Looking for a sure-fire way to shed a few pounds? Eat less.
Okay, while this strategy might be effective, putting it into practice is admittedly harder than it sounds. There are many physiological, psychological, and social cues that can spark feelings of hunger. Trying to suppress your appetite and overcome the urge to grab a snack can quickly become exhausting and lead to disappointment.
Instead of relying on your willpower to keep your appetite under control, here is a 5-step process that will help you lose weight without focusing on how much you’re eating.
1. Boost your metabolism with a few minutes of exercise
One obvious way to counter-balance the number of calories you eat in a given day is to exercise. Research has shown that exercise can boost your metabolism by up to 37%, meaning that your body will continue burning up calories long after your exercise session has ended.
Even better, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to reap the benefits. Short bursts of intense activity can stimulate your metabolism even more than a full-blown workout.
Here’s one example of a 5-minute workout that will turn your body into a calorie-burning machine.
2. Start with the right appetizer before each meal
Not all appetizers are created equal, so it’s important to be clear: filling up on pre-meal garlic bread isn’t your ticket to losing weight! Instead, choose a lower-calorie appetizer, such as soup or salad, before every meal.
Eating a healthy appetizer will help you feel more full when it comes time to chow down on the main course. Main dishes often consist of higher-calorie foods, which is why starting with a lighter soup or salad has been shown to reduce the total calories consumed at a meal by 12% or more.
3. Include at least one super-filling food
Some foods are very satiating, meaning that they fill you up faster and keep you feeling full for longer than other foods you might choose. The most satiating foods are generally those that are high in water content, high in fibre, or are loaded with protein.
In order to keep your hunger in check, it’s important to make sure your meals include at least one satiating food. See the infographic below to find foods that will satisfy your hunger without leading to a subsequent sugar crash.
4. Slow down by chewing more
Many people overeat simply because they eat too quickly. It is important to give your brain time to recognize how much and what type of food you’ve just eaten so that it can regulate the hunger you feel.
One very simple way to slow down your meals is by chewing more. Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow:
“Drink your food and chew your drinks.” — Lorene Sauro, Holistic Nutritionist
This is suggesting that you should chew your food so much that it is liquified in your mouth. This will require more chewing for certain foods (e.g. meat) and less for others (e.g. pasta). As for the suggestion to “chew your drinks”…
5. Avoid consuming liquid calories
Drinking sugary drinks like soda, alcohol, or even fruit juice is a guaranteed way to rack up calories without ever feeling very satisfied. That’s why these high-sugar calorie sources are sometimes called “stealth calories” — they add up quickly without you even realizing it.
To effortlessly keep your appetite in check, refer back to our rule of thumb: “Drink your food and chew your drinks.”
Drinks that have substance, such as smoothies or pulpy vegetable juices, are excellent for weight management because they are often high in fibre. Unlike fruit juices, which are processed to have the most fibrous part of the fruit removed, a “chewable” drink includes whole fruits and vegetables. Here’s one to try today:
Featured photo credit: Yummy/Alessandro Valli via flickr.com