Maintaining a healthy weight is not equal to dieting.
If you’re complaining about not getting results from dieting, then there’s a very good reason: “Diets don’t really work,” according to Dr. Carla Heiser — a nutritional and metabolic medicine specialist.
That’s true because limiting what you eat is only a temporary solution.
On the other hand, making healthy choices as part of a healthy lifestyle can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some good tips to stay skinny:
1. Give priority to protein
It’s not about including a large piece of meat or protein shakes.
“Instead pair a protein with each meal or snack,” says MaryKate O’Riordan.
“Protein matabolizes really slowly, which means that you feel fuller longer.”
You can pair cheese with grapes and celery with butter for more healthy and fulfilling snacks.
“Protein helps keep blood sugar levels stable for the best possible fat loss!” she says.
2. Eat at the table
I know we are all busy people, juggling between work, home, school, college, sports, and everything else under the sun.
However, it’s very important to set aside some quality time out of your daily schedule just to enjoy a sit-down meal.
“Doing this will not only find time to bond with your family but enjoying a meal sitting down is also going to help with healthy living.”
“On the other hand, eating while being distracted — watching TV or playing video games — leads to overeating, and most likely, you’ll be making bad food choices,” says O’Riordan.
3. Keep healthy snacks visible
Snacking isn’t very good for your health — but there’s nothing bad with it as long as you eat foods that boost your energy levels throughout the day.
Just remember to snack only when you’re actually feeling hungry (not just eating out of boredom, which is a bad habit) and, of course, plan your meal.
“It is easy to get tempted to eat poor foods and overeat when you are feeling hungry,” says O’Riordan.
“However, having a go-to snacks visible right between mealtime is a great way to maintain healthy meal portions and properly fueling your body.”
4. Chew your food thoroughly
Chewing is the first step of the digestive process, although everyone overlooks this crucial step.
Taking the time to chew your food properly can help the enzymes present in your saliva to breakdown your food so that it’s easily digested in your body.
Chewing can also prevent you from overeating, which makes you gain weight.
“It takes a while (about 20 minutes) for your brain to signal that you are full,” says O’Riordan.
“So taking time to properly chew your food can help your body will realize you’re satiated,” she says.
5. Use smaller plates
The larger the plate, the more food it serves.
“Using smaller plates, such as a salad plate, during the meal can help in maintaining smaller portions, and in turn, help you consume fewer calories,” says O’Riordan .
Using a smaller plate will help you keep track of how much food you are taking, with ease.
6. Avoid the word “bad” from your vocabulary
It doesn’t do you good to tell yourself brownies are “bad” for your health and kale as “good.”
According to a study at the University of Toronto, women who were asked to not consume chocolate for a week felt more food cravings and wounded up eating more chocolate.
The results were later confirmed by a 2010 study: If you say to yourself you cannot have chocolate, and try to deliberately not think about it, you wind up obsessing about it — and find yourself devouring Snickers.
It links back to thinking you’re a dieting failure, which makes you feel bad about it, and thus, you end up overeating.
For a better and positive relationship with food, get rid of “bad” from your vocabulary.
7. Drink water.
Staying hydrated is very important for maintaining overall health, particularly when working out).
According to Mayo Clinic, sometimes we confuse the feeling of thirst for hunger.
“Staying hydrated is secret for weight loss and overall health,” says Jackie London — a registered dietician.
While you might be tempted to resort for sugary drinks such as coffee, fruit juice, soda, and cocktails, try to skip them and drink water instead.
Even better, carry a water bottle when on the go, and keep a pitcher of water at your desk just to remind you.
8. Stay away from ‘diet foods’
Foods with low-carb and low-fat sound awesome in theory, but fact, they’re often high in carbs and heavily processed.
“These foods eventually convert into sugar in your body, and most likely contribute to weight gain,” says?
Even worse, food companies process these foods after removing fat by pumping them with salt, sugar, and other additives.
