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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

Three Scientific Hacks to Healthy Eating with Little Effort

Three Scientific Hacks to Healthy Eating with Little Effort

The first most common new year resolution everyone set is usually about his or her career. Everyone hopes and wants to do better in a new year compared to the previous – to get promoted, to close bigger clients, to grow your brand further, and to double or triple your income.

And I bet the second most common goal of many is to improve their health or to lose weight. In fact, these are simple goals to describe but difficult feats to pull off for many.

We all know in order to lose weight, we should take a closer look and better control of our diet- eat more greens, less processed foods, more fruits, fewer desserts – alright, you don’t need me to repeat these. It’s clear that we all know what to do, but…

How to do it? Making it simpler? Making it easier? And making it more effective?

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Make Good Use of the Optical Illusion

The Delboeuf illusion has long been known to cause us to misjudge the size of identical circles when they are surrounded by larger circles of varying sizes. The more “white space” around the circle, the smaller it appears.

Research[1] done by Professors Brian Wansink and Koert van Ittersum explored how a well-established optical illusion leads us to make inaccurate estimates of serving size, depending on what size plate they are presented on.

For example, research was conducted in a fitness camp where campers who were given a larger bowl tended to consume 16% more cereal than other campers who had a smaller bowl. However, campers with larger bowls perceived they consumed 7% less cereal than other campers, despite the fact that they were eating more.[2]

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use smaller plate

    What can we do to combat this powerful effect? Simply being aware of the effects of the Delboeuf illusion may not be enough to overcome it.

    The best solution to change our eating behavior is to design our environment by replacing the plates and bowls we’re using. We can take advantage of this visual “trick” by manipulating the plates we use to serve various foods. Healthy foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits should be served in larger plates to encourage consumption, while less healthy foods should be served on smaller plates to trick ourselves into feeling satisfied with less.

    By using a smaller plate, we trick ourselves that we have enough, which helps us to break the habit of overeating. At the same time, it will also help you to reduce a significant amount of food wastage since you will never make or serve more food than you can finish.

    Adjust the Triggers

    Habits form in a loop called the habit formation cycle. It starts with a trigger, then the routine – any good or bad habit – and finally the reward.

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    Most rewards for the unhealthy eating pattern such as overeating and poor food choice are heavily tied to the satisfaction of our taste buds. We love the taste and we crave it, and that’s why we keep repeating the habit loop of the bad eating pattern.

    get rid of the triggers

      But wait a minute?

      The best way to break a bad habit is by substituting a new routine to the habit loop. However, it’s hard for us to switch from eating chips and crackers to healthy salads and green juice. The alternative solution to break the habit loop is by reducing our exposure to the triggers. And the most common trigger of the bad eating pattern is the visual of the food. In other words, we usually only crave for unhealthy foods when we see them.

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      The best solution: make unhealthy invisible and healthy food obvious.

      • Never shop around or nearby the snack counters; spend more time around the vegetables and fruits areas.
      • Keep your snacks in a closed cabinet, or even better, don’t buy them.
      • Wrap processed foods, cakes, pizzas using the aluminum foil and wrap vegetables, fruits and lean meats using transparent wrapping sheet when keeping them in your refrigerator.

      Lifestyle Change Instead of Diet Change

      One of the core factors why most people fail to lose fat is they see it as a one-time event. When you search for fat loss tips online, most articles you see is about how much fat or weight someone loses in a certain period – usually short – of time. Then, everyone is fired up about what this person ate or what program he/she followed during that period of time to achieve that.

      However, losing weight is not a one-time event; it’s not a sprint race. There is no one magical program, solution, food, or supplement that turns everything around – poor eating habits, lack of movement, bad sleeping routine – and helps you lose weight instantly.

      Healthy eating habits (lifestyle change) > Fat-loss diet (temporary plan)

      When approaching our diet – maybe we should stop calling it diet, instead, our eating plan, we should all aim for a lifestyle change rather than the food choice constraints and diet rules. Define yourself as a healthy person; start adjusting your eating habits and behaviors to achieve optimal physical health for the long run.

