Saturday, 23 April 2011

How to Lose Weight

You already know that to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You've tried dieting, keeping a food diary, creating an exercise regimen, and perhaps even hypnosis. It's now obvious that the problem isn't with the technique, but with your willpower. Old habits die hard. If you're having a hard time maintaining your efforts over time, here are some radical ways to break away from the routine.


Don't neglect the tried and true. Ultimately, losing weight comes down to one key principle: Burn more calories than you consume. The steps that follow won't work if you have a thousand more calories coming into your body on a daily basis than you have going out. Lay the foundation for weight loss with these practices:

  1. Don't neglect the tried and true. Ultimately, losing weight comes down to one key principle: Burn more calories than you consume. The steps that follow won't work if you have a thousand more calories coming into your body on a daily basis than you have going out. Lay the foundation for weight loss with these practices:

    • Count calories and keep a food diary.
    • Go on a diet.
    • Cut down on sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and saturated fats.
    • Burn more calories by exercising: Run, walk, even exercise at the computer you are sitting in front of now.
    • When possible eat food cold. If it's reasonable, eat food cold or room-temperature as opposed to warm, examples include eating cold soup, leaving those hard-boiled eggs you had yesterday for dinner cold, and eating ice cream in stead of drinking overly-sweet fruit juices. Your body requires more calories to warm something up if it's cold. There's a very advanced formula to find out how many calories certain temperature water (yes water) will burn, which is another good example, when possible drink ice water instead of regular temperature tap. It takes about 25 calories to heat up just a liter of cold tap water to your body temperature, that adds up!
    • Raise your metabolism.
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    Big bowl, big servings, big weight gain
     Big bowl, big servings, big weight gain
    Downsize your kitchenware. The human mind works in mysterious ways. It turns out that using smaller bowls, plates, and containers can subconsciously influence how much you serve yourself. Even nutrition experts are victims of this phenomenon; when 85 of them were given a random mix of small and large bowls and scoops, those who got larger bowls served themselves 31% more ice cream, and added on another 14.5% if they had bigger scoops![1]
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    Put down the knife. By putting down whatever utensils you're using between every bite, you can significantlyslow down your eating time, leaving your stomach a chance to feel full and reducing the likelihood that you'll go for seconds. Another technique that can have a similar effect is to take a sip between each bite. Numerous studies have shown that eating slowly results in eating less.[2] There's even a device you can get from a dentist that you wear to make your oral cavity smaller so that you take smaller bites,[3] and "diet forks" that are so awkward to use that you'll get less food per bite! There are even heat-retentive plates to keep your food warm as you eat at a snail's pace.
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    Know the enemy! Make a list of the food items that are your weaknesses. These aren't always unhealthy foods, either. Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that as long as we avoid the "bad" foods, we're making progress. At least, that's what we like to think as we get up for our third serving of fruit salad, or finish a bag of pretzels in one sitting, saying that they're healthier than chips. Remember that too much of anything is bad. You probably don't need to keep a food diary to know your enemies. Common culprits include soda, bread, alcohol, and fast food. Whatever your weakness is, cut down on it. If you cut it out completely, you're more likely to binge. Buy only small packages of it and have it only once in a while. If cutting down doesn't work, you might need to go cold turkey.
    • Also seek out and reduce needless sedentary activities that burn few calories and can make you more susceptible to temptation to overeat.
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    Whole grain pasta
     Whole grain pasta
    Choose whole grains over a whole belly. If you switch out all of your refined grain food (white bread, food made with white flour) for whole-grain food (oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, whole-grain pasta, brown rice and barley) you won't lose additional weight overall. However, you will lose more weight in the belly area, which will make you look thinner--at least, that's what a Penn States tudy implies.[4] Not only will your slimmer profile make you feel better about your progress, but by losing the VAT (visceral adipose tissue) you're also doing away with a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, coronary vascular disease, and some types of cancer.[5] Check those labels and make sure that any grain-based foods you buy are made up of at least fifty-one percent whole grain.[4]
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    Limit your spending. Some people have an easier timecontrolling their wallet than controlling their diet. Go ahead, cut up those credit cards, and build up your emergency fund, if you haven't already (in its own account, and leave the bank card at home). Limit the amount of cash you have in your wallet, especially if you're subject to spontaneous fast food indulgences. When you go grocery shopping, have a list prepared, and bring just enough money to cover those items (this might take a few dry runs). The embarrassment of not having enough money at the register will keep you from throwing a few extra items in the shopping cart. If you don't do the grocery shopping, then offer to take on this monumental role. Your family or roommates might complain about the absence of junk food, but you'll be doing them a favor by stocking the kitchen with healthy stuff. They'll thank you...later...years later.
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    Set a digital watch to go off every two hours. Eat only when the watch tells you to. Spontaneous eating sessions (those times when you feel those hunger pangs, those cravings, and you scour the cabinets or the streets in search of satisfaction) are your weakest points. This is why all weight loss books tell you to avoid skipping meals. If you eat every two hours, you won't get so hungry that you gorge yourself when you do eat. You know how it goes: "Oh...I'm so hungry...the brownies are right there...I'd have to walk all the way to the deli to get a sandwich, but my stomach's churning...." Of course, if you eat the equivalent of a cheeseburger every two hours, that's a recipe for obesity, but again, you're more likely to retain self-control and stick to your diet when you don't have hunger pangs to cloud your judgment. It wouldn't hurt, however, to plan out what you'll eat (smoothie at 10, chicken salad at 12, a single piece of leftover cherry pie at 2, a slice of bread with peanut butter at 4, and so on).

