1. EAT BREAKFAST! Did you know that Sumo wrestlers SKIP breakfast in order to gain weight? The body needs a signal that it’s time to rev up the motor and get busy metabolizing. 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 and blood sugar balanced day. A balanced breakfast (especially with some protein) helps to prevent those cravings that sneak up on you at 3pm.
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. We need anywhere from 25-35 grams of fiber/day, sometimes more. Start slow, however, if you are not used to it. It can take time for the digestive tract to catch up with the new addition.
3. DON’T GO TOO LONG BETWEEN MEALS: SNACK! If we eat at noon and then not until 7pm, chances are we are going to be pretty 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 or some veggies with hummus on hand to prevent those blood sugar dips that can result in making less healthy choices.
4. REDUCE REFINED CARBS & SUGAR: One of the best things you can do to lose weight is to decrease the floury, sweet foods in your diet: cakes, cookies, muffins, sugary drinks, candy bars etc. It’s possible to make and to find healthy versions of these. Oatmeal cookies, for instance, or using mashed sweet potato to make pancakes/muffins. Try 2 weeks with no sugar and see if you notice a change in your tastebuds. Try dried & fresh fruit or coconut instead.
5. ADD HERBS AND SPICES! Studies show that a number of spices, like cayenne and cinnamon have thermogenic, metabolism boosting properties. Additionally, the presence of new flavors 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!”
6. SLOW DOWN WHILE EATING! Eating mindfully sets the body up to recognize the feeling of fullness which stops your eating when it needs to be stopped. It takes 20 minutes 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.
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 also helps add texture and carry flavor. Don’t shy away from this very important food group.