Weight Loss Advice You Haven't Heard Before
We sifted through this season's diet books (plus one memoir) to bring you the freshest, most helpful ways to eat healthy.
A Sneaky Way to Eat Less at Work
Take meal breaks away from your monitor.
"What if I told you that eating in front of your computer makes you eat twice as much? It does! New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
shows that when participants were left in front of a computer video game with snacks for a 30-minute period, they ate twice as much as those who weren't at a computer. What's more, they remembered less about what they ate and were more likely to eat excessively as the day wore on. Step away from your computer, phone or TV to really savor what you're eating, and stop when you're truly full."
From Slim Calm Sexy Diet (Rodale Books) by Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN.
A Diet Lesson That Comes from a Greek Tragedy
When all else fails, turn to Odysseus to help you kick your craving.
"The other day, I had a breakthrough [about my sugar habit]. When [my wife] got home, I asked her for a favor. 'If I have another dried mango this month, I want you to donate a thousand dollars of my money to the American Nazi Party.' 'The Nazi Party? Why not Oxfam?' 'That's not enough of a disincentive. I want something that will make me sick to my stomach.' ... This is what's known as an Odysseus Contract. In The Odyssey
, our crafty hero demanded that his sailors tie him to the mast so that he wouldn't take a dive off the starboard side when he heard the alluring singing of the Sirens. You shouldn't trust your future self. Prepare for his or her weaknesses. Thank God for Odysseus. Because let me tell you: this strategy is one of the most effective I've ever encountered. I haven't eaten a dried mango in two weeks. I still open the cabinet, see those slices, and get a few drops of Pavlovian saliva. But there's no way I'm going to put one in my mouth."
From Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Quest for Bodily Perfection (Simon & Schuster) by A.J. Jacobs.
A Revelation About How Corporations Trick Us into Gaining Weight
Beware of food-labeling loopholes that can cause you to lose track of calories or fat grams.
"The makers of Pam cooking spray state on the can that a single ["fat-free"] serving size is a '1/4 second spray.'...The manufacturers of Pam aren't trying to be funny. Instead, they're taking advantage of what amounts to a 'fat-free' loophole in food-labeling regulations. As long as there is a half a gram or less of fat (or trans fat) per serving, manufacturers can label a serving as having 0 grams of fat! A can of olive oil spray, even when it contains 100 percent olive oil (which certainly has fat) can take advantage of this labeling loophole if the listed serving size is small enough. Coffee creamers that claim to have zero fat per serving may actually contain 40 percent fat, but if the serving size is listed as a teaspoon (which has less than 0.5 grams of fat)—an unrealistic serving size for many—it's perfectly okay to claim zero fat. If one teaspoon has 0.4 gram of fat and you use a tablespoon, that's 1.2 grams of fat—when you thought were getting none."
From The Weight of the Nation: Surprising Lessons about Diets, Food, and Fat from the Extraordinary HBO Documentary Series by John Hoffman; Judith Salerno, M.D, M.S.; and Alexandra Moss. Copyright © 2012 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.
The Calorie-Burning Trick to Practice After Every Lunch Meeting
Fidget in your seat. While annoying to coworkers, squirming and tapping can burn calories and even prevent them from turning into fat.
"[In one study where 16 men were given 1,000 extra calories for 8 weeks, some gained as few as three pounds, some as many as 16.] Neither the volunteers' basal metabolic rates nor prescribed activity levels could explain the observed differences in fat deposition among their volunteers. Instead, the Mayo Clinic researchers concluded that the differences in fat deposition must have been due to what they called non-exercise activity thermogenesis, abbreviated NEAT and known commonly as fidgeting. NEAT, the investigators explained, includes thumb twiddling, standing as opposed to sitting or lying down and other kinds of nervous twitching. They measured the calorie contribution of NEAT activities before and during the overeating trial ... and found that the volunteers whose NEAT expenditures increased the most during the overeating phase deposited the least amount of body fat."
From Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (University of California Press) by Marion Nestle & Malden Nesheim.
The Advice on What to Do When Everybody Else's "Safety Snack" Becomes Your Trigger Food
Identify which nutritionist-recommended, diet-friendly snacks are your weight-sabotaging downfalls—and dump them (a tip learned the hard way by David Kirchhoff, who's not only the president of Weight Watchers but also a long-term member).
"I have spent some time thinking about my triggers, and [here's one] I'll pull almost every time: hummus. I can pack away a third of my day's calorie allowance in about five minutes of mindless munching. So how can I keep my finger off the trigger foods? For the most part, I need to say no—not because they're bad foods, but because my brain has a bad interaction with them ... I had to find a new crew of snack-food friends to keep me out of trouble. Here are some basic criteria: 1. They should take a while to eat. 2. They should look larger than life—that is, the food should occupy a significant amount of space and create the illusion that it is a boatload of food. 3. They should taste good and stay in my belly for a long time. So let me introduce you to [my replacement for hummus]: bean dip. [It] has a scary-good calorie value, because most brands are processed without oil. [And I] never, ever eat directly from the container."
Reprinted from Weight Loss Boss: How to Finally Win at Losing—and Take Charge in an Out-of-Control World by David Kirchhoff, President and CEO of WeightWatchers. Copyright (c) 2012 by Weight Watchers International Inc. By permission of Rodale, Inc. Available wherever books are sold.
A Strategy to Outsmart the Nighttime Munchies
No carbs after lunch
. "Carbs are forms of sugar, and sugar cues the pancreas to make more insulin, which in turn triggers appetite. The later in the day that you consume sugar, the more likely it is that you will get food cravings late at night. Late-night cravings are not a good thing! [So] aim for lots of protein and fiber after lunch. Snack on fiber, protein, vegetables and fresh fruits (not dried fruits). No or very low carbs, and those only if offset by even more fiber. Eat lean and green at night."
From The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin by Bob Harper with Greg Critser. Copyright © 2012 by Bob Harper. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Next: Good-for-you snacks that taste amazing
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.