    • This has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism. Extending the time between meals makes your body go into "starvation mode," which will slow down your metabolism in response to the perceived threat of starvation. This is why fasting and skipping meals will only make things worse. In addition to having four to six small meals per day,[6] eating healthy snacks will also increase your metabolism.[7]
    • Another useful way to think about this is to use a "hunger scale." Rate your hunger on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being so hungry that you feel weak and 10 being so full that you just want to curl up in bed and digest. Eat when you're at about 3, which is when you're just a little hungry, but not famished.[8]
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    Trade weight for cash. A 2007 study showed that the more you pay people to lose weight, the more pounds they drop over a three-month period.[9] If there's someone who keeps nagging you to lose weight, ask that person about paying you for every pound you lose. If your employer is self-insured, he or she might consider enlisting the services of a company that develops reward programs to encourage employees to lose weight.[10]You can also sign a contract that forces you to pay up for every pound you don't lose (or every pound you gain) and whatever money you pay (or gain) can be donated to charity.
  • TIPS
  • One thing you might notice that happens if you eat slowly is that your food gets cold before you finish it. To address this, you can serve yourself smaller portions (heating as you serve) or even purchase plates specifically designed to keep food warm (heat retentive plates).
  • Eat lots of soluble fiber, it soaks up fat and cholesterol from your body.
  • Don't cut fat completely from your diet. It's important to recognize that fat is necessary for good health and sustainable weight loss. Remember that weight loss is about calories, and while fat does have more calories per gram than carbs or protein, foods like ground flax, nuts, and avocados are all high fat foods that are touted for their health benefits. Taking this approach will promote healthy weight loss by keeping you feeling full longer, and provide your body with the nutrition it needs to properly absorb and process nutrients.
  • Keep a fitness log: Get a blank piece of paper and draw about forty small squares or print a spreadsheet from Microsoft Excel. Try to figure out your most common exercise-related activities and make two letter (or number) codes for them. Add a few more activities to get you moving. Set a date to complete all of your squares. Consider going over your log daily to fill in the squares, as you will not remember what activity you did three weeks from now. Make sure that your date goals are reasonable and timely.
  • Dancing can be an aerobic workout
     Dancing can be an aerobic workout
    For physical activity, try something different. Maybe you’ve stopped going to the gym because it's boring. Do something unique and preferably something that involves a long-term commitment and contract, such as swing or salsa dancing,swimming lessons, fencing, or martial arts. Choose a school or instructor you like--you're more likely to show up, especially if there's someone holding you accountable. The more expensive the contract, the more likely you are to stick with it...unless you're filthy rich, in which case you can hire a personal trainer.
  • Knowing your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) can help with this. Your BMR is the baseline number of calories your body needs to function of you were to just stay sedentary all day long. Consuming about 500 calories under this number is a way to boost your diet and ensure at least some weight loss.
  • If you are having a hard time getting started or maintaining an exercise routine, use Monday as the day to recommit. Instead of making it a New Year’s Resolution or something you start doing on your birthday, using Monday gives you fifty-two chances to get on track!
  • Boost metabolism temporarily with aerobic exercise. Different activities burn different quantities of calories, but the important thing is to raise your heart rate and sustain the activity for approximately thirty minutes.
  • Boost metabolism in the long run with weight training. Muscle burns more calories than fat does--73 more calories per kilogram per day, to be exact.[11] Every muscle cell that you gain is like a little factory that constantly burns calories for you, even while you sleep, and revs up when you exercise.
  • Don't lose weight too quickly (more than one or two pounds a week). Losing weight quickly has its own health risks, as does being underweight. In addition, pushing yourself too hard can increase the likelihood of relapse. Slow and steady wins the race in this department.
  • Consult your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle if you have a medical condition that could be affected. Consulting your doctor can also help you rule out medical conditions that could be contributing to your weight.
  • Avoid "fad" diets such as the cabbage soup diet, "carb-loading," boiled egg diet, etc.
  • Avoid smoking as a weight-loss method. While nicotine is a metabolism booster and appetite suppressant, the health hazards far outweigh any benefits.
  • Expect your metabolism to slow down as you lose weight. The more weight your body is carrying, the more calories your body has to burn in order to sustain itself, even at rest. When you begin restricting your calorie intake, you'll lose weight relatively easily because your body's high caloric needs are not being met. But after you begin to shed the weight, the body has less mass to carry and thus needs fewer calories. In order to continue losing weight, you will have to restrict your caloric intake even further in order to maintain a difference between what your body needs and what you are providing.[11]
  • Remember that being healthy overall is more important than losing weight. Preventing obesity should be like preventing diabetes or cancer or hypertension; you are preventing a disease. Never do anything unhealthful to lose weight. You don’t want to substitute one disease for another.

How to Eat Slowly to Avoid Overeating

Eating slowly to avoid overeating is based on the simple fact that your brain needs about 20 minutes to get the "signal" that you are not hungry anymore and you can stop eating; this is because our body needs time for the digestive and hormonal processes take place to a point or phase enough to generate the "satisfied signal". Do not confuse being full with being satisfied; you can be full, even bloated and still hungry and continue eating.
However, eating slowly is not a decision that you make on the spur of the moment, or a New year's resolution that is forgotten well before January ends but a habit that you need to acquire with practice.


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    Reprogram your mind. Do not even attempt to acquire the habit of eating slowly before mentally rehearsing it in your mind for at least 21 days. Relax and use your imagination to create mental images, virtual pleasant experiences that your brain will register and remember. Imagine yourself eating slowly, savoring your food and above all the end results:Your lean body.

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    Visualize yourself eating slowly see your glass of water, you will need to drink water before, with and after your meal to get the sensation of fullness in your stomach and also see in your mind the end result: how you are going to look in that dress or those jeans, suit, etc.
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    Always relax before you start eating. Take a few deep breaths, hold it and exhale slowly by the mouth. Get rid of the stress before you start eating; remind yourself of the rewards (Good health, good looks, etc.). Look at the clock and mentally add 20 minutes, that is your goal: take at least 20 minutes to enjoy your food.
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    Drink water
     Drink water
    Drink a glass of water and/or eat a small bowl of light soupbefore your main dish, and drink water with your food. This will help your sensation of fullness.
  5. 5
    Put the fork down after putting food in your mouth. take a sip of water, engage in conversation. Savor each bite, make it a pleasant experience so you will want to repeat it.
  6. 6
    Concentrate on your food and really enjoy it. Your brain will keep a record of that pleasant experience and this new way of eating will become automatic (Second nature) with practice.
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    Add 20 min. that's your goal
     Add 20 min. that's your goal
    Dedicate at least 20 minutes to finish your meal. Have always a wall clock in plain view from the table to adjust your eating speed; eat your last portion real slowly. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes, it means you are eating too fast; there is a "sensor" in our brain (In the hypothalamus)that needs about 20 minutes to get activated, digestive and hormonal processes need to take place before our brain realizes we are not hungry anymore; we could feel bloated and still hungry. You know what happens when we overeat right? (Look at the image at right; however by then it is too late) Do not wait till you see the consequences at the scale; take corrective action at the table: Monitor constantly your eating speed, drink water, watch the wall clock. Eating slowly will become automatic (Natural) after you experience the rewards.
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    If you feel still a little bit hungry after this, stop anyway; drink a little bit more water. This is where you will need a little will power and remember your motivation. In 5 more minutes you will not want to eat more even if food is delicious you will feel satisfied and full.
  9. Tips

    • Always remind yourself of your motivations (How you will look, etc.); read "Psycho Cybernetics", it is a great little inexpensive book that explains how you can synthesize experiences using our imagination.
    • Eating slowly needs to be an enjoyable experience. The use of a "heat retentive plate"or "plate for eating slowly" is strongly recommended. Your brain registers enjoyable experiences and makes you want to repeat them; that's a good way of acquiring any habit.
    • Please tweet for other people; many of your family and friends may benefit from this information.
    • Keep in mind that your brain needs 20 minutes to realize that you are not hungry any more. Your plate will remain still hot after 30 minutes.
    • If you are still a little bit hungry after 20 minutes, STOP anyway, think of your motivation, your goal, drink a little bit more water, in 5 more minutes you will not want to eat more even if your host insists.

    Things You'll Need

    • Wall clock (In front of you)
    • Water (If you are still a little hungry remember: stop eating anyway, drink some more water slowly)