Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FAND, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
Time Your Meals - Set a timer for 20 minutes and reinvent yourself as a slow eater. Savor each bite and pace your meals. Doing this triggers your body’s fullness hormones. When you eat fast, your stomach doesn't have time to tell your brain that it is full. That leads to overeating.
Sleep More, Weigh Less - Sleeping an extra hour each night could help a person drop 14 pounds in a year, according to a University of Michigan researcher. When sleep replaces idle activities and snacking, calories can be cut by 6%. There's also evidence that getting less than 7 hours of sleep revs up your appetite, making you eat more.
Serve and Eat More Veggies - Serve three vegetables with dinner instead of just one, and you'll eat more vegetables without really trying. Greater variety tricks people into eating more healthy food that the body needs each day. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to add more high fiber/high water content foods that fill you up with fewer calories. Cook them without added fat and season with lemon juice and herbs.
Eat Soup and Lose Pounds - Add a broth-based soup to your day and you'll fill up on fewer calories. Think minestrone, tortilla soup, or tomato. Soup is especially helpful at the beginning of a meal because it slows you down and curbs your appetite. Beware of creamy soups, which can be high in fat and calories.
Go for Whole Grains - Whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, and whole wheat also belong in your meal plans. They help fill you up with fewer calories and may improve your cholesterol, too. Whole grains are now in waffles, pizza crusts, English muffins, pasta, and soft "white" whole-wheat bread.
Eyeball Your Skinny Clothes - Hang an old favorite item of clothing such as a pair of jeans where you'll see them every day. This keeps your eyes on the prize. Choose an item that's just a little too snug, so you reach this reward in a relatively short time. Then pull out another item of clothing for your next small, attainable goal.
Eliminate the Bacon - Pass on those two strips of bacon at breakfast or on your sandwich at lunch. This small change saves about 100 calories, which can add up to a 10 pound weight loss over a year. Instead, add tomato slices, banana peppers, roasted red bell peppers, grainy mustard, or a light spread of herbed goat cheese.
Build Healthy Pizza Slices - Choose vegetable toppings for pizza instead of meat or extra cheese and you may be able to save 100 calories from your meal. Other tricks: Use reduced-fat cheese and choose a thin, bread-like crust made with just a touch of olive oil.
Reduce Sugary Beverages - Replace one sugary drink like regular soda with water or a zero-calorie seltzer and you'll avoid about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Add lemon, mint, or frozen fruit for flavor and fun. The sugar in soda appears to bypass the body's normal fullness cues. One study compared an extra 450 calories per day from jelly beans vs. soda. The candy eaters unconsciously ate fewer calories overall, but not so for the soda drinkers. They gained 2.5 pounds in four weeks.
So remember to take small steps and plan your meals and snacks making each food or beverage a healthy choice. This is an easy way to lose weight without dieting.