Weight loss is no easy feat, especially when it involves drastic changes in diet and exercise, and a certain degree of sacrifice. While it may seem daunting to completely change your lifestyle, there are other alterations that can be incorporated into your routine. Keep in mind these changes won’t happen overnight, but they’ll help you shed the pounds faster.
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1. Drink Water Before Meals
Research suggests that drinking two 8-oz glasses of water before main meals can help enhance weight loss. Participants in a 12-week study who drank two glasses of water before every meal consumed 75 to 90 fewer calories per meal and lost more weight on average than those who didn’t. The researchers concluded that by hydrating right before eating, you’re more likely to feel satisfied from the meal and less likely to overindulge.
There is growing evidence that the size of your dinnerware can influence how much you consume during a meal. Researchers attribute this phenomenon to the Delboeuf Illusion—an optical illusion of relative size perception. When serving yourself, use larger plates and bowls for healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, and smaller plates and bowls for less healthy foods.
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3. Dine On Blue Plates
Not only can decreasing the size of your dinnerware help you eat less, but also a specific color. Research shows that people eat less if there is a high contrast in colors between the plate and the food. For example, a red-sauce pasta dish served on a green plate. The higher the contrast between the colors, the more you perceive the serving size as larger than it actually is. The plate color that was shown to help participants consume the least amount of food was blue. It’s the least appealing color to pair with food.
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4. Eat More Vegetables
This might sound redundant, but consuming a lot of vegetables can do more than provide you with health-boosting nutrients. Use vegetables to your advantage by adding bulk and fiber to your dishes, which will help fill you up. And vegetables can also be used for low-carb food swaps like using cauliflower as a pizza crust or squash for spaghetti.
One of the keys to success in weight loss or weight management is tracking your food and beverage intake regularly. Tracking can help make you aware of subconscious snacking, unhealthy eating patterns, and overeating. Multiple research studies have tested the effectiveness of tracking intake on enhancing weight loss and have concluded that individuals who track eating habits regularly lose more weight on average than those who don’t.
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6. Spice Up Your Meals
Cayenne pepper can kick your metabolism into high gear because of capsaicin—the active compound that causes the burning sensation in your mouth upon consumption. Capsaicin is widely known and studied for its thermogenic effect, which is the ability to generate extra body heat and a rise in metabolic rate. One recent study found that about a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper, either mixed in food or swallowed as a capsule, helped study participants burn an additional 10 calories more over a four-hour period. While that might not seem worth the temporary burning sensation, consumption of the cayenne pepper also reduced their preoccupation with food and their desire to consume fatty, salty, and sweet foods during that same four-hour period.
Adding a cup of hot lemon water to your mornings can help kick-start your digestive system and stimulate bowel movements. Some experts suggest it can even give you a little natural energy boost, which would also help you cut out some unnecessary calories if the lemon water is used to replace high-calorie coffee beverages. Additionally, lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, with the juice of one lemon providing about a third of the daily recommended value. Research suggests that an inadequate consumption of this vitamin may hinder weight and body fat loss. If you include lemon pulp in your beverage, you’ll also add pectin—a soluble fiber that can help you feel full.
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8. Have A Bowl Of Soup
Soup can do more than help alleviate cold and flu symptoms. In fact, a bowl of soup a day may help keep the pounds away. Multiple studies have shown that when low-energy-dense soups were consumed at the start of a meal, subsequent food intake was reduced by as much as 20%. Furthermore, soup has a high water content, which can also help fill you up in addition to helping you stay hydrated. Be sure to avoid creamy, rich soups, which can run upwards of 500 calories, and canned soups high in sodium.
Research suggests that eating slowly can lead to improved satiety and makes you less inclined to overeat. When you eat slowly, you allow more time for your brain to catch up with your gut as it signals it’s full. To slow down your eating, try alternating bites of food with sips of water, removing distractions like television, and chewing your food thoroughly. Another great technique is to eat with chopsticks, which will inherently force you to eat smaller bites and at a slower pace.
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10. Park Far Away
Forget convenience, and park as far away as possible to burn some additional calories. This method is a very simple way to squeeze some extra exercise into your day, no equipment necessary.
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11. Ditch The Bread
On average, a burger bun or two slices of bread contains 150 calories and 25g or more of carbohydrates. You can save at least 100 calories and 20g of carbohydrates per day by swapping out bread for produce options, like sliced eggplant, large mushroom caps, and romaine lettuce. Better yet, you won’t have to sacrifice fiber since you’ll still get a good dose from these low-carb alternatives.
Wearing form-fitting clothing can help prevent you from overeating because you’ll start to feel uncomfortable as you eat more than you need. This discomfort is an example of how your clothing can help serve as a sensory reminder of when it’s time to put down the fork.
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13. Eat In Front Of A Mirror
The kitchen may be the last place you’d ever thought to hang a mirror, but it’s certainly the most useful place when it comes to weight loss. Research has shown that hanging a mirror in your kitchen can help you lose weight and keep it off. How? Taking a look at yourself right before you’re about to reach into the refrigerator or pantry can help you avoid poor, unhealthy food choices. Furthermore, eating in front of a mirror can help you consume less food by making you more aware of how your body looks and feels.
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14. Workout In The Morning
Exercise plays a significant role in weight loss and weight maintenance. If you’re already exercising, or plan on starting an exercise program in the near future, try getting your workout over with in the morning. Exercising early can help jump-start your metabolism, increase your focus, improve your mood, and reduce your motivation and desire for food throughout the rest of the day.
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15. Up The Good Bacteria
A healthy gut microbiome may be the missing piece to the weight loss puzzle. Daily consumption of probiotics, known as “good bacteria,” can help speed up weight loss. Scientists believe that in addition to aiding the digestive process, probiotics may make your intestinal walls less permeable to molecules that contribute to obesity. Probiotics come in many forms, including supplements and natural food sources, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and tempeh. When looking for a high-quality probiotic supplement, those with at least seven strains and at least 5 billion colony-forming units are encouraged.