Losing weight and keeping it off can be incredibly hard, especially when there’s so much misinformation about what really works to slim down. With gazillions of ineffective fad diets, pills, potions, books and other “tools” to help us shed unwanted lbs, it’s no surprise that about 90% of dieters regain the weight they lose because they can’t stick with the program they started long-term.
Nutrition researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston recently revealed strategies used by individuals who lost 5 to 10% of their body weight. They found that the strategies that were most successful included eating less (really???!!!), reducing fat intake, exercising more or by joining a weight loss program, like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. They also reported about what didn’t work for weight loss, which included fad diets, drinking lots of water or other detox or fad diets. Other research shows that you need to tailor your diet to your personal tastes and needs so that it works for you, so that may mean adapting aspects of various diets that you’ve tried to make your own personal approach.
Since cutting calories and exercising more is really key for healthy, long-term weight loss, here are a few tricks to help you curb your calories without feeling deprived.
Downsize Serving Plates and Utensils
Since we automatically eat what we are served (regardless of the portion size) using the smallest plates, bowls and glasses can help curb intake. The good news, however, is that research shows that even with smaller serving sizes, individuals report being equally satisfied.
One of the easiest ways to lose weight without sacrifice is to avoid liquid calories. Since liquids do not provide any satiety (fullness), they’re not a good way to spend your calories as you won’t eat less to acommodate for the liquid calories you drink. If you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to limit alcohol because you can easily drink several hundred calories worth of adult beverages without even realizing it.
You may also drink diet soda as a way to cut back on liquid calories but keep those to no more than one a day. There is no conclusive research showing that diet sodas (or any diet products) actually contribute to long-term weight loss. In some cases, research suggests that products containing sugar substitutes may trip up our natural hunger-satiety cues making it harder to control cravings for sweets.
Nix Mindless Munching
Set some ground rules in the house that include eating only at the kitchen or dining room table, and without distractions, such as the TV or radio. Research shows that we eat significantly more calories when we are distracted by the TV or computer. Research shows that distracted diners eat as much as twice as many calories.
Friends or Foes?
Your friends can by your diet allies or your worst enemies. Research shows that behaviors associated with overweight and obesity are essentially “contagious” and whom you socialize with can have a big impact on your weight. If your friends are overweight and exhibit behaviors that make it hard for you to control your calories or be active, you’ll have a harder time reaching your weight loss goals.
It doesn’t matter what you write down, but be sure to track a few things about your diet most days. of the week. Research has found that people who keep food journals lose up to twice as much weight compared to those who don’t.
Using a hunger scale is one of the best tools to help you eat according to real hunger rather than out of emotional or other reasons.