don’t forget to sleep
Sleep is perhaps the best cure for almost everything in life and now we know that it can also have a positive effect on weight management. It has been shown that sleep deprivation can cause to your brain a difficulty in evaluating how hungry you are, while at the same time increasing your desire for high calorie foods and snacks. All this can be very problematic, unless you are a competitive eater and could use some appetite boosting. For the rest of us, trying not to skip sleep is a great idea.
Try not to lose sleep. Having a regular sleep schedule can be beneficial. There are many methods which can help you improve the quality of your sleep.
Let us give you some ideas to tinker with:
Turn off your computer or television, an hour before sleeping. If it’s impossible due to work or something else, you can download a program for your PC/Mac/Linux called f.lux. It reduces the blue light produced from the screens that seems to make us have problems falling asleep. If you must use your phone, then Android users can download an app called Twilight and I-phone users can also use f.lux.
Keep your room cool, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit and also keep it quiet
Make sure to breathe deeply as it can help you relax and stop your thoughts from racing all the time
Eat the majority of your calories and carbohydrates before bed time. This seems to help some people with falling asleep more easily.
eat some of these to “feel fuller”
Some foods seem to have a more satiating effect on us than others. Instead of trying food randomly in order to find what makes you feel fuller, we give you five of the top foods on satiety:
PORRIDGE WITH MILK
ORANGES AND APPLES
What does that mean? Simply enough, if you want to have some meals in the day that can help you feel full easier and avoid over consumption, the five above mentioned foods seem to do the trick.
In the mornings, some porridge with milk and an apple can help with the hunger some people feel when they wake up. Even at parties and buffets you can find some baked potatoes. Combining these with some protein rich foods, you are guaranteed to eat less and you won’t even have to be the guy with the Tupperware.
CAN’T STAND LOW FAT?
HOW ABOUT SPICES AND HERBS?
While some of the best tasting foods out there have a good quantity of fat, if you are trying to lower your calories, it can be hard to satisfy your taste buds with lower fat foods or the low-fat equivalent of the foods you like.
For that reason, the use of spices and herbs can significantly help you by not only enriching your foods with unique tastes, but can also help you avoid feeling deprived with lower-fat dishes.
Some spices and herbs that you can use are:
The choices are endless, and they can only be limited by your own imagination. You can search for many recipes on the Internet, try them, and stick with the ones that you like. Finally, some stores sell low-calorie sauces and seasonings that can also be put in your food to make it tastier.
GET A SMALLER BOWL AND A SMALLER SPOON
One of the first tips that conventional wisdom seems to suggest when we want to eat less, is to use smaller bowls or plates while we eat. Bigger bowls or plates seem to make people overeat. Even nutritionists fall victims of overconsumption when they are given a big bowl and a big spoon, by consuming at least 58% more ice cream than the ones given a smaller bowl and a smaller spoon. So although it sounds weird, try it! It works.
Simply enough, substitute some of your bowls and spoons with smaller ones. When eating at a party or a buffet pick small plates, if they are available. You can even fill the outer space of a plate with veggies to create the illusion that you have less room than you actually have.
CHOOSE A TALL AND SLENDER GLASS FOR DRINKS
Some great news for all alcohol, juice or in general beverage fans out there. Students and even professional bartenders seemed to pour more alcohol into short, wide glasses than into tall, slender glasses. How much more? Up to 30% more alcohol which can easily translate into more calories consumed.
When you go out, you can ask for your beverages to be served into a tall and slender glass than the default glass used by the bartender. In a party you can also use the same type of glass and have other people pour your beverage of choice. In both cases, they will tend to poor less than if they have used a short, wide glass.
tip #6 ENTER THE PISTACHIO – PRINCIPLE
It seems that packaging can also be important when considering food choices. Take pistachios for example. Although in-shell pistachios and shelled pistachios seem like the same thing, there is actually a decrease of calories consumption when choosing the in-shell variation. This phenomenon, also known as “pistachio-principle”, adds a valuable tool in our arsenal. Why do we eat less from the in-shell variation? Perhaps a combination of slow eating and other things help us give the signal to our brains that enough is enough, we are not going to eat anymore.
First and foremost, if you are consuming nuts, try to substitute some of them with in-shell pistachios or even the in-shell variation of the ones you are already consuming.
You can also try to extend the pistachio-principle with other foods. One chocolate weighing 100 grams and four small chocolates weighing 25 grams might be the same, but just the process of opening each one of the small ones, will probably stop you from consuming all four of them.
tip #7 BOREDOM MASQUERADING AS HUNGER?
Ever had the feeling that sometimes you eat simply because you are bored? People that have interesting tasks at hand seem less likely to overeat than people burdened with a boring task. Boring tasks can be everything that has you second guessing the value of what you are doing. Watching TV for hours and hours without having anything in particular to watch or randomly scrolling up and down on Facebook while refreshing the page, also counts for something boring. Finally, female college students, seem to rank boredom as the number one trigger for binge eating episodes, when asked about their episodes. Other reasons seem to include anxiety and depression, although boredom ranks a little bit higher.
Avoid boring situations. If you are invited somewhere where you feel it’s going to be boring, either try to skip it or try to stay less than intended. In your house, remove foods from areas where boredom frequently occurs and also find a way to be busy in the hours where your cravings occur. Find a hobby that you like and spent the “high-risk” hours of the day while investing time in yourself and your hobby.
tip #8 CUT CALORIE DENSE FOODS INTO PIECES OR PORTIONS
Sometimes it seems that your best ally into your no-calorie counting journey, can be a simple knife. When students were served a bagel, either as a whole or cut into four pieces, the whole bagel group would later consume more calories than the four pieces group. This suggests that food cut into multiple pieces may provide more stimuli for satiety than a single, uncut portion of food.
Τhe next time you are gonna have a calorie dense food, make sure that you are going to split it into pieces. Finally, if you are not very hungry, then an even better idea is to share the pieces with someone else nearby.
Imagination is a tool for everything in life and it can also help us with eating less. The simple act of thinking multiple times about consuming a certain kind of food has shown to be enough to reduce subsequent consumption of said food. How many times must we think of eating our food of choice before we consume it? Research has shown that 30 times is a nice number for this kind of thing. A process called habituation is triggered which is a decrease in one’s responsiveness to the food and motivation to obtain it.
You must be sure of what food you are going to consume. If you are not sure, then this tip will most likely fail. When you are sure of the food, imagine eating it, many times over. Three times are not enough as it seems and thirty are a nice number to shoot for, but you might be OK with less.
tip #10 EAT PROTEIN AT EVERY MEAL
Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus may be the a very useful weapon your weight control arsenal. Every year more and more scientific evidence suggest that a diet rich in high-quality proteins is a beneficial dietary strategy to prevent and/or treat obesity. Diets high in protein seem to be great for weight and appetite control, fat loss, lower body weight regain after weight loss, and health in general.
During the last decades protein diets have been very popular for the simple reason that they work. Keeping carbs to an extremely low level or even cutting them completely out of your diet though is not something realistic and that is why extreme diets usually do not work in the long run.
What you can do though to take advantage of protein is to always include protein in your main meals (if not all meals). This will increase the satiety of the meal and keep you full for longer periods. Eggs and cottage cheese and kidney beans are some cheaper alternatives for people who cannot afford bit quantities of meat.
Having an increased protein intake while losing weight helps preserve muscle mass which is important for fat burning among people your follow some a strength exercise related program.
If not every time you eat, find a way to include foods rich in protein with all your main meals. Eating fruits for example with a handful of almonds will keep you satiated for a lot more time than if you had eaten them plain.
tip #11 Attentive eating & Mindfulness
meditation for weight loss
Can something as simple as having awareness while or observing your breath and thoughts help you eat less? This might sound to a lot of you as new age bullshit but keep your mind open and bare with us for a bit. Evidence indicates that attentive eating is likely to influence food intake and combining a weight loss strategy with attentive eating can aide weight loss and maintenance without the need of conscious calorie counting.
Developing this state of awareness while eating is not that easy. As a matter of fact due to all the stress and pressure life puts on all of us nowadays there is very little brain power left to stay focused. If not the best, one of the best methods to develop awareness is mindfulness meditation. Don’t worry we are not asking you to climb on top of mountain and mumble ”Ohmmmm” or become a Buddhist monk.
Mindfulness meditation has been backed up by a lot of science today and can be practiced at home or any silent place you prefer. Modern psychology has started to embrace mindfulness meditation as a legitimate way to deal with mental stress and it seems to also have practical implications in nutrition. As a matter of fact a systematic review of 14 scientific studies shows that mindfulness meditation in combination with supplemental weight management strategies or guidance, can decrease binging and emotional eating.
A common behavior we all have engaged in, either that is in a greater or smaller level is to eat calorie dense foods also known as ”comfort foods” when we are emotionally charged. Research also shows that one of the hallmarks of binge eating is rapid eating speed (more on this in tip #13). So next time you catch yourself in an overwhelming binge-eating episode try to slow down the moment you become aware of this. You probably won’t feel able to stop eating right away but don’t worry about that. Focus only on gradually decreasing your eating speed and increasing your awareness on what is happening. Deep breathing inside your belly can also help you slow things down a bit more. Breath slowly and deep inside your belly and just observe yourself. After doing this for a couple of minutes the overwhelming feelings you had in the beginning won’t seem as big or powerful as it initially did and slowly this will help you regain a sense of control.
Now ask yourself:
”Am I really hungry or am I bored?” ”
”Am I really hungry or am I just looking for a way relieve myself from negative emotions?”
”Will eating this pack of chips make me feel better or will I just feel worse afterwards”?
Meditating on a daily basis can help you become more aware of your daily actions, helping you in this way be more in control of your nutritional behavior.
Keep in mind that mindfulness meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. Mindfulness meditation is simply a process of resting the mind in its natural state. This can help you become aware of thoughts, emotions and sensations as they occur and understand their nature and origin.
When you are eating especially if you are emotionally charge try to slow down a bit and be as aware as possible of your behavior by simply observing yourself. A useful tool to improve awareness is mindfulness meditation which can be easily practiced in a quiet room 10-15 minutes per day.
Of course mindfulness meditation is something that takes practice and cannot be summarized in a paragraph or even a whole chapter of this book. So get yourself a good book or find someone who can teach you and start practicing! A highly recommended book by us is ”The joy of living – Unlocking the secret and science of happiness” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.
tip #12 hungry? play some tetris!
Next time you want to fight off a food craving grab your Smartphone or dig out your old game-boy and play Tetris for 3 minutes. This is enough to reduce food (also caffeine & nicotine) cravings by 24 percent, according to a study from Plymouth University in the U.K.
The researchers of this study tested the Elaborated Intrusion Theory, which basically says that cravings rely heavily on visual imagery such as the sweetness of chocolate as it melts inside your mouth or how salty and palatable French fries would be at the given moment. When we want something really bad, the whole state of desire we are in becomes very visual which can be very torturing. Applying a visuospatial working load on our brain and memory naturally reduces these cravings and makes it easier to resist food temptations..
The bright colors and moving shapes you manipulate while playing Tetris is an ideal way to focus your mind elsewhere and reduce the hunger and desire of whatever it is that you are craving.
Next time you have a craving to eat something unnecessary if you don’t have the energy or motivation to try any of our other tips, play some Tetris for a couple of minutes and see what happens.
tip #13 ATTENTION FAST eATERS!
Eating slowly can help you digest better and leads to higher levels of satiety between meals which can help you lose weight by eating less on a daily basis.
Improved digestion: By eating slowly you will also help your body properly digest you food by:
producing more saliva which contains enzymes that break down food
chewing your food more effectively so that in can be turned faster into chime (food in its digested form before entering the small intestine). Swallowing big pieces of food can lead to indigestion and other potential gastrointestinal problems.
will also give your stomach time to secrete more acid for breaking down the food
Eating slower gives your brain proper time to send signals of satiety so that you can recognize that you are full without overeating. Being full and being satisfied is different, so try to eat in a balanced slow and satisfying way by savoring the meal, paying attention to tastes and textures instead of eating fast, stressed and until you are bloated!
A team of researchers in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University examined how eating speed affects calories consumed during a meal. The subjects which were also divided in a normal-weight group and an overweight group, ate two meals. On the first meal they ate at a slow speed for which they were instructed to imagine that they had no time constraints, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and pause and put the spoon down between bites. On the second meal they ate at a fast speed for which they were instructed to imagine that they had a time constraint, take large bites, chew quickly, and not pause and put the spoon down.
At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that the normal-weight subjects had an average reduction in caloric consumption during the slow compared to the fast meal: 88 kcal less for the normal weight group, versus only 58 kcal less for the overweight or obese group. This might not seem as a tremendous change for most people but multiply it that by let’s say and average of three meals per day and you see that those calories can add up!
The second and most important find of this study is that both groups felt less hungry later on after the slow meal than after the fast meal. This greater hunger suppression from slow eating also seems to be affected by a higher water intake in the slow meal more water (30% on average) was consumed from the participants so having some water around the table when you are eating is also a good idea.
Slow eating can aid digestion and give you a more long-lasting satisfaction from every meal which can decrease your daily caloric intake
tip #14 CRAVING CHOCOLATE? GO FOR A WALK FIRST!
Attention chocoholics, next time your next time your 3pm chocolate craving strikes you at work go for a brisk walk before you attack that extra large chocolate bar. According to research done by the university of Exeter employees may find that short breaks outside of their work environment can help them keep their mind away from snacking even in stressful situations. Specifically the study showed that workers eat only half as much chocolate as they normally do when they go for a fifteen minute brisk walk.
Many of us snack on high calorie foods around mid-noon when our energy tends to drop to get an energy boost or when we need to deal with the stress or boredom of our work. According to this study when our sweet tooth is craving chocolate at work a fifteen minute brisk walk can calm our craving down to 50%. Besides that a brisk walk, especially when done outdoors can improve help you restore your energy, improve your mood and clear your head. If you are a sedentary person this will also benefit you physically. Accumulating thirty minutes of daily physical activity such as going for a fifteen minute brisk walk twice a day is a good idea for fat loss and overall health.
Next time your energy levels are low and/or you are seeking your sweet fix around noon time go first for a walk (ideally in an natural outdoor environment).
tip #15 HAVE THIS SUPERFOOD FOR breakfast and weight loss
For some people losing weight can be as simple as changing your breakfast . Either completely skipping it if you’re not the morning type or switching from the typical sugar dense bagel, donut or cereal breakfast, to a simple omelet. Studies have shown that eating eggs in the morning compared to bagels can be enough to help you lose fat. Compared to an bagel breakfast with the same amount of calories , an egg-breakfast seems to induce greater satiety reducing food consumption during the rest of the day!
In one study, 152 overweight men and women were divided in groups where one group ate a bagel based breakfast and the other ate an egg based breakfast. Both meals had the same calories and both groups were on a caloric deficit (weight loss diet). After 8 weeks, the egg group had lost 65% more weight and 16% more body fat than the bagel group!
Aren’t eggs bad for your health?
Eggs compared to their size and caloric content are extremely nutrient-rich (they are practically a superfood!). Here are some of the healthy stuff found in an egg: iron, vitamins A,D,E,B12, folate, protein (of the highest quality available compared to other food sources), selenium, lutein, zeaxanthin,choline.
Unfortunately eggs got a bad reputation in the seventies due to bad science. Even though nowadays a big a amount of research has shown that they are not a food you should be afraid of if you are a healthy individual, people seem to still be afraid of them even. It is worth mentioning that in countries like Canada and Australia eggs carry the approval marking for their respective heart associations as a food product that provides several important nutrients that contribute to health promotion and disease prevention. So, feel free to enjoy eggs in your weekly diet, but as with every food remember that moderation is key. Even water could do you harm you in huge quantities.
Eggs besides being healthy can be also so fulfilling that they can help you eat less during the day. This will help you reduce you daily caloric intake and help you lose weight. So instead of having a typical sugar dense bagel, donut or cereal breakfast try something like eggs and bacon or an egg omelet with cheese or veggies.
tip #16 avoid shopping when you’re hungry
Many of you might have heard this tip before since it is an age-old advice, but science also seems to back it up as shown in a recent study! According to the study 68 men and women were brought in a lab on separate days after having told not to eat for five hours. After they were allowed to shop for food in a simulated grocery store where low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean chicken but also high calorie ”junk foods” such as candy and salty snacks were available. Before shopping half of the subjects were given a snack and even though they both purchased a similar number of food products, those who shopped on an empty stomach picked more of the higher calorie foods.
In the second phase of the study the researchers followed 82 shoppers in a grocery store. Once again, they found that people shopping at times when they were most likely to be hungry, seeked the foods that were higher in calories.
”Simply said, hunger leads to more fattening food choices”
When you are too hungry and you have to go grocery shopping, assuming that you have the discipline required, make a grocery list with the bare essentials and stick to it. Otherwise planning your groceries after one of your daily meals is a more solid advice. On days that you are not prepared and you have to shop on an empty stomach, go first to the supermarket’s fruit aisle and get yourself something like a big green apple (and pay for it) to calm your hunger down a bit. After that try to focus on what your really need and stay away from aisles with bad food choices.
tip #17 build strong nutritional habits
Losing weight can be a challenge but the real challenge is not regaining it. In order for this to happen and not to fall in the classic yo-yo dieting cycle you need to make sustainable changes. Using the advice given in this book will only be good if you apply it on a daily basis and create habits out of it. This means that you have to find which advice is practical for you individually, so that you can apply it in a long-term basis. If you feel that a few of the advices/tips in this e-book are not practical for your lifestyle, you can disregard them but try at least to be very disciplined with the rest.
The time required to apply a new habit varies but on it average takes somewhere between eighteen to sixty-six days. For example a study showed that adding a glass of water in the morning usually takes twenty days to get used two while adding some fruit in your lunch might take twice that time. Focus on applying a new habit for three weeks and you will see that after that the more you insist on this habit the less effort it requires. After a certain point it will become automatic. If you mess up one day out of those first three weeks do not worry, it happens to everyone. The researchers in the study mentioned above found that missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not affect so much the habit formation in the long run.
Three tools that will help you a lot to build strong habits are awareness, alternatives and reminders. Let’s see what do these three tools actually mean:
a) Awareness. It is important to be aware and study your bad habits.
You should create awareness when they occur and to try and uncover possible unconscious triggers that might cause these behaviors. For example overeating junk food or snacking without even being hungry might be a behavior connected to watching your favorite TV-series which brings us to the following tool.
b) Alternatives. The best way though to remove a bad eating habit for most people is replacing it.
Make a list of your worst eating habits and have an alternative solution for every one of them, either its one of our tips or something else you find more appropriate. Being prepared by having an alternative solution which you can instantly apply before you fall back into your old bad habits is a vital part of avoiding culprits.
For example a good way to deal with the previous problematic behavior we discussed (binge eating while watching your favorite TV show) could be the following:” Schedule one of your day’s main meal before the TV show. Once you are done also brush your teeth. Feeling satiated after the meal and brushing your teeth (more on this in tip #1 of the empirical tips) to inform your brain that you are not planning to eat any more for the following couple of hours will help you undoubtedly avoid the snacking urge you might get during this activity.”
c) Reminders. Constant reminders are very important for difficult days when you will feel mentally weak or your mind is to fogged from all the tiring responsibilities life throws at you. They are extremely important especially in the beginning of forming new habits when you are still developing the required discipline to form them.
For example, having a list of all the tips in this book on your fridge can be a very powerful reminder. They key to successful reminders is to place them somewhere where you will always stumble upon on them while you are about to engage into the unwanted behavior you are trying to get rid of.
tip #18 think you want some desert?
try brushing your teeth!
It happens many times. We have just eaten a big meal and while we feel that we are satiated, our magic stomach, still has some space for something sweet. In that case, the best thing we can do is brush our teeth. That way we send signals to our brain saying “Hey! The meal is over, no more eating”.
Your dentist might be against brushing your teeth immediately after a meal, since the general recommendation is to wait for at least 30 minutes. Doing this once in a while though, especially at nights when cravings are high, will not be such a problem.
Make sure to brush your teeth for at least 2-4 minutes after a meal, when you feel a craving coming. A good quality toothpaste might also help a little bit more with reducing the cravings.
Bingeing too often? Take a look at your diet!
The majority of us seem to crave a food that is lacking in our diet. Years and years of trying to find a single cause for obesity have lead people to wrong assumptions like thinking that everyone on planet earth has at least a bunch of foods that we think are bad and try to minimize in our diet. Although some foods are inherently worse than others (say refined vegetable oils versus green veggies) and we are smart enough to know and keep a balanced diet of nutrient rich foods, when cravings hit then all the rational choices we would make are thrown off the window and we simply eat whatever we want, without thinking a second time about health benefits or problems.
A detailed look on your binge eating episodes though, can tell you a lot about your diet and with what to fill it. Followers of a low-carbohydrate diet seem to binge on high-carbohydrate foods and in the 80’s when low-fat was the rage, people binged on fatty foods. So recognizing that your diet is low-something can take you a long way.
Give your binging episodes a hard look and then take a look at your everyday diet. Do you unintentionally eat less of a certain food group and then overeat from the same food group? If yes, this should be a signal for you to try and add a little bit more of that food group in your diet. Think about it, would you rather binge on 2 pounds of chocolate once in a while and feel awful because in your mind you did something bad, or would you prefer eating a Hershey’s Kiss once every 2-3 days, to keep your mind in peace and actually enjoy yourself?