Regimented diet plans can be difficult to stick to over the long run. And exercise, imperative to a healthy lifestyle, may not be an option every day. Losing weight is still possible with these simple ideas that require neither a diet or exercise.
Improve your cooking skills
Understanding how to prepare meals and develop better skills in the kitchen can be a powerful way to lose weight without reducing what you eat. People who have more knowledge about how to cook are more likely to eat a wide variety of highly nutritious ingredients, including fruit and vegetables, which are great for weight loss. In fact, researchers are increasingly linking weight gain and obesity to poor cooking skills.
If you’re like me and have no idea what to do in a kitchen, try taking a cooking class or learning from cooking videos online. A great place to start is Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube- which focuses on how to make simple, healthful meals.
Eat more protein
An essential part of a healthful diet, protein is necessary for growth and efficient metabolism. It can also increase feelings of fullness and delay hunger. A study found eating high-protein yogurt as an afternoon snack reduced hunger and calorie intake at later meals.
Simple ways to increase the amount of protein in the diet include adding a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp seeds to the meal.
Eat more fiber
Fiber is in fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. It is different than other foods because the body does not digest it in the small intestine. Instead, the food moves to the large intestine, where fermentation occurs. This benefits people by increasing fullness, slowing down digestion, increasing food transit time and nutrient absorption, and preventing constipation.
It’s easy to add more fiber into a balanced diet by eating fruit every day, including whole grains in the diet such as steel-cut oats and brown rice, and eating plenty of vegetables. The fiber in the skin of many vegetables is also beneficial. As long as people thoroughly wash the skin, it is safe and easy to eat when cooked.
As I have previously discussed, probiotics these are beneficial bacteria that are integral to digestion. Research links gut and brain function and suggests that probiotics can influence weight, fat mass, and mood. Humans act as the host of these bacteria and provide them with food, including fiber. In turn, the bacteria benefit the intestine and a person’s general health.
The benefits that they provide include energy for the gut wall and liver cells, specific fatty acids that have anti-cancer properties, and regulating body weight. A diet that is high in sugar and fat can alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, reducing the number of good bacteria.
Turn out the lights and get more sleep
A good night’s rest is essential for general health and weight maintenance. Poor sleep disrupts important hormones, including those involved in metabolism.
Simply sleeping 7-9 hours a night, the same time each night, and turning off all light to the bedroom can decrease a person’s risk of being overweight or obese.
Increased stress disrupts hormonal balance, causing the production of hormones called glucocorticoids. Too many glucocorticoids can increase a person’s appetite, leading to weight gain.
Stress can also trigger emotional eating– when a person eats unhealthful foods to try to control or improve a negative mood. Try reducing stress by getting regular exercise, reducing caffeine intake, practicing meditation or mindfulness, saying no to non-essential commitments, spending time outdoors.
Serve in small portions
One study divided single meals into smaller portions to test whether people expected to feel fuller after eating the exact same amount of food in separate units. They found that by dividing foods into three or six separate portions, the participants felt fuller, quicker.
The same results occurred when they ate at a buffet and took multiple small plates to split the food across, or when snacking, cut up the snacks and placed them on different, smaller plates. At home, try doing this by dividing mealtimes up into several small courses, instead of putting everything on one plate. This also allows one course to digest before the next is started, again aiding in satiety.
Serve on smaller plates
When people serve food they tend to finish everything that’s put on their plate. You can lower your calories with minimal effort by reducing the size of your plate and how much food you put on it. And try a red one. The color alone helps signal the brain to stop when full.
You can also use a special portion control plate. Two studies found that university students consistently put less food on a plate that had visual size indicators for essential food groups, allowing people to adjust their portions without the guesswork. You can shop portion control plates here.
Cut out sugary drinks
There are many healthful alternatives to soft drinks. Plain water with fresh mint, ginger, berries, or cucumber is refreshing, helps to fill you up and contains very few calories. You can also add lime or lemon to sparkling water.
Herbal, green, and black teas are also suitable. Many teas come with additional health benefits. Fruit juices tend to be very high in sugar, and recent studies have also linked even unsweetened fruit juices to cancer risks. So, if possible, it is best to eat whole fruits instead as they contain fiber as well.
According to research, almost one-third of people’s daily energy intake comes from snacking. Snacks have increased in size over time, resulting in people consuming too much between meals.
However, healthful and homemade snacks can increase fullness and reduce the number of calories that people eat during meals. Healthful snacks include: yogurt, dried prunes or dates, high-fiber fruits, such as apples, bananas, and oranges, high-fiber vegetables, including carrots and broccoli, or a handful of unsalted, unflavored nuts, such as cashews or walnuts.
Take your time and chew more
Mindful eating, or eating with awareness, is an excellent tool for weight management. Mindful eating may help reduce food cravings and improve portion control. To practice mindful eating, avoid distractions, including televisions, laptops, and reading materials. It is best to eat at a table, concentrate on how the food tastes, and be aware of signs that the body is full.
Chewing or mastication, initiates the process of digestion. Some research found that chewing each mouthful thoroughly and prolonging meal duration reduced food intake. Thoroughly chewing food can help a person savor what they are eating. Taking enough time to eat during meals also gives the body time to register when it is full.
Eat at home
Sitting down and eating a healthy meal with family members can also play a role in weight management. It offers a wonderful way to teach your kids favorite recipes while they participate in the preparations. Afterwards everyone can relax and share the day’s events while slowly enjoying the great food. It’s easier to cook more balanced, nutritional meals with less fats and sugar and can be a screen-free zone where only conversation and bonding reigns.
There are plenty of ways to lose weight without counting calories. These are just a few to get you started. Once you see the results, add a few minutes of stretches and walking each day and you’ll be well on the road to a slimmer you.
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