Hundreds of health gurus have come up with thousands of ways to try to get you to lose weight, motivate you to exercise more, and fool the body into shedding the pounds. But once you separate the good from the bad, and the bad from the downright dangerous, you’re left with a few golden nuggets that you can really put into place to start seeing results.
1. Keep Portion Sizes Under Control
This is a big part of most diet plans, and goes against some of the large portions Americans have come to expect when they go out to eat. There have been various ways to describe how much food we should be eating. The palm of your hand is one way to portion out proteins and carbs, and the size of your fist works for baked potatoes and apples.
It seems like it would be easy enough to keep all-you-can-eat mentality confined to trips to Vegas, but more and more places these days are making it possible to stuff yourself. Endless shrimp offers, pizza buffets, and even unlimited refills on french fries are all readily available for most city dwellers. These are best avoided since the temptation to eat your money’s worth is often too strong.
Also keep in mind that the amount of food that the stomach can hold is roughly the size of two cupped hands. Try not to exceed that amount at any one sitting, and if you do near that size, try to do so at lunch when your digestive juices are at their strongest.
2. Break Away From Unhealthy Traditions
Cleaning your plate may have been something your mother told you to do because her mother told her to do it, but it can lead to dysfunctional eating behavior later in life if you can’t seem to leave food on your plate.
Some adages of the past like eating three square meals a day don’t work for everyone. You might be better off eating four or five meals throughout the day. There’s also new studies that debunk certain foods being good for you. Your parents may use a lot of bad fats in their cooking and baking. Changing their recipes to include these new findings is key.
If you come from a culture whose food consists of heavy, starchy foods, it might mean that you have to update them so they contain healthier ingredients. Many chefs out there have already put a new spin on traditional dishes so you can enjoy the flavor of your country without sacrificing your figure.
3. Increase the Amount of Exercise You Get
There are all sorts of fitness programs claiming that they have the way to get fit and lose weight. What they all have in common is that they’re getting it right to some degree. The important thing to take away from each of them is that you have to get the body moving more than it currently is. That means different things for different people.
If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, you don’t want to go zero to sixty overnight, or you’ll end up getting burned out. If you’re already pretty active you might want to consider amping things up and taking it to the next level if you’ve found that you’ve reached a plateau.
Another point to consider is that it doesn’t really matter what you do, or how much of it you do in any given day, but you’ll want to do it at least three times a week it’s strenuous, or every day if it’s walking or other light activities.
4. Stop Eating When You Feel Full
This might sound like one of the easiest things to do, but it turns out it’s not that easy for most. Due to emotional attachments to food, and bad eating habits, we often keep eating long after getting the signal from the body to stop.
In his book I Can Make You Thin, Paul McKenna outlines what he says is an effortless way to eat and lose weight, getting down to your natural and healthy weight. He also recommends eating when you’re hungry, eating what you want, and enjoying every mouthful. Sounds easy enough, right?
It’s interesting to stop for a second and realize that although these sound like simple steps that we should be doing naturally. Since many of us eat when we’re not hungry, keep eating when we’re full, and distract ourselves during mealtime with TV or work, it really makes our dysfunctions easier to see. Recognizing them is the first step to working on a fix.
5. Don’t Buy the Bad Stuff
The point of purchase is the moment of truth. Most of the time you’ll end up eating things you buy, even if you regret buying them. They say don’t shop hungry, and that may have been enough back in the day. But now they’re put so much psychology into product packaging and positioning, as well as TV ads, even if you’re not hungry you might find yourself filling your basket with things you know aren’t good for you.
Once a piece of junk food has made it into your home, it will call to you to eat it until you do. And since most of these foods contain chemicals in them to make you overindulge and crave it even more, they can really throw a wrench in your weight loss gears. Remove the temptation by removing the opportunity to cheat and eat foods that you regret by not buying them in the first place.
Another step you should take is getting tempting items out of the house. A lot of times a well-meaning health expert will say just to clear out that food and replace it with healthy food. But if you don’t like wasting food this might be hard for you. You could take a free day and eat all of the food that you shouldn’t be eating, and then start your new diet and exercise program the next day.
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