(For the previous tips, go here.)
Tip #4: Practice portion control.
For some, a food diary or food journal is essential to losing and maintaining weight loss. Studies have shown that some kind of tracking results in higher success and increased rate of weight loss and fat loss. It can definately help with portion control and seeing your pitfalls, such as nightime snacking or eating for reasons other than hunger.
The idea of eating healthful food but in the wrong amounts is not new. All foods should be portioned appropriately and journaled if necessary. Whether you eat 6 small meals per day or 3 meals and 2 small snacks, you need to assign an appropriate amount to all food choices, to up metabolism and to be able to burn off what you take in. For example, a slice of whole wheat bread or 2 slices of light wheat bread equal 1 carbohyrate serving. If you eat this without some protein and healthy fat, your glycemic response (ablity to raise blood sugar) will be too high and can cause fat storage. Add about a deck of cards-sized amount of lean protein, such as low-sodium turkey or grilled chicken, and a slice or two (about 1/4) of an avocado as a healthy MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid). This is a lunch or dinner amount, not a snack.
For a snack, try a small apple or pear with a tablespoon of peanut butter on it. Or get one of your dairy requirements with a fat-free greek yogurt and 3/4 cup of berries. You can also pair a light cheese stick with a few whole grain low-fat crackers as a snack.
Fiber has been shown to help reduce abdominal fat and lower cholesterol. One of my favorite lunches is actually a breakfast food: 3/4 cup Fiber One original cereal, about 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of fat-free milk, and 12-14 almonds. It’s delicious, and all components have been shown to help burn fat, specifically from the abs! Low-fat and fat-free dairy also control calcitriol, one of your primary fat storing hormones, that also inhibits your abitity to burn fat.
Fuel your body when you’re hungry and give it healthful foods that it can metabolize with ease. If a “health” bar is designed to live in a wrapper on a shelf for 2 years or more, I’m not going to put it in my body! Obviously, we must package cereals and whole grain pastas to make them edible. But choose wisely; stay away from highly refined foods, such as sugary cereals and bars.
Get creative instead of using salt. Spices such as garlic, capsaicin, cinnamon, and ginger all have fat-burning properties. You can boost your metabolism while seasoning your meal! Just remember: for losing those last 10 lb., portion control is key!
(Tomorrow: Tip #5 for Losing Those Last 10 Pounds)