Even though Weight Loss Formula No. 1 is reducing your cravings, you may still find that there's something holding you back from making healthy choices. Don't worry. This is normal. We're creatures of habit, and without success rituals, it's really hard to get rid of old habits. But there is hope ... I'm going to show you 5 great research-backed methods for ending bad habits, staying on track, and making your weight loss permanent. So you can enjoy being the size you dream of being.
Keeping a food diary can double your weight loss, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research.
These findings, from one of the largest and longest-running weight-loss maintenance trials ever conducted, should be taken seriously.
Study author Jack Hollis, Ph.D., states that "those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories."
Today, you don't even need a paper and pen to keep track of your food!
Just take a picture of every meal on your smart phone, and voila - you've got your diary.
Contrary to what you may have heard ...
Study after study suggests that those who weigh themselves more frequently are more successful at losing (and maintaining) weight.
The National Weight Control Registry, consisting of people who lost an average of 66 pounds and kept the weight off for nearly six years, shows one habit in common among its members ...
75% weigh themselves at least once per week.
And the participants who weighed themselves daily did even better over the long term.
I recommend that you weigh yourself daily. That way you "catch" yourself if your weight starts to go up or isn't moving, and can change something before more damage is done.
Weigh yourself at the same time every day. The best time is in the morning, right after you wake up and go to the bathroom.
Record your weight in your journal, next to your food entries or pictures.
Remember: You will have daily fluctuations. This is completely normal.
But it's important to adopt these habits ... people who lost weight permanently had them in common, so you might as well benefit from their experience.
Did you know that you can control how much you eat just by manipulating the size of your dishes? And it can have a rather dramatic effect.
Reduce calories 19% just by changing your cup size
Dr. Brian Wansink, an expert on eating behavior, demonstrated that people drink an average of 19% MORE if their beverage is in a short, wide glass as opposed to a tall, narrow one.
This is due to the way we visually process information - the tall, narrow glass appears bigger.
So when you're consuming any non-water beverage, opt for a tall, narrow glass and you'll automatically drink 19% fewer calories.
If you don't have any tall, narrow glasses, pick some up as soon as possible ... the narrower the better.
A 19% reduction in liquid calories adds up quickly.
But here's where his study results get really amazing ...
Bowl, plate and spoon magic
In Dr. Wansink's lab, they performed an experiment to see how sizes of bowls and scoops affect ice cream portion sizes.
Adults were given either a 17-ounce bowl or 34-ounce bowl to serve themselves ice cream. Those with the 17-ounce bowls served (and ate) 31% LESS than those using 34-ounce bowls ... that's A LOT fewer calories.
But wait ... it gets even more shocking.
When they added a bigger ice cream scoop to the experiment, people given bigger bowls and bigger scoops ended up serving themselves a whopping 57% more ice cream than the group given smaller bowls and smaller scoops.
No wonder those popular "self-serve" frozen yogurt shops offer large, wide cups. They know that customers will serve themselves large portions and, since they charge by the ounce, their profits will go up.
Imagine eating LESS THAN HALF the amount you would normally eat, simply by changing the size of your bowls, plates, cups and serving utensils.
Dr. Wansink replicated these results with a wide variety of popular "comfort foods," including cereal, pie, chips and even chicken wings.
So here's the "take away"... reduce the size of your bowls, plates, spoons, serving utensils and cups, and you'll eat FAR LESS ... even when it comes to the most tempting foods.
This doesn't even require any willpower ... just head to the store and buy small!
My wife and I are both full-time professionals. Sometimes that means we work late and are (of course) tempted by late-night munchies. But we have a rule that the kitchen closes at 8 p.m.
And that's a good thing. Late-night kitchen raids can wreak havoc on your fat loss efforts.
To quiet those cravings that call your name late at night, just follow these 3 simple steps.
Make protein the focus of every meal.
Protein (combined with some good fats) is the best way to feel satisfied after a meal.
