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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

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Scott Christ

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

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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