There are so many diets, different weight loss fads, new tricks, pills and much more, for losing weight. All promise to be revolutionary and all will create a new you. Who are we to judge, some work and some don’t. Years ago trans fat, a dangerous, man-made lipid found in margarine, was thought to be healthier than regular fats. By the mid-90s, public health journals revealed the opposite to be true. If the scientists sometimes get it wrong, it is safe to say that understanding the nuances of nutrition can be tricky and hard to follow.
Sometimes the best way to lose weight is to ignore trends and fly-by-night advice, and instead focus on healthy eating strategies. Develop healthy habits, stick to them, and no matter what nutrition blunders you might make, you’ll still keep yourself on the road to a slim and sexy physique. Here are 20 fat-fighting habits, commit them to your daily routine and you’re guaranteed to drop excess pounds.
Skinny Habit 1: Eat an early dinner. Recent studies on obesity have found that adults that regularly eat after 8pm ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. The key here is to stop eating 3 hours before you hit the sack, then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.
Skinny Habit 2: Weigh yourself daily. Stepping on the scale can be disheartening, particularly after a weekend of binging, but it’s best to face your fears. Monitoring your weight keeps your mind on your health and prevents weight denial.
Skinny Habit 3: Eat a boring diet. The novelty of new foods drives us to consume more, so by removing the novelty, we full fuller, faster. This is not to suggest you choose one meal and eat it everyday, 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. Plan ahead and plan healthy.
Skinny Habit 4: Reward yourself. Once you’ve established a healthy routine, you need to establish a reward system, think of a land of milk and honey after journey of tedium. You can’t stay on a repetitive diet without some form of a reward. 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 twice a week. Pick a food you love and treat yourself to a portion of about 200 calories. But remember, you only get the reward if you deserve it.
Skinny Habit 5: Read diet and exercise tips. People exposed to nutrition and exercise advice are more likely to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices.
Skinny Habit 6: Eat breakfast. Skipping breakfast regularly makes you 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.
Skinny Habit 7: Take snack breaks. Snacking sometimes gets bad press, but planning nutritious snacks throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings and body fat storage. The ideal snack choice? Nuts.
Skinny Habit 8: Drink water. 60% of your body is water, which makes it vital to every important metabolic process. A study had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30% more body fat over 12 weeks. Making beverage blunders is one of the easiest ways to gain belly fat. Replace half of what you drink with water and see the benefits for yourself.
Skinny Habit 9: Order a la carte. Diners consume more calories when they order combo meals because they end up with more food than they want or need. Our 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.
Skinny Habit 10: Choose whole grains. Choosing nutrient-rich whole grains over processed, white flour-based products can play a major role in keeping you lean. The healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. But do not be fooled by ‘made with whole-grain’ labels. True whole grain products will list whole grains first on their ingredients list.
Skinny Habit 11: Eat spicy food. Eating a spicy appetizer before a meal can make you eat significantly less that someone eating a non-spicy appetizer. The explanation: A chemical compound called capsaicin, found in chilli peppers, acts as an appetite suppressant. That and really spicy food can just be plain tough to eat.
Skinny Habit 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 a healthy body weight. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods.
Skinny Habit 13: Manage stress. Dealing with work/relationship-related stress can lead to weight gain. When you stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat storage. Try incorporating stress-reducing activities into your day, join a yoga class or go for a jog.
Skinny Habit 14: Take the stairs. Most of us 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. Make the most of your work day by also walking to lunch or skipping email in favour of short walks to deliver messages to coworkers. (As a bonus, you’ll make your face more recognizable around the office.)
Skinny Habit 15: Chew thoroughly. Chewing more and eating slowly causes you to ingest fewer calories. 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.
Skinny Habit 16: Walk after meals. Light, post-meal exercise, like walking, can lower your blood sugar and prevent your body from storing fat. Don’t have time for a walk? 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.
Skinny Habit 17: Keep healthy food on hand. Do not 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, keep per-washed, pre-cut vegetables in your fridge…whatever you have to do to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice, do it!
Skinny Habit 18: Learn to take a joke. Happy leads to healthy…it’s just a fact. Ok fine here are some stats, laughing for 15 minutes each day can help you burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on your body size… and how funny the joke is.
Skinny Habit 19: Eat protein. This 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 weigh-loss benefits, aim to include protein in all your meals and snacks, eg fish, eggs, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Skinny Habit 20: Avoid dinner distractions. With IPads, smartphones and laptops aplenty, we’ve become accustomed to round-the-clock entertainment. But your mealtime may be the one time of day we should fight our addiction to amusement. 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 and unhealthy snacking later.
Live long and prosper.