9. Let yourself off the hook.
You just ate a cheeseburger.
Even if it doesn’t jibe well with your healthy eating goals, don’t beat yourself up for it.
Instead, forgive yourself about it and move on, and of course, promise to eat better next time.
Self-love can lead to a better relationship with your food and a healthier BMI, according to research at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
On the other hand, lower self-esteem may lead to haphazard eating (such as bingeing) that causes weight gain.
“Treat yourself like you treat your partner: with affirmation and encouragement,” according to Dr Shemek.
10. Get enough rest
When you’re busy and juggling between work, school, friends, and family, the first thing that gets affected is your sleep.
But research shows that adequate sleep is the secret to maintaining a healthy BMI.
“In fact, on days when you haven’t slept enough and you have to choose between taking another hour of shuteye or waking up early to hit the gym to work out, go snoozing,” suggests Dr Shemek.
“On the other hand, lack of sleep can have hormonal effects that can gain weight and also affect your appetite to opt for high-calorie foods.”
“Also, you won’t have the energy to work out effectively,” she says.
11. Don’t splurge every day
Cake at a friend’s bday party, a restaurant meal with a coworker, and office doughnuts.
These events occur so frequently that it’s easy to justify any day as a special day.
“While occasional treats are needed, your overall diet is what keeps your weight stable and steady,” says Heiser.
So don’t treat every day as a splurge-worthy.
Maybe you can share a crème brûlée with your partner on date night, but avoid the cookies at the meeting during the day.
Or only celebrate your birthday with cake, but avoid on other’s.
12. Avoid diet soda.
Artificial sweeteners are tricky.
While some studies prove that they don’t affect weight, but other research reveal that these “calorie-free drinks” may contribute to weight gain by triggering hunger.
“Avoid them completely,” says Dr Shemek.
“Diet sodas fire up your brain to crave for more sugar, and as a result, many people get addicted to them,” she says.
13. Talk (a lot) over dinner.
Yeah, you’re there at the table to eat, but you’re also there to catch up with your people, so make them the star of the show.
The talk at the table can make you eat slowly, and naturally, you eat less.
According to a study, researchers asked the participants to consume a bowl of ice cream in 5 or 30 minutes.
Those who savoured it slowly released more of the “stop eating” gut hormone, also called peptide YY and reported they felt more fuller.
So, enjoy your lasagna, but also savour the company more.
14. Eat sugar in moderation.
Sugar is unhealthy for you.
“Your body cannot handle a lot of things at one time. If you overdo it, you end up storing up as fat,” says Heiser.
But it doesn’t mean you should completely avoid it.
“Determine what your body can handle,” says Heiser.
Do you feel bloated and tired after a few cookies?
Based on your reaction, you’ll know when you should cut back.
After all, food is supposed to make you feel good — and any woman who isn’t dieting knows that perfectly.
15. Experiment in the kitchen
Healthy eating is never dull and boring if you’re spicing up your meals with spices and herbs.
They amplify any dish’s flavour and replace fat while also being just as tasty and satiating, according to research done at the University of Colorado.
And including spices such as cayenne and pepper flakes has been proven to improve metabolism, which in turn, helping you burn a few extra calories off your meal.
So throw in smoked paprika instead of butter on steamed broccoli.
Instead of having plain roasted chicken breast, use different types of dried herbs, chilli flakes, and garlic powder.
Enjoy a great meal!
16. Don’t count calories
There’s a big difference between how your body burns 1,000 calories of junk food and 1,000 calories of whole foods.
Getting stuck up in calorie counts, therefore, could make you deny yourself calories-dense, yet nutritious foods such as avocado, fatty fish, coconut, nuts, oils like olive, and dark chocolate.
Instead of counting calories, try filling your plates with real foods that have enough protein (chicken, fish, tofu), a healthy dose of fat, and vegetables.
“Well-rounded meals combined with heeding your hunger cues can help you maintain a healthy weight,” says Dr Heisek.
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