You’d have to be living underground not to read or hear about all the diet options people are pushing this time of year. But remember, as a rule, drastic diets don’t work for the long term. Americans spend more than $30 billion annually on various fad weight loss remedies and experts agree this is not only a waste of money, but also a potential threat to our health.
I know that hunger pangs are stronger in winter and our bodies need a little extra insulation. And I am right there with you in this quest to keep the weight in check and system healthy. So I started thinking about the little things I do which keep me from mindless eating while continuing to nourish my soul.
In addition to my mantra of “eat more veggies,” there are a number of small ways to fight the urges to overdo a good thing. There isn’t much more than time involved – squeezing better habits into your life is easy. And the ‘bottom’ line is: you’ll feel better!
- Start your day with warm lemon water. Lemon stimulates digestion and is a powerful source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system. Add a touch of honey if necessary.
- Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who skip this important meal increase their chance of weight gain or diabetes by 35-50 percent. Oatmeal is warm and filling and reduces cholesterol. Also, look for the “Cranberry Muesli” recipe in my next post.
- Pucker power. Grapefruit is in season, is high in fiber, and good for your heart. It has also been shown to reduce hunger when eaten before a meal. I’ve read that about apples, too.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water or tea throughout the day keeps your system flowing and your skin healthy, too. Be wary of coffee drinks, as some of them can be laden with extra fats and sugar.
- Get on the chew, chew train. Eating slower and chewing at least 30 times (not a typo;-) allows for the body to digest food easier and realize that it might be satiated before you’ve overdone it. It takes 20 minutes to feel full.
- Brush your teeth. It doesn’t just fight cavities, it serves as a physical and psychological cue to stop eating. When you’re on the go, a few sugar-free breath mints work, too.
- Keep a food diary. You’d be amazed at how effective it can be to identify how much is really consumed by tracking your daily intake. Be truthful:)
- Get moving. Even if it means parking the car a little farther at the market, or running up and down the stairs one more time. We all know weight management is ‘use it to lose it.’
- Eat less. Start with a smaller plate and serve ample portions of veggies which are light on calories but heavy on fiber.
- Sleep well and lose more. Insufficient shut-eye increases production of the stress hormone cortisol which regulates appetite. Loss of sleep also causes the body to burn less of the carbs, turning them into fat.
See, pretty simple stuff, right? There’s no guilt here and your body isn’t starving for the loss of nutrients. Celebrate the accomplishments one by one and reap the reward of energy.