10 Tips to Jumpstart Weight Loss
- Eat Breakfast. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 78% of people who lose weight successfully eat breakfast. Breakfast sets the tone for your metabolic rate for the rest of the day. When you eat a nutritious breakfast, your body burns more calories than if you skip this important meal.
- Eat Slowly. It takes an average of 15 to 30 minutes for the human appetite centers to shut off during a meal. The more slowly we eat, the less hungry we will be with fewer calories. Take 20 minutes to finish your plate.
- Eat More in the Morning, Less in the Evening. Most of the calories you ingest in the morning will be used by your body during your daily activities. At night, those calories will be stored away as fat during your less active, sleeping hours.
- Drink Plenty of Water. Often, what we feel as hunger is actually thirst. Therefore, water can help you control your appetite by decreasing thirst. Water also causes stomach distention. This will signal your brain to shut off your hunger centers. Drinking water throughout the day will help you alleviate your hunger and prevent snacking prior to your next meal.
- Monitor Your Weight Regularly. People who self-monitor their weight frequently are able to lose weight more successfully than those who do not. Doing this will keep you on track and help you celebrate each step toward success.
- Walk Daily and Increase Your Activity Across the Board. Walking for any amount of time is better than staying home without physical activity. In fact, walking at a fast pace for a total of 60 minutes daily has been linked with successful weight loss. Sedentary life not only increases your weight but also is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart attack or stroke. Start slowly (10 minutes daily) and each week add 5 minutes to your walking routine. You can also increase your level of physical activity during the course of your daily routines. Examples: Park farther away from the entrance to the grocery store or mall. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take your dog for a longer or additional walk.
- Decrease Your Portions. Choose a salad-size plate (7-8 inches in diameter) rather than a dinner-size plate (9-10 inches). This has the effect of making you feel like you’re eating more.
- Count Your Steps. Pedometers are inexpensive and portable and will help you raise the bar on your walking. Make your goal to increase your number of steps by a certain amount each week (by 25% or 50%, for example). Knowing your pedometer is keeping score will help you stay motivated.
- Sleep More. Sleeping 8 hours every night helps reduce hunger during the day and will increase your metabolic rate (the ability of your body to burn calories).
- Take Half Your Meal Home. Restaurant servings are two to four times larger than regular portions. When eating out, ask for a to-go box when you place your order and put at least half of your meal in the box as soon as it is served. You can also split a meal with your dinner or lunch companion.