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Habits of Successful Dieters

Before and After BMI

October 18, 2011

Habits of Successful Dieters

Doing diet consults all day, I observe certain diet blunders patients make consistently that prevent weight loss and lead to weight gain. I have also noticed the healthy habits that patients develop that keep them on the road to successful weight loss and a healthy physique. Below are some of the best fat-fighting tips I have observed work for patients as well as research to back up their effectiveness. Start committing them to your daily routine and you will start to drop excess pounds.

Eat Breakfast

A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. There is a reason it is called the most important meal of the day! Eating a nutritious morning meal jumpstarts your metabolism and prevents you from overindulging throughout the day. For optimal results, choose a breakfast dish with a healthy balance of protein and fiber like egg omelet with broccoli, bell pepper and onion added.

Eat and Early Dinner

Experts have gone back and forth about whether eating late leads to weight gain, but a recent study published in the journal Obesity found a solid link. Northwestern University researchers looked at the eating and sleeping patterns of 52 adults and found that those who regularly ate after 8 p.m. ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. I recommend patients stop eating three hours before going to bed. Then while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.

Eat a Boring Diet

Researchers at the University of Buffalo discovered that people who ate macaroni and cheese everyday took in significantly fewer calories than those who ate it only once a week. The reason was the novelty of new foods drives us to consume more, so by removing the novelty, we feel fuller faster. The main take away point is that the more routines you establish, the more your belly will shrink. Start with one meal, if you find yourself scratching your head at lunch every day at noon, you will end up eating impulsively and taking in more calories. Instead, pick something healthy the night before (like grilled chicken breast on salad greens) and take it eat it every day at lunch.

Read Diet and Exercise Tips

A Canadian study found that being exposed to nutrition and exercise advice led people to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices. So make an appointment with the Doctors and myself to help you stay on track. Also subscribe to health-related magazines and blogs such as Eat this, not that or Men and Women’s health, Shape, etc.

Eat Snacks

Planning nutritious snacks throughout the day will help keep you slender. A recent study released by the Nutrition Journal found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promote weight loss. The reason is that healthy snacking helps keep your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings, and body fat storage. For example nuts are a great snack because they have protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep you satisfied between meals.

Drink Water

Almost 60 percent of your body is water, which makes if vital to every important metabolic process. In one study of 173 overweight women, those who added 1 liter of water daily to their diets lost five extra pounds over the course of a year, and if you time it right, the effects can be even greater. When researchers from Virginia Tech had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30 percent more body fat over 12 weeks.

Eat Spicy Food

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1999 found that eating spicy foods may promote weight loss. Research participants who ate a spicy appetizer before a meal ate significantly less than those that consumed a non-spicy appetizer. The reason was a chemical called capsaicin, found in chili peppers acts as an appetite suppressant. Capsaicin has also been shown to boost metabolism and fight inflammation. Routinely adding spicy ingredients like cayenne or red pepper to meals is an easy, flavorful way to help you get slim.

Sleep for 6 to 8 hours a Night

Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to a host of major health benefits, not the least of which is maintaining healthy body weight. In a study from Harvard University, participants who slept for fewer than six hours or more than eight hours each night gained significantly more weight than those who slept for six to eight hours. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods. This is one reason it is difficult to say no to the cookies or doughnuts brought into work.

Chew Well

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that chewing more and eating slowly caused participants to ingest fewer calories. According to the study’s researchers, the increase in chewing simultaneously lowered levels of appetite-stimulating hormones. One way to make sure you chew your food thoroughly is to stop to eat and focus on the meal with no distractions. Eating on the go, while on your lap-top, in front of the tv etc. will lead you to inhale a ton of calories before your body has had time to register that you are full.

Eat Protein

A study in Nutrition Metabolism found that dieting participants who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their overall diet ate roughly 450 fewer calories throughout the day and lost about 11 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. Eating protein increases lean muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism running on high even when you are resting. Protein also keeps you full, making you less likely to overeat. For maximum health and weight loss benefits, aim to include protein in all of your meals and snacks. I recommend aiming for 3 oz of protein per meal and at least 1 oz of protein with snacks.

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