Every solid weight loss strategy involves burning more calories than you consume and, while most diets are structured around fat-burning exercise routines, responsible eating can be a discipline all in itself. Hours of running, biking and swimming can all be undone by midnight cravings and poor portion control. We normally chalk these issues up to a matter of self-control, and while that is certainly true, we have centuries of evolution working against our efforts and threatening our success. There are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that the deck is not stacked against you, and to make responsible decisions easier decisions.
1) Invest in nearly calorie free snacks – celery, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and other vegetables are nearly calorie free and can be a great way to satisfy your brief daily cravings. This tip is not much a surprise, however, and many people have already tried dieting with these snacks within arm’s reach, only to cave within a week. These snacks are a vital part of your success, but they will not work on their own. They are necessary, but not sufficient. Always combine low calorie snacks with other strategies, like the ones listed below.
2) Increase your daily water intake – a cold glass of water will not only keep you healthier, but it will also help stave off hunger pains. In fact, your body frequently confuses thirst for hunger, and satisfying your thirst will often make your hunger dissipate.
3) Promise yourself fifteen minutes – when you are about to reach for a bag of chips or go back for a plate of seconds, promise yourself fifteen minutes of rest. Eat a low calorie snack, have a glass of water, and tell yourself that you can still continue eating if you are just as hungry fifteen minutes from now. You will be surprised how often the urge is gone after such a wait, and these small exercises in self-discipline will do wonders for your esteem.
4) Make bad food inconvenient – our ancestors lived in a time when sugar and fats were rare, so they needed to eat as much as possible when sugary and fatty foods were available. Obviously, such food is no longer a rarity, but our urge to binge on these foods is as strong as ever. While making low calorie food readily available and convenient helps, you also need to distance yourself from “trigger foods.” If you have a snack that you know you have a hard time resisting, make it rare. Have you ever eaten too many of your favorite cookies or chips? Did you promise yourself afterwards that it would never happen again? Keeping only enough that it would be reasonable to eat in one sitting means never having to make that promise to yourself again.
Tell a friend you are dieting – this does not have to be someone that will be dieting with you. In fact, a “diet buddy” can soon turn into a “guilt buddy” and their failures in dieting can turn into an excuse to fail in solidarity. Instead, simply tell someone that you know will ask you about it later. Better yet, announce your plans to cut back and lose weight through social media. It is a lot easier to pass up a second roll or another sandwich when you know that someone is going to hold you accountable later.
Eric Lancaster writes blogs about green living, composting, and healthy lifestyle tips for TeraGanix, Inc. Connect with him here!
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