Everyone has some advice about ways to lose weight – your best friend, your coworkers, your mother-in-law, your personal trainer, your yoga instructor. With an overwhelming barrage of information on diet and exercise available at our fingertips from the Internet, this generation should know more about how to lose weight than any other. But are we really any more knowledgeable?
The Lancet reports that worldwide obesity has tripled in males and more than doubled in women. There are actually more overweight people today than there are underweight people! Considering the amount of information we have about nutrition and health, why is the global population still getting heavier? One probable reason is that with the deluge of information available, it’s difficult to discern myths from facts.
Ways To Lose Weight
Instead of following diet fads, it’s best to turn to sound, science-based ways to lose weight:
Bite less, lose more
In a study done by Brigham Young University and published in Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control, participants were told to count the number of bites they made while eating and were asked to reduce the number by 20-30 percent. After the 4-week experiment, those who counted their bites lost 4 pounds. This was without even making any changes to their diet or lifestyle.
Back to beans
The year 2016 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Pulses (A/RES/68/231) and specifically mentioned their consumption as a way “to address obesity.” Pulses (dried legumes), which include lentils, beans, peas, soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas, are rich in protein and fiber. They can also help prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Research published in Advances in Nutrition has established that eating more legumes can effectively help you lose weight and maintain the right body weight. Your mom was right when she told you to eat all your peas!
Don’t be fooled by labels
In the Journal of Marketing Research, a study showed that people eat more of a product that has the word “fitness” on its label. In another study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, people were found to eat more of a product when it was labeled as “healthy.” Don’t pay attention to advertising claims made on food labels (“healthy”, “all-natural”, “energy”), they really don’t mean much.
Fill up on water
It’s a good idea to drink water before a meal, as shown in a study in the Obesity journal. In the study, overweight participants who drank 2 cups of water 30 minutes before a meal actually lost 3 pounds in a 3-month period. Water expands the stomach and tricks the body into thinking it is more full than it really is.
According to studies published in Appetite and in Environment and Behavior, by ordering ahead and online, you are more likely to make healthy choices. You won’t be swayed by the aroma wafting from the kitchen, the display or desserts, or the suggestions of the waiter. If you order food online, you are more likely to order food with fewer calories.
Breakfast is still the most important meal
Eating breakfast like a king is still a good idea. Studies published in PLOSone and Obesity prove this age-old adage. Eating a substantial breakfast will help prevent feeling hungry throughout the day. It can help you lose weight, because calories consumed in the morning will more likely be burned. Food consumed later in the day is often stored as fat.
Make these changes for successful weight loss:
- Replace one meat dish with a bean dish at least once a week and include more legume-based dishes in your diet.
- Aside from exercising and making healthy food choices, make it a habit to drink water or tea (no sugary drinks) before a meal.
- Try keeping a tally of the number of bites you make and consciously reduce them.
- Eat only when you’re hungry and avoid mindless snacking in between meals.
- Prepare your own meals or, if you must eat out, decide what to order in advance.
- Eat more in the morning (include protein!), and eat less for dinner.
- Always check the ingredients on food labels, and eat sensible portions suitable to your needs.
If you’d like some personal help with a plan to lose weight, contact Basics and Beyond to schedule a time to talk about what kind of help would work best for you. We work with people in person and online!