The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.
#1: Eat an early dinner
Experts have gone back and forth on whether eating late leads to weight gain, but a recent study found a solid link. Researchers looked at the eating and sleeping patterns of 52 adults and found that those who regularly ate after 8 p.m. ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. An easy-to-follow rule of thumb: Stop eating three hours before you go to bed. Then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.
#2: Weigh yourself daily
Stepping on the scale can be disheartening, particularly after an indulgent weekend. But it’s best to face your fears, because as it turns out, weighing yourself regularly can actually help you stay slim. People who got on the scale every day lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves less often. Monitoring your weight keeps your mind on your health and prevents weight denial.
#3: Eat a boring diet
Researchers discovered that people who ate macaroni and cheese every day took in significantly fewer calories than those who ate the cheese-covered noodles only once a week. The reason: The novelty of new foods drives you to consume more, so by removing the novelty, you feel fuller, faster. I’m not suggesting you choose one meal and eat it every day for the rest of your life, but the more routines you establish, the more your belly will shrink. Start with lunch. If you find yourself scratching your head every day when the clock strikes noon, you’ll end up eating impulsively and taking in more calories. Instead, pick something healthy, like a soup-and-salad combo, and eat it every day
#4: Reward yourself
Once you’ve established a healthy routine, you need to establish a reward system. Think of those pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. It’s a trip known best for being rife with danger, but it was also rife with sluggish tedium. Early American settlers wouldn’t have completed the journey without the proverbial promise of milk and honey at the end, and neither will you stay the course of a repetitive diet without something more closely resembling literal milk and honey. A great way to stick to a low-calorie diet without breaking down into rebellious binge-mode is to reward yourself with a small dessert every day. Pick a food you love, and at the end of every day, reward yourself with a portion of about 200 calories. But remember, you only get the reward if you deserve it.
#5: Read diet and exercise tips
One study found that being exposed to nutrition and exercise advice led people to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices. To ensure you stay focused on maintaining a healthy weight, subscribe to a health-related magazine or frequent a nutrition-focused website like mine. And read my books and listen to my Cd’s.
#6: Eat breakfast
A study found that people who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing. Eating a nutritious morning meal jumpstarts your metabolism and prevents you from overindulging throughout the day. For optimal weight-loss results, choose a breakfast dish with a healthy balance of protein and fiber, like eggs with fruit and whole-wheat toast. I also like to drink a glass of cold water as this super jump starts your metabolism as it has to heat the cold water you just drank.
#7: Take snack breaks
Snacking sometimes gets a bad rap, but planning nutritious snacks throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. A recent study found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings, and body fat storage. An ideal snack choice? Nuts. The balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is sure to keep you satisfied between meals.
#8: Drink water
Almost 60 percent of your body is water, which makes it vital to every important metabolic process. In one study of 173 overweight women, those who added 1 liter of daily water to their diets lost five extra pounds over the course of a year, and if you time it right, the effects can be even greater. When researchers had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30 percent more body fat over 12 weeks. That said, making beverage blunders is one of the easiest ways to gain belly fat, as the average person drinks 450 sugar-loaded calories a day. Replace half of what you drink with water and you’ll save 23 pounds per year!
#9: Order a la carte
A study found that diners consume more calories when they order combo meals because they end up with more food than they want or need. My stay-skinny advice: Resist the temptation of the almighty “value” meal and order a la carte items, like a modestly sized burger and a non-fried side dish. You’ll save both calories and cash.
#10: Choose whole grains
Choosing nutrient-rich whole grains over processed, white flour-based products can play a major role in keeping you lean. Researchers discovered that obese participants who added whole grains to their diets lost more belly fat than those who did not. One of the key weight-loss benefits of whole grains: Their healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. But don’t be fooled by “made with whole grain” labels. True whole grain products will list whole grains first on their ingredients list (think “whole wheat” flour instead of “enriched” or “bleached” flour).
#11: Eat spicy food
Eating spicy foods may promote weight loss. Research participants who ate a spicy appetizer before a meal ate significantly less than those who consumed a non-spicy appetizer. The explanation: A chemical compound called capsaicin, found in chili peppers, acts as an appetite suppressant. Capsaicin has also been shown to boost metabolism and fight inflammation. Routinely adding spicy ingredients like cayenne or red pepper to your meals is an easy, flavorful way to stay slim.
#12: Sleep for 6 to 8 hours each night
Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to a host of major health benefits, not the least of which is maintaining healthy body weight. Participants who slept for fewer than six hours or more than eight hours each night gained significantly more weight than those who slept for six to eight hours. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods. That might be why you find it so hard to resist those doughnuts in the break room.
#13: Manage stress
Dealing with work, finance, or relationship-related stress can lead to weight gain. When you stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat storage. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your work or personal life, try incorporating stress-reducing activities into your day. Join a yoga class or go for a jog, and when you start to feel stress coming on, pause and take deep breaths.
#14: Take the stairs
Most of you are aware that formal exercise is a key component in maintaining a healthy weight, but simple choices like taking the stairs can be just as important if you want to stay trim. One study found that participants who unconsciously moved more throughout the day were able to maintain their weight much easier than those who were more sedentary, even though both groups exercised the same amount. Make the most of daily motion by also walking to lunch, parking at the back of the lot, or skipping email in favor of short walks to deliver messages to coworkers.
#15: Chew thoroughly
Chewing more and eating slowly caused participants to ingest fewer calories. According to the researchers, the increase in chewing simultaneously lowered levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and increased levels of appetite-suppressing hormones. One way to make sure you chew your food thoroughly: Stop to eat. Eating on the go, in your car, for example, can lead you to quickly inhale a ton of calories before your body has time to let you know it’s full.
