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Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

We’re drowning in opinions about how to slim down. Your cousin thinks he’s a weight loss expert, your co-worker insists she’s a weight loss expert, perhaps even your spouse has started chiming in. With all these opinions swarming about, you’re probably aching for strategies actually backed by science.

If you’re looking for shortcuts that might actually work, here are 8 weight loss strategies backed by science.

1. Check your weight daily

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be discouraging to step on the scale. You want to see a lower number, and you know it won’t happen overnight. Still, research says weighing yourself regularly could help you slim down. In one study, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University found that participants “who were weighing themselves daily lost significantly more weight than those who were not.”

2. Write down your weight loss goal

Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University found that people who wrote their goals down were 42% more likely to achieve them. This research study wasn’t specific to weight loss, but it certainly applies. If you need help setting a weight loss goal, this article will give you a framework.

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3. Limit liquid calories

Several research studies link liquid calories to weight gain and even cultural obesity. One study suggests this is partially because the calories in soda don’t fill you up like the calories in food, removing the natural instinct to stop.

If you decide to cut down your liquid calories, you can quench you thirst with our next strategy.

4. Drink more water before meals

A study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank 16 ounces of water before meals lost more weight than participants who did not. This is presumably because drinking the water helped them feel more full so they ate less during meals.

If you need a break from all this science, you might also enjoy learning that Khloe Kardashian says drinking more water was key to her weight loss.

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5. Start “crowding out” unhealthy foods by beginning your meals with healthy foods

This isn’t an actual research study, but New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston has a fascinating article about what she calls “crowding out.” Basically, this involves eating healthy foods first in your meals so you’ll be less hungry for the other stuff. The beauty of this strategy is it lets your stomach tell you when to stop eating instead of putting that burden on your brain. Freston recommends eating more foods that naturally contain fiber to crowd out other foods, saying, “the one dietary component most associated with weight loss is fiber consumption.” Click here for a great big list of high fiber foods.

Speaking of fiber…

6. Consider eating more beans

“A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University found that ‘a high-fibre bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss.’ Another study revealed that ‘bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts.’” That quote comes from the Lifehack.org article “10 Delicious Bean Recipes to Help You Lose Weight,” which is a great place to start if beans aren’t a regular part of your diet.

7. Sleep 7-9 hours every night

We all know we should get more sleep. We hear it so much the advice almost puts us to sleep. But do you realize just how much research shows getting enough sleep is important for weight loss?

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An article by Amy Paturel at WebMD drives the point home (bullets added for clarity):

  • “A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks.”
  • “A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of all foods, increasing weight gain.”
  • “And in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.”

By my count, that’s twenty studies that appear to encourage sleep for weight loss. Maybe we should all take the advice a bit more seriously.

8. Form healthy habits using the “Implementation Intention” strategy

Implementation intention might sound a bit obtuse, but just think of it as a handy way to form new habits. It revolves around setting goals using an “if/then” structure.

For example, if you want to start eating better, instead of just saying “I’m going to eat more beans,” you could say, “If I eat at a restaurant, I’ll order beans as my side dish” (Modified from Chapter 8, pages 137-138 of Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research).

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Can you see how an if/then goal is more powerful than just saying, “I want to start eating better”? This strategy helps you form habits by forcing you to set specific goals that have built-in triggers to remind you to take action. A meta-analysis of ninety-four research studies revealed that implementation intention can “improve the capacity of individuals to initiate and maintain behaviors that fulfill their goals in many domains.” Examples cited include eating healthy foods and exercising.

Which strategy will you try?

Hopefully this post has provided some peace of mind by reminding you there are still science-backed ways to slim down. Pick the strategy that speaks to you and give it a try. And please share this post with friends who might find it helpful.

Featured photo credit: Lose weight now/ Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

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Kyle Young

Operations Manager, GoinsWriter

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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