Never skip meals
Constantly find yourself downing bags of chips or sleeves of cookies? Despite what you may think, feeling like you’re always hungry is not because you have a lack of willpower. In fact, if these binges are happening on busy days when you’ve “forgotten” to eat lunch, it’s likely a sign you need to change up your diet. “While skipping meals might seem like an easy way to eat less, it will most likely actually cause you to eat more later on,” Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, told us.
Never forget to drink water
“Not drinking enough water can have a negative impact on the metabolism as well as your appetite,” says Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN. Research has shown that people often respond to their thirst inappropriately by eating instead of drinking since the same part of our brain controls both responses. When you’re hydrated, it also helps to make your stomach feel full, which can fend off the feeling of hunger.
Never cut out entire groups of foods
You shouldn’t punish an entire food group as a dietary villain. A diet that forbids entire food groups is not only unsustainable, but it can also be dangerous. (Unless, of course, there’s a medical reason—such as lactose intolerance or Celiac disease—to scratch something from your diet). For example: While eating too many refined flour foods can pack on the pounds by spiking your blood sugar and never fully satisfying your hunger pangs, that doesn’t mean that all carbs have the same effect. In fact, whole grains are rich in energizing B vitamins and digestion-slowing fiber. Plus, since carbs are an essential source of energy, completely slashing this food group from your diet can cause exhaustion, irritability, and lethargy.
Never fall for health halos
Whether it’s slapping a product with a “sugar-free” label or pointing out the food’s myriad of vitamins and minerals, marketing claims can get in the way of weight loss if you’re not actually reading the ingredients and nutritional information. You see, when dieters perceive a food to be nutritious—thanks to buzzwords like “organic” or “gluten-free”—they tend to misjudge how many calories are actually in them. As a result, dieters tend to feel entitled to indulge, which can lead to eating 131 percent more calories than you otherwise would, according to a Cornell University study.
Never eat while watching T.V.
The big game is on and it’s dinner time? Well, that’s why we have DVR! Press pause. Experts find that when your mind is distracted by other things while eating, such as watching TV or listening to loud music, it can block certain satiety cues from alerting your brain that you’ve eaten your fill. As a result, you consume more calories than your body needs, which will likely be stored as fat.
Never go it alone
You’ve decided to change your life—good for you! Now spread the news! When you share your mission with your close friends and family, it will help you to build a support system and you’ll have people who can keep you accountable to your goals. It’s easy to mindlessly scoop another spoonful of ice cream into a bowl, but you might think twice if you have to justify this extra portion to your family as you eat dessert together at the dinner table. Want to take it a step further? Find yourself a diet buddy! Dieters who have a weight-loss partner lose significantly more belly fat compared to those who try to slim down alone, according to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Never dine while you dash
In a rush? Don’t start shoveling food in your face. If there’s one resolution to make this year, it should be to extend your lunch break to at least 20 minutes. Why the time minimum? Experts have found it takes around that amount of time for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. It’s one of the reasons why fast food is so bad for your waistline; you quickly eat the calorie-laden fare before your body can tell you you’ve had enough!
Never forget to exercise
According to recent research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, weight loss programs that formally include an exercise routine are significantly more effective for weight loss and improved health than diets without recommended sweat sessions.
Never go too hard too fast
It’s great to switch things up into a new exercise routine, but don’t hit the ground running—both literally and figuratively. If your body isn’t used to working out on the reg, you could injure yourself if you up your reps or mileage too quickly, which can hamper your weight-loss progress. Take your time to build up your base before you start racking up 10-mile runs every day.
Never rely on exercise either
“Moving more” isn’t going to be the only thing that helps you slim down. For starters, a 2012 review published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that people tend to overestimate how many calories they burn when they workout. As a result, people will not only overcompensate for their workout by eating more calories than they burned, but they may also think they can now indulge in junk food as a “reward” for exercise. As an example, a 155-pound person biking for one hour burns on average 520 calories. That can all be undone by under two slices of Domino’s Hand Tossed Cheese pizza.