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40 Weight Loss Tips Backed By Science

40 Weight Loss Tips Backed By Science

Most weight loss diet tips center around food and exercise. Now new studies are indicating that there may be a lot more to weight loss than we think. Here are 40 weight loss tips backed by science which you may not know about. More research may have to be done before these become mainstream but they could work well for you, so why not give it a shot?

Mindset and lifestyle.

1. Tidy your desk.

Yes, the state of your desk will affect whether you make a healthy snack choice or not! One study at the University of Minnesota shows that it not only helps in making wise food choices but also in making good business decisions.

2. Decorate your fridge with low calorie food pictures.

Experts now tell us that low calorie food pics or photos can have a beneficial effect in keeping us on track when we get those awful cravings. They help to remind us of our weight loss goals. Food image viewing has been investigated and is reported in the Appetite Journal. Research shows that images of high calorie foods has the opposite effect.

3. Write motivating notes.

Make sure you put these two notes on your computer screen, desk or wherever you spend a lot of time.

  • Stay focused!
  • Never give up!

Studies show that motivation is an important element in any weight loss program.

4. Think long term.

You are not just counting calories or measuring inches. You are in this for the long term health benefits. Remind yourself that heart disease, blood pressure and diabetes are less of a threat if you keep at it.

5. Wear your workout clothes when shopping.

Researchers at Northwestern University have found that wearing certain clothes will help you with your thought process in keeping your fitness goals. They call this phenomenon ‘enclothed cognition’.

6. Take a multivitamin.

The International Journal of Obesity published a study on obese women who took a daily multivitamin. They did better on losing body fat than those in the placebo group. This study suggests this simple trick may help you to eat less as your body does not feel the need for so many nutrients via your food intake.

7. Don’t lock away your beach wear.

Keep these in view as they can aid in keeping your mindset laser sharp on your weight loss objectives. According to Joshua C. Klapow a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, you may have to ask yourself a question such as: ‘If I stop my diet, how will I look or feel in six months from now?’ when you feel motivation shrinking. This will help you to review the pros and cons.

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8. Download an app.

There are lots of apps for weight watchers. They are great for keeping track of your progress and offer loads of recipe ideas as well as reminders, inspiring quotes, coaching and meetings.

9. Sleep in the dark.

An interesting research at Ohio State University shows that mice who slept in total darkness were less likely to put on weight or snack during the night. Sleeping in total darkness has lots of other benefits such as a more restful sleep, which is why we are not going to get up for a snack.

10. Don’t watch too much TV.

Better keep watching TV to a minimum as the commercials for fattening foods are a temptation you can do without. Most studies show that TV food advertising increases snacking during and after those seductive ads. Children are at an even greater risk.

11. Choose your place carefully at the buffet.

Stephen Gullo gives advice about grazing at the buffet in his book, The Thin Commandments: The Ten No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss. He recommends avoiding the center seats as that is where all the bread and chips tend to congregate. The end of the table is a much safer place!

12. Turn down the thermostat.

You use calories to keep warm. Experts now say that you should sleep in a cooler environment as that not only helps you burn a few calories but also you will sleep much better. This was the conclusion of a study at The National Institute of Health Clinical Center.

Exercise.

13. Dress to kill when you workout.

Look good in your workout clothes. Buy a set to last you a week or two so that you always look great. Studies show motivation can increase if you can show off your best features while downplaying those areas that have to be worked on.

14. Stretch while watching a movie.

Use stretching to relax and keep flexible. Some people say that an hour of a yoga type workout can actually burn around 300 calories.

15. Use a stand-up desk.

Any movement will help to burn calories. Also, using a stand-up or treadmill desk will add a few additional health benefits. Anything is better than sitting down all day.

16. Exercise in the morning if you can.

Studies show that when you work out in the morning, you have more energy, work harder and get better results. Getting your exercise done first thing gives you a great sense of achievement.

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17. Download your favourite music.

Music and exercise make a great pair. Look at what you get. You can feel less pain and tiredness because it distracts you and also increases your metabolism. You will also be in a great mood.

18. Stay hydrated.

Water helps but drinks such as green tea are even better. The experts say that it contains a catechin called EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), which helps to boost your metabolism and that means more calories burnt.

Food.

19. Have a sweet at breakfast!

Weird, no? A study done at Tel Aviv University found that having a good breakfast with something sweet was better for weight watchers than a smaller, healthier breakfast. But there is a great debate on this one. Some dieticians argue that a balanced breakfast is best.

20. Drink some hot water before eating.

The secret here is that this will make you feel fuller more quickly and you will eat less. The University of Nebraska studies on this and other weight loss tips are very interesting and worth reading.

21. Have a snack before you are invited out.

Worried about eating too much at your friend’s place? The best solution is to eat a small yogurt or apple before leaving the house. Research shows that any food with water content is useful before main meals so that you do not ruin your appetite or your diet!

22. Use small plates.

At the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, researchers gave volunteers smaller and bigger bowls. Those who had to eat from the bigger ones were serving themselves generous portions, about 53% more than those with the smaller bowls.

