Follow these smart strategies from svelte women to help you slim down this season.
1. Weight loss secret: Eat until you’re satisfied — not stuffed
‘Naturally slim women tend to be really in tune with their bodies,’ explains Cynthia Sass, registered dietitian and author of the book, Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. ‘So when they eat, they honor their bodys natural signal of fullness and put their fork down, because it doesnt feel good to be overly full.’ Unfortunately, she adds, many of us are so used to dieting that weve lost touch with that internal cue — and ignoring it can lead to overeating. To better tap into this power, eat more slowly, savor your food, minimize distractions (turn off the telly) and stop munching when your level of fullness is a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 (this number being uncomfortably stuffed to the gills.) The reason: By the time your brain gets the message that youre satisfied that number will have gone up a few, since it takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to relay the ‘Im full’ message to your head.
2. Weight loss secret: Be picky about what you put on your plate
‘Its a characteristic I see all the time among thin women. Theyre very aware of their likes and dislikes — and are unwilling to nibble on something just because its available,’ says Sass. ‘If they dont love it or find it worthwhile, they wont eat it.’ Your body is worth the best, most delicious food possible. And that sad-looking leftover pastry in the conference room does not quality.
3. Weight loss secret: Don’t deprive yourself
‘Many women are stuck in a diet mentality, where foods are either good or bad. But naturally slim women dont think that way. They eat what they like at all times and just have less of it than the mega-portions weve been programmed to expect, which naturally keeps calories under control,’ says Sass. A little good chocolate? Why not! A small chunk of flavorful cheese. Yes, please! Its the all-things-in-moderation idea in action. Decide if you really fancy it, eat a small amount, and enjoy it. The key words here are small amount. One slice of pizza, not three. A modest bowl of pasta, not a piling platter. Adds Sass: ‘When you give yourself permission to enjoy reasonable portions of the foods you crave, you feel more satisfied and wont binge eat as much.’
4. Weight loss secret: Get quality sleep
‘Theres such strong evidence now that inadequate sleep boosts hunger and slows your metabolism, both of which can have a huge impact on weight,’ explains celebrity nutritionist Ashley Koff. How, exactly? Research has shown that lack of sleep alters levels of hormones in the body that cause appetite to increase and satiety to decrease, so you keep eating long after your brain should have gotten the message that youre full. Experts also say the average woman needs about seven and a half hours of sleep a night. To make the most of your winks, turn off the telly, your computer and any other electronic devices an hour before bedtime; all of them amp your brain up and keep you from nodding off. And avoid alcohol for several hours prior to snooze time. Yes, it’s a sedative and may help you initially get to sleep, but booze has a rebound effect that can actually disrupt sleep — leaving you unrested in the morning.
5. Weight loss secret: Squeeze in exercise whenever you can
Sure, regular workouts can keep your weight in check, but recent research reveals a few simple routine tweaks (like using the stairs rather than the lift and walking to get lunch instead of driving) can also whittle your middle. An Iowa State University study recently found that heavy women spent half as much time on their feet as lean ladies, and that if they moved more they would burn about 300 extra calories a day — just naturally, without breaking a sweat. Do the math and thats equivalent to a 2-stone loss over the course of the year. The lesson: Sneak in a little activity whenever you can to win your weight war.
6. Weight loss secret: Don’t eat your emotions
‘Naturally slim women have outlets for stress that dont involve food,’ says Koff. It might be exercise or venting to a mate, but its not a pint of ice cream. In addition to avoiding serious caloric excess, research shows that people who are able to keep anxiety at bay tend to have lower levels of body fat than their frazzled counterparts. Why? Stress hormones have been solidly linked to weight; cortisol causes your body to go into fat storage mode and create fat cells specifically around your middle.
7. Weight loss secret: Pile your plate with veg
‘What Ive noticed over the years with clients is that the ones who are healthy and able to maintain their weight fairly easily are those who eat lots of fresh produce. At least five servings a day — the more, the better’ says Koff. The reason a lot of us choke down salads and steamed broccoli as if it were punishment, she adds, is that we havent learned how to make them delicious — with herbs, spices, a squirt of citrus or other flavor-boosting ingredients (and we dont mean butter). Its a trick that many of our skinny counterparts have figured out. So look up some recipes online and start experimenting. Bonus: You get to eat more when you load up on fruit and veg (bite for bite they have fewer calories than other foods) and their filling fiber will keep you better satisfied. A recipe for natural slimness!
8. Weight loss secret: Break for brekkie
‘Youve heard this a million times before, but you cant argue with the research. Women who skip their morning meal are more apt to make poorer food choices and overeat later in the day than those who have a good breakfast,’ says Sass. In fact, a recent British study found that people who make time to eat in the morning eat, on average, 17 percent less at lunchtime than skippers — and they had healthier metabolisms. Other research shows that people who blow off brekkie are over four times more likely to be overweight. Convinced? Good! Go for a mix of protein, a little healthy fat and fiber, says Sass. Think: Fat-free Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of slivered almonds and a handful of berries and crunchy, high-fiber cereal sprinkled on top.
9. Weight loss secret: Don’t be scared of the scales
Keeping tabs on your digits is key to successful weight maintenance. It allows you to catch yourself if you go up a couple of pounds (and make changes right away to drop them) rather than letting it get to the point where suddenly your favorite jeans dont fit, says Sass. Because its far easier to lose two pounds than 10! On caveat, she adds: Dont obsessively weigh yourself; limit your scale time to once a week, ideally at the same time of day, like in the morning, before breakfast.
10. Weight loss secret: Don’t worry about your weight
Naturally slim women dont place any value on being slim. ‘They dont see it as any form of a solution — for, say, getting a boyfriend or being happier,’ says Koff. ‘They dont look at weight as being either a help or a hindrance. Success is all about intellect, having great friends, doing well in their career. It doesnt come down to the size of their waist.’ A sentiment worth remembering whenever you find yourself obsessing about the number on the scales.
- ^ career (www.ivillage.co.uk)
This story sponsored by Weight loss and work out supplement design for woman.
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