Unfortunately, I don't have a magic pill for weight loss. Believe me, I wish I did... I would be a lot richer and probably living on the beach in the south of France right now if that were the case. But in all seriousness, the reality is that taking control of your health requires commitment and discipline. Sorry, but that's the truth no matter what anyone tells you.
There is some good news though... even if you aren't ready for green smoothies, farmers markets and herb gardens just yet, there are a few simple changes you can make that will help you lose weight and start you on your journey to regain (or sustain) your health.
1. Replace All Of Your Non-Alcoholic Beverages With Water
Replacing empty calories from soda, juices and sports drinks with 0 calorie water can help reduce your overall daily caloric intake and keep you hydrated. When consuming adequate amounts of water, you may find that you eat less too, as often times thirst can be mistaken for hunger.
2. Put Your Fork Down Between Bites
Take a bite of food and then put your fork down. All the way down. I mean let go of it entirely. Don't pick it back up again until your mouth is empty. This is a great trick, as most of us hold our fork in our hand with the next bite cued up and ready to go before we have even finished chewing what's in our mouth. According to About.com "It takes at least 20 minutes after eating for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full. But most of us finish a meal in 10 minutes." If you eat while watching TV, reading a book or checking your email, you probably mindlessly shovel forkful after forkful into your mouth without stopping to enjoy each bite or asking yourself if you're even still hungry. By really being present while you are eating, you will not only enjoy your food more, but probably find that you end up eating less too. If you're up for a bigger challenge, try using chopsticks. They will really slow you down.
3. Chew Each Bite 25 Times
There is nothing special about the number 25, but if I just said "chew your food well", you would probably think that you already do this and just skip to the next tip. However, next time you eat; really focus on chewing each bite 25 times. Chewing your food well aids in nutrient absorption and digestion. And again, you will most likely find that you eat less as you are giving your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
4. Use Smaller Plates
The larger the vessel the more you are tempted to eat. A lot of times we trick ourselves into thinking we aren't overeating if we eat just one plate of food and don't go back for seconds. But, just because it all happens to fit on the plate, doesn't mean it's an appropriate serving size. For our wedding, we registered for new dinnerware. When I opened the dinner plates to put them away in the cupboard, they didn't fit. I couldn't close the door because they were too big! Apparently, even plates are super-sized these days. We returned them and we eat all of our meals on salad plates now. We're eating less, but feeling equally satisfied because we get to fill our plates without feeling guilty or overeating.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep will help you feel more energized and focused. I also find that I tend to make better food choices throughout the day when I am well rested. But here's something I bet you don't think about: Sleep also helps you fight off common colds and flu. I was at a lecture the other night given by Dr. Peter Bongiorno, N.D., L.Ac., and he mentioned a study that had been conducted at Carnegie Melon. Researchers found that quantity and quality of sleep is directly related to your immune levels. Get this... the study showed that adult men and women that got less than 7 hours of sleep per night increased their risk of getting a cold by 300%. In other words, getting 7+ hours of sleep a night reduces your risk by 300%. Isn't that crazy? Those odds are better than any flu shot or medicine out there. 300%! So make sure to catch your zzzz's.
Have a great weekend!