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Foods to Eat and Avoid to Keep the Weight Off (According to Science)

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Keep the Weight Off (According to Science)

Imagine this scenario: you’re considering investing money in a hot new stock. You’ve looked into several other stocks and really feel like this is the right one for you. You’ve read about several people striking it rich on this stock, and you’re about to pull the trigger and invest some dough.

At the last minute, you find out some insider information. The stock will likely net you a short-term gain, but there is an 80 percent chance you will lose all the money you gained along with your initial investment within 6 months to a year.

Would you still invest your hard-earned money after learning this?

Absolutely not.

So what does this have to do with weight loss?

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This: only only one out of five people is successful at losing weight and keeping it off. We know this, yet we still continue to pour billions of dollars into dietary supplements and diet programs that clearly don’t work.

Here’s a better solution: take the time to learn about what “healthy” really means (most people skip this step). Then apply that knowledge with a series of tiny steps.

Ready to get started? You’re about to find out what science says about the foods you should and shouldn’t eat to keep the weight off, and you’ll get some tips to get started along a healthier path.

Foods to Eat and Avoid

A clinical study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that the four eating habits associated with the most weight loss after six months were:

  • Eating less desserts
  • Eating out at restaurants less
  • Drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Avoiding fried foods

After four years, the four eating habits associated with keeping the weight off were:

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  • Eating fewer desserts.
  • Eating more fruits and veggies.
  • Drinking fewer sugary beverages.
  • Eating meat and cheese in moderation.

In another study that included over 120,000 healthy women and men and spanned 20 years, researchers determined the foods and drinks most responsible for weight gain were:

1. Potato chips

2. Potatoes

3. Sugar-sweetened beverages

4. Red meats

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5. Refined grains

6. Sugary foods

These are the foods you should and shouldn’t eat. If only it were that simple though, right? Not to worry, because here are some tips to help you start changing those unhealthy habits into healthy ones.

6 Tips to Keep the Weight Off

1. Eat out less.

If you eat at restaurants often, you’re going to have a much harder time keeping the weight off. Research shows fast food is detrimental to your health. And the average meal at chain restaurants has 1128 calories! That doesn’t include appetizers, drinks, and dessert either!

2. Eat more vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt.

Research shows these foods are associated with long-term weight loss.

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3. Turn your bad habits into good ones.

Habits make up a large part of our daily actions. When you create a new habit, you will partake in healthier behaviors without even thinking. That’s the secret to losing weight and keeping it off: make healthy eating and exercise automatic, routine behaviors. It’s easier than you think. You just need to start small.

4. Take the time to learn about what “healthy” really means.

Most people skip this step, and it’s why they keep failing every time they try and lose weight. I write a lot about the science of healthy behavior change on this site because understanding this stuff can help you retrain your brain to make healthier decisions. Keep soaking up as much knowledge as you can–just make sure what you’re reading is backed by clinical research studies.

5. Get your head in the right place.

Your mindset will have a huge impact on whether or not you can keep the weight off. The good news is, you can learn how to change your mindset into a healthy one.

6. Go public with your goal.

A research study found that telling your friends and family members about your weight loss goals can substantially increase your odds of achieving them. Lean on your support network and ask for help when you need it.

Use these tips to help you lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off. Long-term weight loss isn’t easy. That’s why you should stick with what works. Use these proven methods and you’ll drastically increase your odds of success.

Featured photo credit: Charlotte Astrid via flickr.com

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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