#16: Walk after meals
Taking a walk after dinner can help you lose weight, and not just because walking burns calories. Post-meal exercise, like walking, can lower your blood sugar and prevent your body from storing fat. Don’t have time for a walk, you say? Not a problem. As long as you keep moving after you eat, you will reap similar benefits. Even doing the dishes or completing other household tasks can help.
#17: Keep healthy food on hand
A great way to ensure you make nutritious food choices: Surround yourself with healthy options. Don’t use convenience as an excuse for a shameful diet. Keep fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, store healthy snacks like nuts in your desk at work, and keep pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables in your fridge. Whatever you have to do to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice, do it! You won’t feel deprived or hungry as the pounds are dropping away.
#18: Learn to take a joke
Laughing for 15 minutes each day can help you burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on your body size and the intensity of your laughter. This adds up to about one to four pounds of fat lost per year. That may not sound like much, but there’s also been plenty of research linking happy people to all-around healthier lifestyles.
#19: Eat protein
Dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their overall diet ate roughly 450 fewer calories throughout the day and lost about 11 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. Eating protein increases lean muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism running on high, even when you’re resting. Protein also keeps you full, making you less likely to overeat. For maximum health and weight-loss benefits, aim to include protein in all of your meals and snacks. The best options? Lean protein sources like fish, eggs, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.
#20: Avoid dinner distractions
With laptops, smartphones, and iPods aplenty, we’ve become accustomed to round-the-clock entertainment. But your mealtime may be one time of day we should fight our addiction to amusement. Diners who were distracted at mealtime consumed significantly more unhealthy snack foods later on than those who paid close attention to what they ate. One possible explanation: When you don’t pay attention to the meal you’re eating, your brain doesn’t fully register the experience. That leaves you less satisfied and more vulnerable to overeating.
#21: Eating “low-fat”
It sounds crazy, but stop buying foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free. Typically, they save you only a few calories and, in doing so, they replace harmless fats with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly, causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger. Researchers found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates. That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.
#22: Eating free restaurant foods
Breadsticks, biscuits, and chips and salsa may be complimentary at some restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay for them. Every time you eat one of Olive Garden’s free breadsticks or Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, you’re adding an additional 150 calories to your meal. Eat three over the course of dinner and that’s 450 calories. That’s also roughly the number of calories you can expect for every basket of tortilla chips you get at your local Mexican restaurant. What’s worse, none of these calories comes paired with any redeeming nutritional value. Consider them junk food.
#23: Skipping meals
In a national survey, 17 percent admitted to skipping meals to lose weight. The problem is, skipping meals actually increases your odds of obesity, especially when it comes to breakfast. Skipping meals slows your metabolism and boosts your hunger. That puts your body in prime fat-storage mode and increases your odds of overeating at the next meal.
#24: Eating too quickly
If your body has one major flaw, this is it: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough. Slow eaters took in 66 fewer calories per meal, but compared to their fast-eating peers, they felt like they had eaten more. What’s 66 calories, you ask? If you can do that at every meal, you’ll lose more than 20 pounds a year!
#25: Watching too much TV
Overweight participants who reduced their TV time by just 50 percent burned an additional 119 calories a day on average. That’s an automatic 12-pounds per year! Maximize those results by multitasking while you watch, even light household tasks will further bump up your caloric burn. Plus, if your hands are occupied with dishes or laundry, you’ll be less likely to mindlessly snack, the other main occupational hazard associated with tube time.
#26: Facing the buffet
When eating at a buffet-style restaurant, obese diners were 15 percent more likely to choose seats with a clear view of the food. Choose a seat that places your back toward the spread and it will help you avoid fixating on the food.
#27: Eating off larger plates
When given an option, 98.6 percent of obese individuals choose larger plates. Translation: More food, more calories, and more body fat. Keep your portions in check by choosing smaller serving dishes. If need be, you can always go back for seconds.
#28: Putting serving dishes on the table
Resist setting out foods buffet or family style, and choose to serve them from the kitchen. A study found that when food is served from the dinner table, people consume 35 percent more over the course of the meal. When an additional helping requires leaving the table, people hesitate to go back for more.
#29: Choosing white bread
When obese people incorporated whole grains into their diets, they lost more abdominal fat over the course of 12 weeks. There are likely multiple factors at play, but the most notable is this: Whole grain foods pack in more fiber and an overall stronger nutritional package than their refined-grain counterparts.
#30: Taking big bites
People who took large bites of food consumed 52 percent more calories in one sitting than those who took small bites and chewed longer. By cutting food into smaller pieces, you can increase taste and enjoy your food more thoroughly. A good general rule? The smaller your bites, the thinner your waistline.
#31: Having overweight friends
When a friend becomes obese, it ups your chance of obesity by 57 percent. This probably has to do with the social norms that you’re exposed to. Rather than ditch a friend who starts to put on a few extra pounds though, suggest healthy activities that you can do together, and avoid letting him or her dictate the meal (“Let’s split the double chocolate brownie!”)
#32: Drinking fruity beverages
Most restaurants and bars have ditched their fresh-fruit recipes in favor of syrups made mostly from high fructose corn syrup and thickening agents. As a general rule, the more garnishes a drink has hanging from its rim, the worse it is for your waistline.
#33: Eating when emotional
Emotional eaters, those who admitted eating in response to emotional stress, were 13 times more likely to be overweight or obese. If you feel the urge to eat in response to stress, try chewing a piece of gum, chugging a glass of water, or taking a walk around the block. Create an automatic response that doesn’t involve food and you’ll prevent yourself from overloading on calories.
I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !