Keep portions in check
It’s a simple fact: Eat less and you’ll lose weight. There’s good evidence that over the past 50 years, restaurant portions have “super-sized,” and our waistlines have grown along with them. We’ve become accustomed to eating larger servings to the detriment of our health.
To combat this habit, use a smaller plate for your meals. Less space on the plate means automatic portion control. And when ordering or buying food, choose the smallest size of any high-calorie items.
Eat spicy food
Hot peppers raise your metabolism, but the real benefit of food with a little zing is that spicy food slows your eating. When you eat too fast, as many North Americans do, by the time your body signals it’s full, you’ve overeaten.
Eating more slowly is a good weight-loss strategy, and making food spicier is an easy way to do it.
Keep snacks out of reach
Stash snacks on the top shelf of cabinets, and keep second helpings off the table.
“When you have to inconvenience yourself, it gives you pause to ask, ‘Do I really want this?” says Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
In a Cornell University study, researchers found that when office assistants had a jar of small chocolates on their desks, they ate nine per day; when the jar was moved out of reach, they ate four.
Fill up on hot foods
Hungry days require some appetite taming, as do special occasions. For example, going on an empty stomach to a restaurant with fabulous bread is guaranteed to lead to overeating.
When a ferocious hunger hits, hot foods and beverages are more satisfying than cold options. Soup carries that satisfaction even further, so keep an assortment of lower salt broth-based soups on hand. Load them up with vegetables for more filling goodness and an added health perk.
Substitute cauliflower for starch
A study from the University of British Columbia showed significant weight loss and lower cholesterol levels among participants who followed an eating plan based on a modern version of a traditional First Nations diet. The plan replaced starchy foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes with non-starchy vegetables, including cauliflower.
For a tasty low-carbohydrate alternative, steam coarsely shredded cauliflower; its mild flavour can be seasoned with a little garlic or curry powder.
Eat at home more often
The average Canadian family now spends almost 30 percent of total food dollars at restaurants and fast-food joints, according to Statistics Canada. To save money and pounds, start tracking how often you eat out and how much you spend on those meals each month, then gradually cut back.
“People who eat out a lot tend to eat less-healthy food and to be heavier,” says Melodie Yong, dietitian for the Heart and Lung Institute of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
In fact, the decline of cooking at home, linked in part to the increasing number of women in the workforce, tracks very closely with the rise in obesity over the past 30 years, she notes.
Vary your routine
No matter how good the fitness plan, sticking with the exact same routine day after day is hard-and discouraging.
In his first book, 5-Factor Fitness, fitness expert and trainer to the stars, Harley Pastnernak recommends a different workout for every day of the week, each focusing on a different body part.
Whether you vary the number of reps you do or make a switch from cardio to resistance training, it’s important to vary your routine enough so you don’t get bored. “At least one thing should be different daily,” Pasternak suggests.
Give your kitchen a makeover
Take a look in your fridge-what do you see? Two jars of mayonnaise, some leftover cheddar and a lot of sugar-laden condiments in jars? Now open the cupboards: What’s the cookie and cracker situation? Do an honest evaluation of what you tend to keep on hand.
Throw out anything that’s going to be a temptation and sidetrack you from your weigh-loss goals. Be ruthless. Give the unopened food items and cans to your local food bank.
Don’t skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast is a sure-fire prescription for overindulgence later in the day. Breakfast choices also help to tame cravings and maintain energy levels throughout the day. Late night munchers are often breakfast skippers or those whose morning meal falls short on balance.