Drink more water
Everyone tells you to drink more water for a reason. It regulates your system, flushes body waste and cushions sensitive tissues. By drinking more water, you’ll have brighter skin and a clearer mind. Plus, this diet hack makes sure your thirst will be quenched, making sure you don’t mistake it for hunger and end up eating more than you need to. With a filled water bottle on-hand all the time, it helps you resist the urge to spend on sugar loaded drinks.
Plus, you burn more calories with a higher water intake. This study showed that women who did nothing but drank more water lost an additional 2kg annually. To get the best effects, you should drink it warm, in intervals and in moderate amounts.
Use the right dinnerware
Finding it hard to stick to portion control despite a strict diet? The type of dinnerware counts. A study from Cornell University showed that those who served themselves pasta with Alfredo sauce on a white plate and pasta with tomato sauce on a red plate apportioned 22 per cent more than those with high contrast between their food and plates. The study authors were also the same ones who found that people perceive dining portions to be smaller if served on a larger plate.
Serve up food on plates with high contrast in colours and use smaller sized dinnerware to ensure you eat less, weight watchers. And if you don’t want to replace your pretty plates just yet, using high contrast backgrounds like a tablecloth of placemats can also help to reduce over-serving by up to 10 per cent!
Eat natural sugars
Sugar is often deemed the devil, but it isn’t, if you consume the right amount. We all need a little sugar to survive. It gives you the energy which all your cells need to function. Get it from natural sources like fruits instead of processed foods. Plus, natural foods give you other nutrients like vitamins, minerals and proteins to help your body function at its best.
Go easy on the salt
It is key to include salt in food not just because of the salty flavour, but because sodium is needed by the body. Acting as electrolytes, they balance fluids, help with nerve transmission and muscle function. Lack of sodium can lead to higher blood cholesterol and resistance to insulin.
Salt helps your body function – when taken in moderation. Excessive sodium can contribute to risks of cardiovascular disease, impaired cognitive functions in the brain, swelling and bloating.
Add black pepper to your diet
Black pepper has reportedly been used for centuries to treat ailments such as diarrhoea and gastric discomfort. But who knew that these little balls might also keep you lean? Researchers from South Korea have discovered that piperine, the compound that gives the spice its distinctive taste, could be effective at slowing new fat cell formation. Scientists are now looking into using piperine in the treatment of obesity-related problems.
Take your time
Food takes time to settle in, and you usually start to feel full after 20 minutes. By giving your body time, you will be able to check if you really need the extra helping, or if you’re just shovelling food down with hungry hands. Chew slowly and more mindfully too to burn calories as you eat. Slow eaters can burn up to 2000 extra calories a month, just by chewing more.
Keep a food diary
Keeping a food diary really works, weight watchers! In a study of 123 obese participants, experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the US found that women who noted down what they ate lost an average of 2.7kg more than those who didn’t.
Find tracking your daily intake a chore? “Every other day is a good starting point,” says Pooja Vig, nutritionist and co-founder at The Nutrition Clinic. “But it should capture at least one day over the weekend as people’s eating habits tend to change drastically then.” From your notes, identify three foods that aren’t nutritious and which you should cut down on, and take note of occasions when you overeat.
Have more greens
Your parents have been telling you to eat your veggies since you were a child. They are nutrient dense, easy to cook and help bodily functions. Low in calories and natural sugar, you can have a pile of greens and the only thing increasing would be your fullness (thanks to fibre) and all kinds of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Don’t exclude anything
It’s all about balance. Crash diets, deprivation and sticking to only certain food groups are not recommended. In fact, most doctors and nutritionists recommend going slow. It’s more sustainable to slowly cut down your food portions and tweak your food groups (less carbs, more proteins and greens). Working out also helps you burn calories more quickly!
Keep your weight loss plans a secret
Quit announcing your diet plan – it may not be such a good idea after all. Turns out, keeping it a secret is the key to success, according to a New York University study. The rationale: receiving positive reactions from others could make you think you’ve accomplished your goal and cause you to slack off. So pipe it down, and only share your scheme – if you must – with the trusted few who can keep you on course, suggests study author, Professor Peter Gollwitzer.