Guest Blog Post By Mary Purdy, MS, RDN
Whether you are working towards a weight goal or not. The below tips are excellent for supporting your overall health.
1. EAT BREAKFAST.
Studies show that skipping that first meal of the day often leads to an overconsumption of foods later. In fact, did you know that Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast in order to gain weight? The body needs that signal that it’s time to rev up the motor and get busy metabolizing. “But I’m not hungry!” you say. No need for a grand buffet here. Some food – even something small like a piece of fruit and some nuts – will kickstart that process and provide that boost you need to make it an energized day.
2. EAT FIBER RICH FOODS.
Fiber (the part of food that our body doesn’t digest) is terrific for making us feel full and usually comes from foods that are also high in nutritional value: beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. Good news is that when our bellies feel full and our bodies nourished with necessary nutrients, we are less likely to eat more food than we require. Our bodies need anywhere from around 30-50 grams of fiber/day, depending on your gender and your health conditions. Most of us are getting under 15 grams/day. Start slowly, however, if you are not used to consuming this amount. It can take time for the digestive tract to catch up with this new addition.
3. DON’T GO TOO LONG BETWEEN MEALS: SNACK HEALTHFULLY!
If we eat at noon and then not until 7pm, chances are we are going to be darn hungry and are more likely to over indulge at dinner or later in the evening when our metabolism is naturally slower. Have some nuts/fruit/bars on hand to prevent those blood sugar dips that can result in making less healthy choices. A balanced blood sugar also ensures that mood is also more stable which can positively impact our eating and lifestyle choices.
4. REDUCE REFINED CARBS & SUGAR.
One of the best things you can do to lose weight is to decrease the floury, sweet and savory foods in your diet: cakes, cookies, muffins, sugary drinks, candy bars are some easy to identify ones, but even the chips, pretzels and white breads and baguettes are ones to be mindful of. It’s possible to make and to find healthier versions of these whether it’s whole grain breads and crackers or baked goods made with whole grain flour/oatmeal and natural sweeteners. An experiment for you: Try 2 weeks with no added sugar and see if you notice a change in your taste buds. Got a sweet craving? Try dried & fresh fruit instead.
5. ADD HERBS AND SPICES.
Studies show that many spices like cayenne and cinnamon have thermogenic, metabolism boosting properties. Additionally, the presence of new flavors (basil, mint, rosemary) can help diminish our cravings for the usual tastes we think we want. And, as I always like to say: “It’s hard to have seconds when your mouth is on fire from a nice dose of cayenne pepper!” If you haven’t tried smoked paprika, run, don’t walk to the store to purchase and witness your soups, potatoes and yes, scrambled eggs pop in ways you didn’t think possible.
6. SLOW DOWN WHILE EATING.
Eating mindfully sets the body up to recognize the feeling of fullness which helps to halt eating when one is satiated. It takes 20 mins for your brain to get the signal that you are full. When we don’t take time with eating, we often miss the signal! Additionally, chewing and breathing help to naturally fuel our metabolism by optimizing our digestive function. Try setting a timer for 15-20 minutes for meals that you have noticed are being gobbled in 5.
7. WATCH DRINKING EXTRA CALORIES.
Juices, sweetened teas and sodas can add lots of extra calories without really filling you up or providing much in the way of health benefits. Iced green tea, seltzers, plain or with a splash of juice, or just good old water with a cucumber slice tossed in, can make for great thirst quenching treats.
8. EAT SOME HEALTHY FATS AT MEALS.
Olives, nuts, coconut, seeds, avocado, olive oil, are all great for keeping you more satiated! Using a “fat free” dressing? Chances are you’re going to be hungry and may end up eating more carbs to help fill you up. Fat is essential to our body’s functioning and helps add texture and carry flavor. Don’t shy away from this very important food group, just be mindful of portions.
For more weight loss tips that you may not be thinking of, take a listen to our podcast episode on 4 Weight Loss Tips: The What, When, How and Where.
This has been a guest blog post by long time Community Fitness Member, Mary Purdy, MS, RDN