It never hurts to have a few extra tips when on a weight loss journey. Here are 16 ideas, that when added to a lifestyle that includes exercise and a healthy diet, can help you stay the course.
1. Variety of foods may not help to lose weight: Variety may make you eat more, according to several published articles. Researchers in France found that study participants ate more french fries when they were offered catsup and mayonnaise along with them. When they were given the option of having cream or whipped cream with their brownies, they ate more than when the brownies were offered plain. Other researchers have found that people who have been able to maintain weight loss tend to eat diets with limited variety.
2. Have barley for breakfast: Barley is the new oatmeal. Barley got its hunger-fighting reputation after Swedish researchers found that eating barley or rye kernels for breakfast kept blood sugar on an even keel. That’s because the carbs in barley and rye kernels have a low glycemic index, meaning they raise blood sugars more slowly than some other carbohydrate foods. This helps you avoid a spike, and then a drop, in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling famished. Buy hulled barely, not pearl barley, since this is what was studied.
3. Add protein to your salad: One of the most common mistakes dieters make is to eat a vegetable salad with little or no dressing for lunch, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, professor of nutrition at Boston University and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “Then they are starving by mid-afternoon,” she says. A salad is a great choice if you add some protein and a little fat to help keep you feeling full, longer. Top your greens with a 3 oz piece of chicken breast, and you’ve added about 26 grams of protein but just 140 calories. Add about two tablespoons of light salad dressing, and your salad may be filling enough to get you through the 3 p.m. hunger slump without hitting the vending machine.
4. Stock up on vegetables: Sure, fresh vegetables are delicious and nutritious. But faced with the need to scrape, clean, and cut them up too, we often pass and reach for chips instead. To make things easier, stock your freezer with frozen vegetables: they are already clean, chopped, and ready to cook in the microwave. An even better way to be sure you eat more vegetables is to cook the frozen veggies ahead of time. Microwave the whole bag of green beans, for instance. Then keep them in the refrigerator, ready to dump into canned soups, add to a salad, or just eat by the piece.
5. Make yourself a party tray:. A big vegetable platter, maybe with some low-fat dip on the side- the kind you put on the buffet for weight-conscious guests. But this one is just for you and any interested family members. Keep it in the fridge at eye level, encouraging you to snack healthy and avoid the higher-calorie contents of your refrigerator. Several studies have found that we tend to eat more when food is within easy reach. Administrative assistants who placed candy on their desks ate about 48% more than when the candy was 6 feet away.
6. Turn down the thermostat: Spending time in a chilly house – about 61 degrees Fahrenheit -may boost the fat-burning power of the “brown fat” in your body. Brown fat is considered “good” fat, as opposed to regular or white fat, which stores calories and tends to accumulate. Researchers believe that lean people have more of the brown type of fat, and that the amount of brown fat a person has declines with age. Scandinavian researchers found that exposure to these chilly temperatures boosted the metabolic rate of brown fat 15-fold, helping burn more calories.
7. Go out for treats: If you’re the type who overdoes it on sweets and snacks, make yourself work a little for your favorite indulgences. Don’t keep them in the house, but give yourself permission to go out and get them when you really need a treat. Want a brownie? You have to go to the bakery. Craving a frozen yogurt? You must find the nearest frozen yogurt shop. The more hassle tasty treats are, the less likely you are to eat them and your sweets consumption may decline without feeling deprived.
8. Try on your skinny jeans every Friday: Find a pair of pants that are snug, but not impossible to zip. Every Friday morning, try them on. Why Friday? Weekends are typically a tougher time to stay on diets, and the Friday morning try-on will motivate you to watch your eating during the weekend. If they are loose, you’ll see progress and stay on track during the weekend. If they’re snug? That will provide motivation to stick to your diet so they’ll fit better next week.
9. Supplement with whey protein: If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement, such as protein powder, can help. One study showed that replacing some of your calories with whey protein can cause weight loss of about 8 pounds over time, while increasing muscle mass. Carry around a shaker cup of chocolate protein powder. Then when you’re hungry just add 1 scoop, which has 100 calories, to the water. It’ll help fill you up so won’t eat something high-calorie instead.
10. Blend instead of juicing in an effort to eat cleaner: Juicing leaves important fiber and nutrients behind, while blending includes the whole fruit or vegetable and the important nutrient that live right under the skin. You can create your own satisfying drinks that’ll last you for hours and deliver key nutrients and vitamins.
11. Don’t diet- just eat healthy: One of the biggest problems with diets is that they rarely last or work in the long-term. If anything, people who diet tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain. Instead of going on a diet, aim to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it. Weight loss should then follow naturally.
12. Take probiotic supplements: Probiotics may help you lose weight and belly fat. Studies have found that certain strains of the Lactobacillus family can help you lose weight and belly fat. In one study, eating yogurt with Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus reduced body fat by 3–4% over a 6-week period. These supplements containing bacteria from the Lactobacillus subfamily have been shown to reduce fat mass by changing the flora of your gut. However, the same doesn’t apply to all Lactobacillus species. Some studies have linked L. acidophilus with weight gain.
13. Brush teeth and floss for dessert: I don’t know about you, but the minute I floss and brush, I’m done eating for the night. So doing it right after dinner makes it less likely you’ll continue to eat since you’ll be sending a signal to your body- eating time is over!
14. Take before pictures: Take photos wearing a bathing suit. Anytime you feel you’re about to fall off the wagon look at those pictures and remind yourself why you’re working so hard to achieve your goals. That may be all the motivation you need to stay on track. If appropriate put them on the refrigerator so you’ll have to see them every time you make food choices.
15. Have your groceries delivered: This will prevent impulse buying and extra costs. Stock up on only those foods you want to have around for the week. You can also set up an “auto ship” list to keep healthy snacks constantly on hand. This way, you never run out. Keep low calorie protein bars in your purse or office drawer, for when you crave something between meals.
16. Don’t fixate on the scale: Just because the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t mean you aren’t progressing toward your fitness and weight loss goals. The scale is a poor marker of short-term progress because it doesn’t differentiate between changes in water, fat, or muscle. Fluid regulation in the body constantly changes, so one pound up or two pounds down on any given day doesn’t reflect any real changes in body composition. Sometimes the scale has to catch up to you. Try putting on clothes, see if they fit better. This may be a better marker for subtle changes. Regardless, keep a positive attitude and just keep going. Eventually it will change.
Remember, nothing happens overnight. Think about how much work goes into raising kids, holding down a job, or maintaining relationships with those we care about. The same idea applies to leading a healthy lifestyle. Some days will be easier than others, but in the long run, your efforts will be rewarded. So take it one day at a time.