23. Serve food on red plates.

Believe it or not, the color of the plates can make a difference to how much you eat! Volunteers were given red, blue and white plates to use while snacking on popcorn and chocolate chips. Those eating from the red plates ate less and the reason seems to be that the color contrast is key. It makes us more mindful of how much we are eating. It could also be that red is usually a warning sign.

24. Cut up your food really small.

When you do this, the food takes up more space on the plate. It helps you to keep your portion control in check and it also makes it easier to feel satiated.

25. Put the extra food away immediately.

Let us imagine that you have made lots of food and there will certainly be leftovers as that saves you time. The problem becomes acute if we leave that extra food in view as we are tempted to eat it. As soon as you serve your portions, store the extra food in the fridge or freezer. Out of sight, out of mind!

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26. Eat slowly.

Take time to savor your food. This is impossible when we eat on the go. But at home, wait a few minutes before going on to the second course. This is very useful in giving our bodies the necessary time to signal that we are full. Normally it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to register fullness so the slower we eat, the better. The neuroscientist Jyoti Mishra Ramanathan talks about the importance of learning to really taste our food.

27. Eat spicier food.

Spicy food boosts your metabolism. Look what the researchers found at Purdue University in Indiana. People who had just half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in their soup ate 60 fewer calories at their next meal than those who had just plain soup. Spicier food also slows down the eating process.

28. Eat more often.

Nutritionists have found that eating six small meals at regular intervals may be much better for us than eating three big ones. But the key issue here is that we have to make sure that we are eating healthy, low calorie food. Eating more often does help with cravings and that is helpful.

29. Eat more often at home.

At home you are much more in control, so it makes good sense. When eating out, you are going to pay a high price in every sense. You will have to grapple with high calorie intake and also processed foods which are not that great. Just think that the average burger has 700 calories, 1,529 mg of salt and 40 grams of fat!

30. Eat carbs in the evening.

This may seem weird because we are supposed to burn these off during the day. But one study at Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that when one group of obese people were given carbs in the evening, they managed to lose weight and more body fat than those who had them during the day.

31. Drink a glass of wine.

This may appear to go against mainstream thought but there are several studies which show that wine in moderation can actually help with weight loss. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed 19,000 women for 13 years. Those women who had one or two alcoholic drinks daily had put on less weight than the non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. Nobody knows why but many women who drink a little wine tend to burn more calories after drinking than men.

32. Forget about sweeteners.

Scientists have begun to wonder why sweeteners instead of sugar do not produce any measurable results. They now believe that the digestion system gets confused with the absence of additional calories from the saccharin and it fails to burn any calories at all. Dieters are much better off with natural sugar in fruit and yogurt.

33. Limit your antihistamines.

Joseph Ratliff from Yale School of Medicine has discovered that the typical antihistamines such as Claritin may block certain histamines which are used in the breakdown of fat. You may have to do even more exercise to compensate or consider an allergy shot or corticosteroids.

34. Eat some chocolate.

Researchers at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have published some interesting research on chocolate and weight loss. They found that the flavonols in dark chocolate may play a role in weight loss. As chocolate also contains sugar and fat, this has to be applied in moderation!

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35. Pay in cash.

Strange as it may seem, paying in cash for food at restaurants may be much better for your weight than using your plastic! Cornell University followed over 2,000 students as they paid for food at their cafeterias. Where students had to pay by cash almost half (42%) made wise food choices. They were also buying more fruit (more than 20%). In the cafeterias where credit cards were only accepted, less than a third (31%) chose nutritious food. Nobody is sure why this happens so more research will have to be done.

36. Ramp up your CLA.

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and it is the most common Omega 6 fatty acid. You can get the best type of CLA from beef and dairy products if they have been grass fed. Numerous studies have shown that CLA can reduce body fat mass while increasing lean body mass.

37. Smell the peppermint.

Another strange fad? Well no, because the theory is that the strong smell may actually distract you from your craving for food. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University asked volunteers to smell peppermint oil every two hours for 5 days. They were surprised to find that their hunger levels were way down and they dropped their calorie intake by 3,000 during the experiment.

38. Eat in front of a mirror.

Have you ever watched yourself eat? Probably not, given that dining areas at home are usually full of cupboards and have few mirrors. But researchers at Arizona State University have found that when people ate in front of a mirror, their food intake was much lower.

39. Spray the back of your hand with vanilla.

Having problem with cravings for candies and cakes? One study at St. George’s Hospital in London may provide you with the answer. When the volunteers sprayed the back of their hands with vanilla-scented spray, they found it much easier to control their cravings.

40. Forget the guilt.

If you ever stray from the straight and narrow and treat yourself to something really fattening, forget the guilt! This is the advice from Kristen Neff of the University of Texas and author of Self Compassion. You will only overeat when you are stressed out and guilt causes stress!

Let us know in the comments what tricks you use to keep your weight loss goals.

Featured photo credit: Girl Writing in her Moleskine Diary/ VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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