      What is the best way to achieve this? Change your environment to change your behavior.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Dean Yeong

      Self-improvement writer and performance coach

      Three Scientific Hacks to Healthy Eating with Little Effort Not Making Progress? 3 Ways to Get Moving Again what to read next What to Read Next? 30 Inspiring Books That Will Expand Your Mind 7 Best Ways of Learning Effectively 6 Counter-intuitive Methods to Make Your Life Better that No One Talks About

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      Last Updated on June 9, 2021

      How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

      How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

      Weight loss has become a sticky subject of confusion, conflicting information and myths. Before you know it, you’re on the crash-course diet from hell and getting no-where! Sustainable weight loss is not a fad diet or program, it’s a lifestyle. With these 20 proven weight loss tips, you can lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks. Best of all, you will set yourself up for continued progress every week!

      1. The Golden Rule: Calories In vs. Calories Out

      This simple fact simply cannot be overruled – to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume.

      Use tools to help track and measure your daily intake then slowly taper down. Start with 500kcal steps or lower until you observe a consistent weekly loss.

      Never go dangerously low, eating much below 1200-1600 can stall your progress and harm your health!

      2. Set Attainable Goals And Track Your Progress

      Achieving each goal will help spur you on, so be realistic and start small. Here is an example of an easily achievable goal progression:

      • Lose weight each week
      • Lose 1-3 pounds per week
      • Lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks
      • Fit into size 30 jeans!

      3. Consider Skipping Breakfast

      Breakfast is commonly considered the most important meal of the day, however, it is not so when it comes to weight loss.

      Intermittent fasting can be a useful fat-loss tool. Restrict yourself to a smaller eating window by skipping breakfast and only eating from 12-8pm. You will reduce your daily calorie intake without restricting your lunch and dinner!

      4. Drink More Water (Especially Before Meals)

      Drinking water an hour before eating has two proven benefits for weight loss:

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      • 24-30% boost in metabolism for 1-1.5 hours after intake[1]
      • Increased chance of consuming less calories which further supports weight loss[2]

      5. Make Coffee Your New Best Friend

      Coffee has received a bad reputation in the past, however, it should be known that quality coffee is rich in antioxidants and beneficial to weight loss.

      The caffeine content will boost your body’s metabolism by up to 10%,[3] leading to a 10-29% increase in fat burning power. Take it black, with no added sugar!

      6. Make Green Tea Your Second Best Friend

      Green tea provides a milder dose of caffeine but it is abundant in wonderful catechins. These antioxidants will work with the caffeine in a perfect fat burning harmony!

      7. Always Check For Added Sugar

      Sugar has demonstrated worryingly strong links with obesity, diabetes[4] and heart disease[5] (to name a few).

      But even if you do not add it yourself, you should check the ingredients of your sauces or packaged foods. Even self-proclaimed health foods can be riddled with added sugar!

      8. Cut Out Simple Carbohydrates

      Simple/refined carbohydrates are quickly absorbed, spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels in the process.[6] As a result, you will feel hunger and cravings come back again in no time!

      Avoid all sugar or refined grains by avoiding the following foods:

      • Cookies, candy and sweets
      • Packaged cereals
      • White bread and rice
      • Cakes

      9. Scale Down Your Portion Sizes

      It pays to become aware of how much you are eating, exercise portion control and slowly scale it down.

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      Even small reductions of 10-20% are often enough to tip the balance and trigger weight loss. Try measuring your portions more carefully and don’t underestimate the power of using smaller bowls![7]

      10. Keep Healthy Food On Standby for Stacks

      The power of temptation is mighty, so why not remove it completely?

