10 Ways to Slim Your Habits

The official start to spring is just days away, which means that bikini-beach season will be here in 3 months! If you feel like your best body is hiding under the winter layers, it’s time to get started. You know that losing weight means burning off more calories than you’re taking in. Did you know that trimming 500 calories a day can help you shed to a 1 pound/week? Time to tweak some of your habits to move the scale in the right direction.

  1. Get enough sleep. The hormones that control hunger and fullness get out of whack when you consistently sleep less than 7 hours a night, which lead to a higher calorie intake during the day (and night) and weight gain. Turn in earlier and catch more zzzzzs.
  2. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer. Tuning into the tube means you tune out the sensation of satisfaction. So, when the program is over, you still feel hungry and go back for more. Turn it off and concentrate on the taste, texture, appearance, and aroma of your meal. Eating with all of your senses will fill you up and leave you satisfied.
  3. Listen to your gut. Pay attention to how full you feel and put down the fork when you’re about 80% full. Don’t forget that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the “I’m full” signal  from your tummy, so speed-eating makes it more likely that you’ll go back for seconds.
  4. Reconsider dining with a group. Research indicates that dining with 7 or more people can make you eat 96% more food.
  5. Eat mini-meals. Spread your calories out evenly throughout the day, eating every 2-4 hours. This gives you a steady stream of energy and keeps your metabolism humming along.
  6. Salad – yes; Toppings – no. A salad for lunch sounds like a healthy choice, until you count all of the add-ons: dressing, cheese, croutons, crunchy noodles, bacon, caramelized nuts, dried fruit. Load up your salad with as many veggies as possible, plus some lean protein, and splash of healthy fat (nuts, avocado, or olive oil).
  7. Don’t join the clean plate club. If you go to a restaurant, you should leave 25-50% of your meal (take it home for tomorrow’s lunch), as the average meal contains 1,000-1,200 calories.
  8. Use smaller plates and cups. Studies show that by downsizing your plates (9-10 inches instead of 12 in.), bowls, and cups (8 oz. instead of 16-20 oz.), you take less food and feel more satisfied because it looks like you have so much on there. Fool the eye and feel fuller.
  9. Swap it. Simple swaps, like 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream or mayo, will save you a lot of calories and artery-clogging saturated fat.
  10. Forget family-style. Platters of food on the table is an open invitation for second and third helpings. Serve yourself in the kitchen and then go eat at the table. If the extra food is out of sight…..

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