This activates the signal to your brain that says, "I'm pleasantly full, I don't need to eat anymore."
When you have a good source of protein at every meal (breakfast included), you won't feel like eating again right after you've just finished eating.
This protein trigger is a survival mechanism inherited from our ancestors. Back when we had to hunt for food, a lack of protein told the brain to prepare for starvation. That meant storing fat and ramping up the feeling of hunger.
But consuming protein has the opposite effect. It tells your brain you don't need to eat or feel hungry - it signals your body to burn fat for energy.
Make sure every meal has a good source of protein. Beef, fish, chicken or other poultry are great choices. Even cottage cheese, nuts or almond butter will help.
Add fiber to your evening meal.
Fiber expands in your belly, making you feel full. It slows down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, eliminating that after-dinner sugar crash. Which is good, because sugar is the trigger that sends you running to the fridge at night.
Good sources of hunger-busting fiber include seeds, vegetables and legumes.
Avoid filling up on bread. Bread spikes your blood sugar and encourages your body to store fat instead of burning it.
Add pre-cut vegetables to soups and sauces. Carrots, onions and celery work well in soups or stews. Use broccoli, olives or fresh tomatoes to complement spaghetti sauce.
Read a book or take a walk before bed.
Watching TV before bed may be relaxing, but it puts you right smack in temptation's way.
It's far better to read a good book, do a few simple household chores, dance to music, or take a brisk walk.
There's nothing worse than thinking you're doing everything right, and then having something come out of nowhere and completely sabotage your results.
So we need to shine light on a "fat demon" that's more powerful than you ever imagined.
And it's so "respected" too ... people love to brag about how little sleep they get. But they'd probably stop if they realized how awful it is for their health - and their belly.
Even if you're diligently taking Weight Loss Formula No. 1 and seeing positive results, there's one huge mistake that could be slowing you down ...
Not getting enough sleep!
Do YOU get a full 8 hours of sleep each night?
I'm talking about real sleep, not just going to bed.
If you're not, look at the results of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Shockingly, people on the same diet who slept 8 1/2 hours per night lost 2.3 times more fat than those who only got 5½ hours of shuteye.
That's well more than twice the weight loss!
Remember, they were on an identical diet. Read on, and you‘ll see that the bigger problem with sleep deprivation is the increased calories you might consume as a result.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic showed that healthy adults whose sleep was cut short by about a third ate an extra 500 calories per day, compared to the control group.
Do the math ... 500 calories a day can add up to an extra 4 pounds per month, 48 pounds per year.
The study showed that one of the primary reasons for the increase was elevated ghrelin levels.
You already know that ghrelin is the hormone responsible for making you hungry. And when your levels are too high, it becomes almost impossible to control your appetite.
But it gets worse ... numerous studies show that lack of sleep also causes:
So how much sleep do we need, and how can we get it?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. That should be your most important goal - each and every night.
A side benefit of going to bed earlier is that those late-night munchies have less opportunity to sneak up and grab you.
These tricks should help you get more mileage out of your Weight Loss Formula No. 1. I promise that if you make a habit of them, you'll enjoy greater success.
In case you missed them before, you'll really want to catch up on reading these back issues:
Steven Sisskind, M.D.
1. Nedeltcheva AV, et al. Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2010; 153: 435-441.
2. Calvin AD, Carter RE, Levine JA, Somers VK. Insufficient sleep increases caloric intake but not energy expenditure. Poster presented at: The American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions; March 13-16, 2012; San Diego, CA.
3. Morris CJ, Aeschbach D, Scheer FA. Circadian system, sleep and endocrinology. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012;349(1):91-104.
4. Your Guide to Healthy Sleep by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, August 2011 http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/sleep/healthy_sleep.pdf
5. Kondracki, Nancy., The Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain — Research Shows Poor Sleep Quality Raises Obesity and Chronic Disease Today's Dietitian Vol. 14 No. 6 P. 48