      Only keep healthy snacks within reach, then you won’t be able to binge on junk food! Here are some healthy ideas to stock your cupboard:

      • Whole fruit
      • Handful of nuts
      • Hard boiled eggs
      • Vegetables

      11. Spice Up Your Life

      Breathe new life into your dishes and reinforce your weight loss efforts with the power of cayenne pepper! Capsaicin from cayenne pepper and other spicy foods helps to ramp up metabolism and decrease appetite.[8]

      12. Top Up Your Protein Intake

      Protein rich foods not only keep you fuller for longer[9] but burn more energy during digestion. Studies have shown that swapping calories for whey protein supplements can boost weight loss whilst increasing lean muscle![10]

      Alternatively, here are a number of protein-rich food sources:

      • Lean beef
      • Skinless chicken breasts
      • Eggs
      • Salmon
      • Low-fat yogurt

      13. Balance Your Diet With Complex Carbs

      Consuming complex carbs will produce a sustained energy release and keep blood sugar levels manageable. You can easily keep hunger and cravings at bay with these nutrient dense complex carbs:

      • Vegetables
      • Fruit
      • Brown rice
      • Wholegrains
      • Beans and legumes

      14. Forget About Fast Food

      Not matter how healthy it may claim to be, fast food is almost always laden with heart-clogging trans fats,[11] excessive sugar and salt.

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      Worse yet, these meals are high in calories whilst low in nutritional value, making them a terrible choice for fuel. Before you know it, you will have broken the cardinal rule of calories in vs. calories out!

      15. Watch Out for “Hidden Calories”

      There’s no need to completely forgo your favorite condiments, just make sure you are aware of their true caloric impact. It’s easy to go overboard and negate much of your hard work!

      Go easy with the following condiments and toppings, they are surprisingly heavy in calories:

      • Mayonnaise
      • Salad dressing
      • Cream
      • Cheese
      • Butter
      • Oils

      16. Choose Low-Medium GI Foods

      High GI foods sources cause sugar levels to shoot up, the resultant spike in insulin will actually encourage dreaded fat storage![12]

      Check out the GI scale and choose low-medium GI foods. Your insulin levels will remain under control, you will feel fuller for longer and find it easier to lose weight!

      17. Opt For Weight Training Over Cardio

      Weight training burns a significant amount of calories, keeping you strong, fit and healthy in the process. It’s more effective than cardio for body recomposition as it helps preserve essential muscle mass whilst you lose weight.[13]

      Studies have also shown a significant increase in metabolic rate both during and after your workout,[14] further supporting your weight loss efforts!

      Choose a routine that uses compound lifts such as Presses, Squats and Deadlifts. These exercises recruit the largest amount of muscles per movement, ideal for maintaining lean muscle mass and trimming body fat.

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      18. Go Walking or Cycling

      Consistent small actions soon add up to big changes. For this reason, why not choose to walk or cycle whenever you can? You will burn more calories as you go about your day without the need for further diet restrictions.

      You can burn more calories as you go about your day, without any further diet restriction. If you’re physically able there is no excuse, take the stairs over escalators and lifts!

      19. Get Enough Sleep

      Sleep is highly underrated for weight loss. Forget about the 6-hour minimum claim, many of us require 8-9 hours to operate at peak efficiency.

      Both duration and quality of sleep will have a great influence on hormones that control body composition. In fact, poor sleep has shown worrying links to obesity, increasing the risk in adults by 55%![15]

      20. Be Careful Of Liquid Calories!

      We all know alcohol dehydrates and damages our liver and kidneys. But it can also thwart weight loss efforts as an unexpected source of calories.

      You may be surprised to know a beer can equate to 150kcal, 125kcal for a glass of red wine and a whopping 400Kcal for a single sweet Piña Colada! Instead, try sticking to tonic water with a slice of lime, your body will thank you!

        So there you have the 20 simple lifestyle tips that will support you in achieving healthy weight loss. Adopt as many as you can and you will easily lose 10 pounds or more in 3 weeks!

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        Featured photo credit: Lecic via shutterstock.com

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