats that way doesn’t have any other food for the rest of the day, it’s more likely they will get unhealthy than lose weight. Before putting something in our mouths we should always consider the nutritional value of what we eat, don’t count calories, make the calories count.
Eat well doesn’t mean a lot… Here it may take a little effort and discipline for some, it’s much easier than many of the diets out there and results in a change of eating habits. Everyone heard this before when they were little, eat your vegetables! Eat well means eat healthy. 70% of the total daily food intake by weight should be fruits and vegetables. Out of that, 60% should be raw or lightly steamed.
Here are some things to try for a healthier diet:
1. Look at the shopping cart, does it look like 70% fruit and veggies?
2. Look at your plate, does it look like 70% vegetables?
3. Is there close to ⅔ raw or lightly steamed vegetables?
4. Start by eating the veggies, eat all of them first then eat the rest.
5. Always have a salad as part of the meal. Leafy greens or any other raw veggies.
6. Eat a banana or an apple as a snack when you are hungry between meals.
7. Before you eat something, ask yourself what nutritional value does this bring?
8. Fill your fruit and veggie quantity first during the day.
A great way to fill the fruit and veggie daily quota is by replacing whatever usual breakfast with fruits. It may feel strange at first to eat fruit right off in the morning, bet you not only you'll get used to it, you will crave your fruit in the morning.
This part really does start at the supermarket. If you buy 1 pound of chicken, 1 pound of fish and 1 pound of pasta, you should have 7 pounds of fruit and vegetables in your cart as well. Everything that is food in the cart, total it up by weight and check that 70% is fruit, veggies, grains (rice, quinoa...) and legumes. Skip buying the cookies, ice cream and other sweets. Avoid processed foods as much as possible and if you must have bread try whole grain. Buy the right proportions of fruit and veggies, the rest will follow.
It goes without saying that sugar and fatty foods don’t have much room in a healthy diet. When the sugar craving gets though, get going and have yourself a fruit or dried fruit. Stay away from the cookies, cake, ice cream and all other super sweet foods.
Hunger signals are kind of tricky in the human body. Have you ever gone to a family dinner and stuffed yourself until you were ready to explode? Maybe you felt like you ate enough for 3 days? If you ever did, you may have noticed a strange phenomenon, the next morning you feel like you’re starving. This doesn’t make sense since you had that enormous meal the evening before. The hunger thermostat kind of works by supply and demand. The more food is consumed the hungrier you get the next day. By the same token, the less food consumed the less hunger.
It may take a couple of days to get used to, after that it’s easy to eat less. The downside, one big meal and the hunger will go back up, so the next day it will be harder to eat less.
1. Best way to reset the hunger meter to low is to fast for 1 day.
2. Those who can’t fast 20 to 24 hours to start can try not eating during the day 2 days in a row.
3. Serve yourself half a portion, don’t go back for the other half.
4. When you are hungry between meals, drink a tall glass of water, it will help.
5. If you are excessively hungry, ask yourself if you’ve already had enough nutrients to sustain you that day. Worse comes to worst eat a fruit.
Keep in mind that to reset the hunger meter by fasting, there should be no food consumed at all during at least 20 hours.
Some people may prefer trying to eat much smaller meals 4 or 5 times a day. This can also help the hunger meter. Eating in this way, there are no snacks at all. A small meal in the morning, like 1/3 of the usual portion. Another 1/3 around 10:30. At 1 a small lunch, half the usual portion. At 3 a small 1/3 portion meal and at 7 or 8 a half or 3/4 meal.
Fast 2 or 3 days a week:
Doing a day fast from say 9p to 3p the next day works wonders for the metabolism as well as hunger control. It helps the digestive system clear up, gives it some rest and allows the good gut bacteria to build up. What’s more, after a couple of times in the same week the hunger feedback from the body goes to 0. You simply don’t get hungry during the day and fasting becomes a breeze.
Try doing this:
1. Pick 2 or 3 days to fast during the week.
2. Eat a small dinner the night before fasting, this will help control hunger.
3. Drink water throughout the day, when you are thirsty or hungry down a 6oz+ glass.
4. If you get really hungry tell yourself food is not as important as you think.
5. Avoid chewing gum, this adds enormous amounts of saliva, plus gum has sugar.
No matter what you try, don't forget to drink lots of water. Drinking is much more important than eating and should never be neglected. Do not drink other drinks than water, coffee or tea without sugar.
Take natural supplements:
Have you ever eaten a kiwi, a mango or a plate of freshly steamed veggies and felt really satisfied after? This is another strange thing with the human body and hunger. Eating nutrient rich foods gives a better sense of satiation even with smaller quantities. Same goes the other way around. You may have eaten something that is not very nutritious in larger quantities and felt like you were still hungry after. That nagging sense of something missing comes from the lack of nutrients in the food that was consumed. The body is saying it didn’t get enough of the good stuff.
Taking healthy nutritional supplements has the same positive effect on the body. It gives a sense of satiation because the body got what it needed nutrition wise.
Choose the best supplements:
1. Go for plant based nutritional supplements without artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
2. Preferably certified organic from a reputable brand.
3. Follow the recommended daily dose.
4. You can take supplements even on fasting days if the total dosage isn’t over 5 grams.
5. Superfood supplements usually work well.
Drink water only:
Avoid sodas and sugary drinks at all costs.
Beware of fruit juices and fruit drinks. Although a fresh glass of orange or any other fruit juice is healthy, drinking fruit juice the whole day does add up to a lot of fructose that is sugar. Limit fruit juice, fruit drinks and smoothies to one per day (total, not each...).
Drinking a lot of water during the day is very important for our health and helps control hunger. Always have a bottle with you and drink often. Waiting to be thirsty to drink is a mistake too many people make. Drinking should be done at regular intervals, preferably 2 or 3 times per our and at least once per hour regardless of if thirsty or not. Usually by the time thirst is felt the body is already dehydrating.
A good habit is to down 6 to 8oz of water right when you wake up. Open your eyes, drink water. Just like the fruit for breakfast, this quickly becomes a good habit and you will wake-up thirsty after a little while. If you decided to take natural supplements, the first glass of water could be to wash those capsules down.
Coffee and tea are OK and can be counted as drinking water as long as there is not sugar, milk or anything else added.
Following any or all of the above will help weight control as well as increase overall health. These tips are not a diet, they are meant to assist in lifestyle changes that will have a more permanent and beneficial impact than a diet system.
Of course fasting and other advice on this page isn’t for everyone, it may be dangerous for people with low blood sugar and other medical conditions. Consult your doctor before following the weight loss advice on this page or making any change to your diet.