People often complain that they have tried to lose weight by skipping meals and it hasn’t helped them lose weight or they have even gained weight since reducing their number of meals.
Skipping meals can make matters worse because your body is not getting the nutrients it needs. Your brain starts craving fat and you may actually want to snack more than you did before. This is why the approach rarely works.
People who do lose weight may find they pile it back on again after they resume eating three meals a day.
So how can you lose weight without actually dieting?
1. Reduce your portion sizes, not your meals.
You can do this by putting your main meal on a side plate instead of a full-sized dinner plate.
2. Don’t help yourself from serving dishes.
Put your meal onto your side plate and eat only that. That way you know how much you are having.
3. Cook smaller quantities of food.
This will cut out the risk of being tempted to have second helpings.
4. Eat a greater amount of high protein foods.
Recent research in journals such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that eating more protein helps you lose weight because it fills you up for longer. Then you don’t have the urge to snack or binge on unhealthy foods.
For instance, in one study they found that increasing the total protein intake to 30 percent of the diet meant people were less hungry and lost more weight. Some sources of protein are poultry, fish, cottage cheese, eggs, tofu, beans and lentils, nuts and peanut butter and milk.
5. Have smaller, more frequent meals.
Some experts now say you should have four or five smaller meals throughout the day, with the last meal being your main one. This should control your hunger and appetite more.
6. Exercise more.
The amount of food you need is proportionate to the amount of activity you do. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or do vigorous workout, but you could spend less time at your computer or watching television.
Instead, go for a walk or a regular swim. If you like computer games you could try an active computer game where you have to dance or do tennis moves.
7. Be smart at the restaurant.
If you’re eating at a restaurant, have a salad as a starter (or skip the starter altogether) and don’t order dessert until you’ve finished the main meal. You may be full up and not need any more food. If you are having lots of side dishes, share these with other guests.
Restaurants are part of the obesity problem because in the last few decades, the portion sizes have increased dramatically. For instance, pasta servings have gotten five times larger.
8. Cook instead of buying frozen ready meals.
Frozen ready meals usually have a high content of bad fats and salt, both of which contribute to obesity and heart disease. If you don’t have the time, try to commit to cooking your own food at least a few times a week. Some meals are easier than you think and take only 30 minutes.
9. Check all labels of pre-prepared food for bad fat.
Bad fats are saturated and trans fats found in red meat, butter, cheese, ice cream, and any processed food that contains hydrogenated oil.
10. Avoid "low-fat", "reduced fat" or "fat-free".
When food manufacturers take out fat they usually replace it with sugar, refined grains or starch. Refined carbohydrates aren’t good for you. These include things like white bread, white rice and sugary drinks.
Eating these can cause blood sugar and insulin to spike and fall, which gives us hunger pangs and leads to over-eating and weight gain. It also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. When buying carbohydrates, choose whole grain bread, pasta and brown rice.
Body Weight – Controlling Your Portion Sizes, Cancer Research UK. Web. 16 July 2012.
High Protein Diet for Weight Loss, WebMD. Web. 16 July 2012.
Fats and Cholesterol: The Bottom Line, Harvard School of Public Health. Web. 16 July 2012.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/
She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and has an A grade diploma in Neuro-psychological Immunology, which is the study of how the mind affects the immune system.
Reviewed July 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith