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Six surprising habits that accelerate fat loss

Six surprising habits that accelerate fat loss

If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. No question about that. But what if losing a pound a month isn’t enough for you? What if you want to lose weight fast? Once you’ve cut out the soda and candy and started working out a few times a week, you can follow these six rules to multiply the effect of your diet and exercise program, dramatically accelerating your weight loss.

1.  Drink more water, especially before meals

Everyone knows we need water to live. But few people realize how much we need. The vast majority of people live in a state of mild, chronic dehydration, which leads to low energy and weight gain. For maximum well-being and fat loss, make an effort to drink at least half a gallon of water a day, and drink at least 16 ounces of water before each meal, and any time you feel low on energy.

For this to work, you need to drink water- not soda, not coffee or juice, but actual water. If you find that difficult, try flavoring your water with a very small amount of fruit or cucumber.

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2.  Spend more time chewing your food

One popular theory holds that eating more slowly will help people lose weight. The reason is, there’s a delay between when you swallow food and when that food causes your brain to reduce its sense of hunger, and this delay causes people to eat more than necessary at the end of their meal. Experts such as the early 20th century dietician Horace Fletcher have long suggested that eating more slowly will result in eating less.

A recent study from China confirms the truth of this theory: it showed that obese men ate more quickly than non-obese men. It also found that men who chew each bite forty times lost 12% more fat than men who chewed each bite only fifteen times. If you want to lose weight, make a commitment to chew each bite of food at least twenty times, then raise that number by five every week.

3.  Take a walk after every meal

An old roommate of mine once told me that he lost ten pounds when he started taking a walk after every meal. At the time, I couldn’t believe it – a walk is hardly even exercise at all, and certainly doesn’t compare to a serious gym session! But more recently, I’ve realized that I was wrong: walking after meals really is one of those little fat loss tricks that can make a huge difference.

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Now, walking really isn’t the best exercise and doesn’t compare to a serious workout – I was right about that. But it turns out that there’s something else going on here: getting even light activity after a meal activates your GLUT-4 receptors, causing your muscles to absorb all of that glucose you just ate. What’s more, this prevents the meal from spiking your insulin levels the way it would otherwise. So follow my old roommate’s advice: take a ten minute walk after every meal.

4.  Use cold temperatures to make fat work for you

Now here’s the most surprising thing you’ll read all week: not all fat is bad for you. Most of your fatty tissue is white fat, which just stores energy. That’s what you think of when you think of fat. But you also have a small amount of brown fat, which burns energy to keep you warm. You can dramatically accelerate fat loss by exposing your body to cold temperatures to stimulate brown fat growth.

There are several ways to do this. You can keep your home a little bit colder, or wear lighter clothing throughout the day. You can drink a glass of ice water every morning and every evening. You can also target brown fat more directly, bt applying cold directly to it. Your brown fat is located in your neck and on your upper chest and back, so you can stimulate it by taking a cold shower and aiming the water there, or by applying an ice pack to the base of your neck.

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5.  Add lemon juice, honey and cinnamon to your meals

It’s well-known that healthier food tends to be that which your body absorbs more slowly, while junk foods such as sodas are often digested very quickly. Thankfully, there are ways to make your body digest any food more slowly. Adding lemon juice and cinnamon to your meals appears to slow the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine, which has been shown to improve insulin and blood sugar control. Replacing table sugar with a small amount of honey also seems to improve blood sugar levels, most likely because honey, too, is digested more slowly than other sugars.

6.  Take photos of every meal you eat

Most people don’t need to learn more about what they should and should not eat. They have a good diet, but they just don’t follow it. For most people, the missing ingredient isn’t another food they need to add or subtract from their diet; it’s awareness and accountability. You need to be keeping track of just how much you really cheat on your diet.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Science says that taking photos of your food is several times more effective than writing a food journal. To keep yourself accountable, start a dedicated Instagram account or Facebook photo album, and upload a photo of every meal you eat to it. You’ll pay more attention to your eating habits, and you’ll feel some pressure to eat healthy knowing your friends can see what you eat.

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Featured photo credit: Abnehmen/Butz.2013 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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