Have you hit a weight loss plateau? The official start of summer is just around the corner and it can be frustrating if suddenly the scale won’t budge. Don’t despair! There are things you can do right now to help you lose 10 pounds or even more — without depriving yourself. Check out this list of slim secrets.
1) You Snooze, You Lose
As a sleep aficionado and registered dietitian, I have been fascinated by recent research on the relationship between sleep and weight. (I love any studies that make me feel good about my laziness!) Scientists have long suspected that skimping on sleep can add extra pounds to your waistline. Proof is adding up in the research that has been conducted in the last decade. One study published in 2005 followed the sleep patterns and weights of 8,000 adults over several years. Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night corresponded with a greater risk of weight gain and obesity, and the risk increased for every hour of lost sleep. In 2009, a University of Chicago study concluded that participants consumed more calories from snacks and carbohydrates after five and a half hours of sleep than after eight and a half hours. Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that after the night of abbreviated sleep, adults consumed more than 500 extra calories (roughly 22 percent more) than they did after eight hours of sleep. While the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood, researchers believe that how much you sleep and possibility the quality of your sleep may influence hormonal activity tied to your appetite.
2) Don’t Just Think Skinny, Drink Skinny!
Use a tall, skinny glass instead of a short, wide tumbler to cut liquid calories — and your weight — without dieting. You’ll drink 25%-30% less juice, soda, wine, or any other beverage. How can this work? Brian Wansink, PhD of Cornell University has found that visual cues can trick us into consuming more or less. His research reveals that most people pour more into a short, wide glass — even experienced bartenders.
3) Set Your Table for Slim
Small is beautiful. Wansink’s research also showed that going from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate can reduce how much you eat by about 22%. That’s right, just using a smaller plate can fool your brain into thinking you are satisfied on fewer calories. Same is true for smaller bowls and spoons. Smaller servings spoons were found to result in a 14% decrease in food intake, while smaller bowls led to a whopping 50% decrease in eating.
4) Eat More Soup
Start your meal with a soup! Dr. Barbara Rolls, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University has been a pioneer in studying the role of “high water volume” foods on fullness and weight loss. One of her key findings: broth-based soups can contribute to a feeling of fullness. Broth-based soups like miso or chicken noodle are most effective while heavy, cream-based soups such as New England clam chowder defeat the purpose. And keep in mind that soup isn’t only a cold-weather food. In the summer, try chilled gazpacho or cucumber soup. Broth-based soups are the perfect appetizer and can keep you from overindulging in the main course and dessert.
5) Eat with Your Mind
Consider this: Researchers found that distracted eaters ate up to 100% more after a meal compared to distracted eaters and that eating while watching TV increased subsequent snack intake by 20-100%. And the distracted eaters not only ate more calories, they still reported being less satisfied compared to those who didn’t do another activity while eating. In our fast-paced, multi-tasking world, one of the consequences to eating while working, texting, driving or in front of any screen, can result in eating up to twice as many calories compared to if you simply eat and can take the time to appreciate and taste your meals and snacks.
6) Munch in the Morning
You’ve heard it before: breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. But too many of us are missing out! Are you one of the more than 150 million Americans who do not eat breakfast? If you want to lose weight, make sure you make time for a morning meal. There are several key reasons why you should start everyday with a nutritious morning meal: 1. Breakfast boosts your metabolism. By starting your day with a balance of healthy carbohydrates (including fiber!) and protein, you will boost calorie burning by speeding up your metabolism. So you really can eat to lose weight! 2. Breakfast eaters are leaner. People who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain healthy weight than those who do not. In fact research shows that some 78% of successful dieters almost always eat breakfast compared to just 4% who rarely eat it. Why? Not only does breakfast boost metabolism, what begins with skipping breakfast often builds to an evening finale of excess portions and high calorie food. Check out our post on Best Protein-Rich Breakfasts for Weight Loss for morning meal ideas.
7) Veg Out
Fruits & Veggies… probably one of the best lose-weight weapons in your arsenal. High in fiber and water, they’ll fill you up without blowing your calorie budget. Aim for nine or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. You can incorporate them into your diet in many ways: bulk up recipes or simply include more servings of whole fruits and vegetables at meals or snacks.