11. Keep Track of the Food you Eat
Knowing what you are eating, and most specifically how much calories you are taking in, is one of the most powerful tools when it come shedding weight. Although keeping track of every calorie you take in may seem time consuming, but it’s worth the effort.
According to research, people who keep track of everything they consume can lose up to twice as much weight as those who don’t keep a food diary. Tracking your calorie intake can help you shed light on the darker aspects of your diet habit and know for sure where you are falling short, and when you are starting to get off track.
According to the study by the University of North Carolina, people typically tend to consume roughly an extra of 110 calories per weekend day, mainly from fat and alcohol.
Keep tabs on your daily eating habits. Keep track of your daily caloric intake by either using a journal, a food log or one of the many Smartphone apps that you can download for free. I usually use a food journal just like this one I found on Amazon. However, there are also plenty of free apps that you can put to use.
12. Plan in Advance
According to Dutch researchers, planning your responses to hunger and figuring out ways in advance to stay on track can help you shed the extra pounds faster. People who wrote list of “if,… then” statements (“If I’m hunger at 10 a.m, then I will have a handful of nuts as a snack) shed more pounds and stayed consistent with their diet regimes better than those who didn’t have a plan of action in advance. Looking ahead and coming up with solutions for hunger in advance can help you prevent poor food choices when you have a weak moment and/or when you are too hungry (and stressed) to think straight.
Plan healthy snacks for your weakest and troubled times, and keep switching them up every few weeks. You can also make a list of those bad timings where your diet tends to take a turn for the worst, then come up with healthier safe plans. For example, if you overeat on dinner, then have a snack before you sit for the meal.
13. Fill Up on Veggies
When it comes to the right foods for weight loss and optimal health, vegetables should be a staple on your daily eating menu. Veggies score high on fiber, valuable nutrients and water, all of which will help you shed weight without starving yourself to death.
Plus, consuming a lot of veggies increases the amount of fiber in your diet, helping you feel full for longer. So you can consume large portions of veggies without loading on calories or worrying about gaining weight.
Stock up your kitchen with all kinds of vegetables. The more the colors the better.
14. Fill Half of your Plate with Vegetables
The importance of veggies is a no brainer. However, when it comes to actually eating more veggies, most people fall short.
Fill half of your plate at every meal with vegetables of your own choosing, then fill the other half with lean protein and whole grains. This is the most practical advice that can help you load up on veggies, and will definitely help you curb craving and feel fuller for longer.
15. Remove the Junk
One of the best ways to help you steer clear of junk food is to purge your kitchen (and house) from any food that’s not “weight-loss friendly”. By declaring your living area junk-food free, you will be less likely to give in into late night temptation and have better control over your cravings. So set your environment for success. Don’t rely on will power since it’s really limited, and after a stressful day at the office, your will power will be dry as a bone.
Clean your kitchen and get rid of any food that lead to weight gain, like cake, ice cream, or any other food that scores high on sugars and processed ingredients.
16. Cook at Home
I know. I knooooow. This one is tricky especially if you are not a good cook (or don’t cook at all). However, according to study, people are more likely to consume more calories when eating out, than when having a meal at home. Why? Well this shouldn’t a surprise. Most restaurants serve portions that are typically larger than the recommended healthy dietary guidelines, and are often laden with sugars, sodium, refined grains and fat. It’s called marketing and big tasty meals (at a relatively low price) get more customers. So don’t be another dumb consumer.
Cook your meals at home and you can save up to a thousand calories a day, plus it’s good for your wallet too.
17. Snack Smart
Unhealthy snacking is one of the main culprits in weight gain. Nonetheless, if you tend to snack a lot, then at least do it right and you will be shedding the pounds instead of gaining them. The right snacking approach can help you prevent hunger pangs, which usually leads to overeating and a plethora of unhealthy eating habits. Action Step Snack on healthy and natural food choices such as carrots, raisins, nuts, almonds, seeds and limited amount of dried fruit. The more natural, the better. Just make sure not to overdo it. Eating a handful is enough. It’s a snack, not a meal, so be moderate and plan your nibbles in advance.
18. Feel Real Hunger
Emotional eating—eating out of frustration, stress, nervousness or boredom—is one of the hallmarks of unhealthy eating; the sort that leads to weight gain. Therefore, learn how differentiate between real physical hunger, and the kind of food cravings you get when you are stressed out and tired.
Many a person with weight problems confuses the two all the time. And the majority of people, mainly in the industrial world where food is plenty and starvation is not a concern, have forgotten what physical hunger feels like.
Only sit for a meal only when your stomach rumbles and you feel really hungry. And before you reach for a food, ask yourself whether you are doing out of real hunger, or you are just trying to satisfy some emotional need. You are not as hungry as you think, most of the time.
19. Don’t Skip Breakfast
It’s a classic mistake made by people who don’t know better. They assume that by skipping breakfast they would cut calories intake, helping them, theoretically, to lose more weight. But the truth is that skipping breakfast is not a good practice.
Although there is no current scientific study that proves or disproves the importance of breakfast for weight loss (to the best of my knowledge anyway) I think you should never skip breakfast.
If you skip your breakfast, then you will be more likely to binge later on, whether via unhealthy snacking or overeating on your lunch.
Stick to a healthy daily breakfast with plenty of protein—think eggs—and healthy fats.
20. No Liquid Calories
Coke, soda, sweetened ice tea and other sugary drinks have to go if you want to lose weight fast. Your typical 20-ounce soda can pack roughly 250 of empty calories and more than 70 grams of sugar, depending on the brand of course. And most specialty coffee drink and smoothies pack about 300 to 500 calories, and that’s without adding the whipped cream to the count.
So it’s really a true recipe for weight gain. So if you drink a couple per day, you are ingesting lots of extra calories, roughly 500 calories more. And by kicking out the soda habit, you will be saving, literally hundreds of calories a day.
Stick to calorie-free drinks like water or hot tea with no added sugars. You can always add some taste by adding lemon, lime, cucumber or mint, to your drinks.