Summer is right around the corner and a lot of you maybe planning to hit the various summer beach parties in Jamaica or Barbados. Whatever your plans are, 90% of you hope to loose weight and get that hot summer body you desire. Here are some useful tips to help you stop procrastinating and get the ball rolling.
1. Bring the color blue into your life more often.
There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: Believe it or not, the color blue functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating.
2. Clean your closet of the “fat” clothes.
Once you’ve reached your target weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to maintain your new figure.
3. Downsize your dinner plates.
Studies find that the less food put in front of you, the less food you’ll eat. Conversely, the more food in front of you, the more you’ll eat — regardless of how hungry you are. So instead of using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10-14 inches (making them look forlornly empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on salad plates (about 7-9 inches wide). The same goes for liquids. Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups.
4. Serve dinner in plates.
Serve your dinner restaurant style (food on the plates) rather than family style (food served in bowls and on platters on the table). When your plate is empty, you’re finished; there’s no reaching for seconds.
5. Hang a mirror opposite your seat at the table.
One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Seems having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.
6. Put out a vegetable platter.
A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though. Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice).
7. Use vegetables to bulk up meals.
You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries. And add vegetables to make a fluffier, more satisfying omelet without having to up the number of eggs.
8. Eat one less cookie a day.
Or consume one less can of regular soda, or one less glass of orange juice, or three fewer bites of a fast-food hamburger. Doing any of these saves you about 100 calories a day, according to weight-loss researcher James O. Hill, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado. And that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the 1.8 to 2 pounds most people pack on each year.
9. Avoid white foods.
There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. But you shouldn’t toss out the baby with the bathwater. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, you should eat plenty of whole grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff.
10. Switch to ordinary coffee.
Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great.
11. Use nonfat powdered milk in coffee.
You get the nutritional benefits of skim milk, which is high in calcium and low in calories. And, because the water has been removed, powdered milk doesn’t dilute the coffee the way skim milk does.
12. Treat high-calorie foods as jewels in the crown.
Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of salad.
13. After breakfast, make water your primary drink.
At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year — or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.
14. Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week.
Write down every single morsel that enters your lips — even water. Studies have found that people who maintain food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t.
15. Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, orange, and a slice of watermelon. These whole foods will keep you satisfied much longer than that box of apple juice, so you’ll eat less overall.
16. Calorie Buster.
Add 10 percent to the amount of daily calories you think you’re eating, then adjust your eating habits accordingly. If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add another 170 calories to your guesstimate. Chances are, the new number is more accurate.
17. Eat five or six small meals or snacks a day instead of three large meals.
A 1999 South African study found that when men ate parts of their morning meal at intervals over five hours, they consumed almost 30 percent fewer calories at lunch than when they ate a single breakfast. Other studies show that even if you eat the same number of calories distributed this way, your body releases less insulin, which keeps blood sugar steady and helps control hunger.
18. Walk for 45 minutes a day.
The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.
19. Eat cereal for breakfast five days a week.
Studies find that people who eat cereal for breakfast every day are significantly less likely to be obese and have diabetes than those who don’t. They also consume more fiber and calcium — and less fat — than those who eat other breakfast foods. Of course, that doesn’t mean reaching for the Cap’n Crunch. Instead, pour out a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal like Total or Grape Nuts
20. Eat 90 percent of your meals at home.
You’re more likely to eat more — and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods — when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them!
21. Avoid Fructose, Sugar And Corn Syrup.
Avoid any prepared food that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead! Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressing.
22. Finally, indulge once a week.
Once a week, indulge in a high-calorie-tasting, but low-calorie, treat. This should help keep you from feeling deprived and binging on higher-calorie foods. For instance:
Lobster. Just 83 calories in 3 ounces.
Shrimp. Just 60 calories in 12 large.
Smoked salmon. Just 66 calories in two ounces. Sprinkle with capers for an even more elegant treat.
Whipped cream. Just 8 calories in one tablespoon. Drop a dollop over a bowl of fresh fruit for dessert.
There are a lot more healthy and easy ways you can trim down for the summer. We hope you find these tips useful.
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