7 secrets to successful weight loss
Losing weight is probably on everyone’s list of goals. But what is the best way to shed pounds? Here are some tips to help you lose weight successfully all year round
1. Eat regularly
“Skipping meals can have a negative impact on your metabolism ,” says Aviva Allen, a nutritionist in Toronto. Your body may begin to store extra fat for more missed meals. Instead of eating less, eat smaller, more nutritious meals and snacks, ideally every three hours , and try not to eat after 7 p.m. when your metabolism is slowing down.
2. Reduce your portions
Simple evidence: eat less and you will lose weight . It’s a fact that over the past 50 years, restaurant portions have gotten very big and our waistlines have followed suit. We have become accustomed to consuming larger portions to the detriment of our health.
To counter this habit, use smaller dishes for your meals. Less room on the plate automatically means portion control. And when ordering or buying high-calorie foods, choose the smallest portions.
3. Eliminate crash diets
Diets tend to make you see food as the enemy and not as a source of nutritional value and well-being. Yo-yo diets, characterized by continuous weight gain and loss, are bad for your health. If you suddenly decrease your food intake, your survival-focused body will slow down its metabolic rate in order to store energy more efficiently . This explains why dieters need snacks like chocolate, a quick energy boost, and why weight loss slows significantly after the first few weeks.
4. Do not rush your meals
Eat slowly. It sometimes takes almost half an hour for the brain to realize that the stomach is full. Do not eat too quickly: this is the main reason why we eat too much. Always put the fork down between bites.
5. Change the look of your kitchen
Inspect your refrigerator: what do you see? Two jars of mayonnaise, leftover cheese and several containers of sweet condiments? Open the cupboards: what’s the state of play for cookies and crackers? Honestly evaluate what you keep on hand. If there are still chips, you will eat them. If you’re saving Goldfish crackers for the kids, you can be sure they won’t be the only ones enjoying them. Get rid of anything that represents a temptation or deviation from your weight loss goal. Be ruthless. Donate any food or unopened cans to a food bank.
6. Count calories, even if you exercise
“There aren’t enough hours in the day to burn off all the calories from a Happy Meal,” says Dr. Arya Sharma, Chair of Obesity and Cardiovascular Research at the University of Alberta.
Exercise provides countless health benefits. It helps keep weight down by building muscle and giving you a better body image. But to lose weight permanently, reducing calorie intake remains the solution to follow, adds Dr. Sharma.
If you’re embarrassed about counting your calories, Vancouver Registered Dietitian Jessica Bedge offers this advice: “As trite as it sounds, you can’t go wrong with Canada’s Food Guide . I’d rather people consider recommended portion sizes, rather than calorie counts.”
To keep your weight down, she suggests that 80% of your daily caloric intake comes from foods recommended by the Food Guide. There’s 20% left for treats like cookies, chips, and cocktails. “This represents the equivalent of a small dessert each day”, she specifies.
7. Know why you overeat
Thinking about it, can you figure out what has caused you to overeat in the past? It’s important to understand whether you’re looking for food when you’re stressed or when you’re looking for comfort.
Sometimes the triggers for overeating are hormonal . For example, the hormonal changes produced by premenstrual syndromes can give women cravings for salty or sweet foods. Another factor can be mood. “The typical example is depression ,” explains Dr. David Lau, President of Obesity Canada. When a person is depressed, they may become physically inactive. And during a bad patch, she turns to something that could comfort her, and very often she can become addicted to food.