I have to admit: I've already started on making my goals for the new year come to light. Because I want to be uber productive in the new year (for work and wedding planning!), I recently spent hours reorganizing and re-decorating my home office.
I flagged all the things that make me not want to work for hours in there, and I went at fixing them. I moved a couch into the room so I have multiple seating choices, and I ordered a spinal-support desk chair. I hung new artwork that makes me smile on the wall, and I added a candle to my desk.
course, being able to take a break with the foot massager that my fiancé got me for my birthday sure does help! I have many
other productivity goals for the new year (work, working out, healthy cooking, fun!), and I've definitely got a lot of new and old goals to
The countdown is on for the start of the new year, and I'm sure you're thinking about your own resolutions. Just like all of the years before, gym sign-ups and diet starts will be at a height in the new year, but progress for many often halts just as quickly as January ends.
If your resolution is to lose weight or to simply get healthier, I'm here to help arm you with success so you can stick to your goals for the long run and see the results you want all year long. Here's to a long, happy, and healthy life, starting with a rocking new year! Cheers!
1. Drink Water Before Your Meal
I’ve always been a big water drinker—when at a restaurant, I often drink an entire glass of water before the food arrives! On a trip to Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, I was able to track exactly how much water I drink because the beverage is served by the bottle. My perfect amount of water per meal: about a liter and a half.
I’ve written about the importance of staying hydrated: It can help regulate mood and energy, prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones, and even help increase safe driving.
A study published in the journal Obesity shows that drinking water can help weight loss. In the study, 84 obese British adults were instructed to drink about two cups of water before eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner every day for about three months, or to imagine feeling full.
The people who hydrated before meals lost the most weight—more than 9 pounds, versus less than 2 pounds for those who didn’t drink water before meals.
The study authors note that water may cause you to feel fuller and eat less at mealtimes. The liquid may also temporarily increase pre-meal metabolism, although more research needs to be done in this area.
No matter the reason, it looks like drinking water can help decrease meal size. So I’ll continue to drink a lot of water!
2. Eat Your Whole Grains
Consuming quality grains—including whole wheat, oats and brown rice—may help control your weight.
When volunteers were followed for about eight years, people eating higher-quality carbs were less likely to become overweight or obese than those eating lower-quality ones, per a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The fiber from the whole grains may help your weight loss, too. Eating a high-fiber diet (30 grams or more daily) may lead to a weight loss of more than 4 pounds over the course of a year. People following this eating style also improved blood pressure and insulin resistance, which may decrease risk of type 2 diabetes, in a study.
3. Have a Buffet Strategy
I grew up celebrating Christmas the Jewish way, going out for a Chinese buffet meal with my family and a dozen or so of our friends. It's such a fun tradition.
When it comes to buffet meals, it's hard not to overload your plate. And researchers are now suggesting that a meal's price has a lot to do with how you feel about what's on that plate. Scientists at Cornell University studied all-you-can-eat buffets and how pricing affects food choices.
They found that when diners paid less for the buffet meal, those people became more physically uncomfortable and felt guiltier than higher-paying restaurant-goers.
The scientists studied 139 volunteers who lunched at an Italian buffet in New York and paid either $4 or $8. People who paid less felt they ate more than they should have, felt physically uncomfortable, and felt guilty about how much they ate—even if they hadn’t actually eaten more.
When faced with countless options, it’s difficult to not load your plate with all of them — and also to not go back for seconds (and thirds). Use these tips to keep your next buffet meal in check:
- Survey the offerings. When you arrive at the buffet, don’t immediately grab a plate. Do take a walk around the buffet, deciding what handful of items you would most like to try. Go in with the intent of not going back for seconds.
- Choose a vegetable. Find a salad, or steamed or lightly sautéed vegetable dish. Fill half of your plate with that. The remainder of your plate can hold the other items you eyed during your walk-through.
- Make it an experience. As with any meal out, eat slowly and savor your food. Perhaps order a hot tea to make the experience soothing. You’re not in a hurry to finish and fill a second plate!
4. Eat More Healthy Fat
Eating fat may help your weight. People following a low-carb diet, versus a low-fat one, lost about 12
pounds in the course of a year, per research in Annals of Internal Medicine.
People not restricting fat also lost more body fat and gained more muscle.
5. Have Your Wine Before Your Meal
I don’t often drink with my meals—but when I do, my drink of choice is usually a glass of red wine, or perhaps rose on a summery day like this one. Now new research shows that toasting before you take a bite could have a big impact on how much you eat.
In a study, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine and Purdue University asked 35 normal- or slightly overweight women to volunteer to get an IV infusion of either alcohol (6 percent alcohol by volume, or ABV) or a placebo, then eat lunch—either pasta with ground beef and tomato sauce or noodles with beef and gravy—until full.
The results: Women who consumed alcohol before eating ate a 7% larger meal. (Interestingly, other subjects have reported an increase in meal intake up to 30 percent, following an aperitif.) Study authors believe that the alcohol may have led the subjects to subconsciously focus more on food aromas.
Note that not all the women in the study ate more after consuming alcohol. So what does this mean for next time you drink up? If you notice that you tend to eat more after drinking, think about ending your meal with a drink rather than starting it with one. Although I’m usually a red-wine drinker, I often choose a glass of a sweeter wine, like Riesling, with dessert.
6. Eat the Rainbow
Munching on fruits and veggies in all the colors of the rainbow—red/purple, yellow, green, orange and white
—may help you control your weight and gain less belly fat, found a study by Iranian scientists.
7. Go for Umami
Yup, have more shrooms. Eating umami, the savory fifth taste, in foods such as mushrooms may help curb your appetite, per a study by British researchers.
Volunteers felt more satisfied after eating soup with MSG (the artificial form of umami)—and thus ate less at a later meal.
Want even more weight-loss tips? Nope, you don't have to turn your world upside down to lose weight! You can embrace a new year, same you mindset and make small changes, like swapping high-calorie seasonings for lower-calorie ones like everything bagel spice mix.
Kiss those extra pounds goodbye with easy diet tweaks that will help your overall health, too. I share my favorite small but mighty actions with WomensHealthMag.com. Learn about plant-based weight loss, too, and also grab a meal plan template for weight loss!
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