13 Eating Habits That Drastically Change Your Weight Loss Efforts, Say Dietitians
When it comes to weight loss, you want to focus on maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle, not just drastically shedding pounds. Weight loss is achievable by many different ways, including exercise and or practicing self-care. Your drinking and eating habits can also affect your weight, and it's important to keep up with your practices.
Sometimes, your weight loss journey may feel like a dead-end, and you want to try and switch your routine in order to keep persevering on your goals. The good news is that there are eating habits that can help you continue your process. The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, who are also members of our medical expert board, gathered their insight to help create a list of eating happens that can help drastically change your weight loss efforts.
After, if you're looking for more tips, try The Best Eating Habits for Faster Abdominal Fat Loss, Say Experts.
Divide temptations into single portions and place them in the freezer.
Buying produce and other perishables in bulk may make for a successful grocery shopping trip but it forces you to eat everything before the products expire. That's why The Nutrition Twins recommend that when you come home, immediately divide any food that you find tempting into single portions and place them in the freezer.
"Because frozen food requires defrosting, impulse eating will be prevented and willpower is taken out of the equation," say The Nutrition Twins. "This simply requires a plan! Know that you're only having one—and take one serving out to defrost."
Write down what you eat.
Seeing your food intake on paper may give you a whole new perspective on what you're eating and how much of it you're eating. Keeping a food diary or journal helps log your food consumption throughout the day.
The Nutrition Twins say that research shows that people who record what they eat lose twice as much weight as those who don't. It will hold you accountable and make you aware of what you've eaten. In the particular study of approximately 17,000 people, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records,
Put your oil and dressings in a spray bottle.
Have you ever accidentally over-poured your oil or dressing into your dishes because it came rushing out of the bottle like it was running in a race? Oils and salad dressings are stored in easy access bottles, and with its liquidy consistency, it's sometimes hard to control how much comes pouring out.
"This is a game-changer," say The Nutrition Twins. "Each tablespoon of oil or dressing is 100 to 120 calories and given that salads are typically heavily dressed and that it's easy to pour several hundred calories in pots and pans when cooking, our clients quickly drop pounds when they make this change."
Eat three fewer bites than usual at each meal.
The slower you eat, the better you'll feel, as The Nutrition Twins suggest that chewing less will actually help lose weight.
"Part of the beauty here is that this habit also makes you more aware of what you're eating and you'll consciously stop eating before you're overly full," say The Nutrition Twins. "Depending on how heavy the meal is, this can equal 100-plus calories a meal, which equates to 4 to 5 pounds lost per month."
Fill half your plate with steamed veggies flavored with lemon and zesty spices.
You don't need to lose flavor in order to lose weight. Swapping out unhealthy ingredients that give your vegetables taste with healthier options makes for a tasty and nutritious dish. Vegetables are very low in calories. The Nutrition Twins suggest that the lemon and spices, rather than butter or dressing, keep the vegetables that way while adding phytonutrients–a substance which is believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases.
These phytonutrients can help to fight inflammation that's linked with weight gain. Plus, they're packed with fiber, so you fill up on them instead of the heavier options.
Include your favorite foods.
Do not, we repeat, do not cut out every guilty food pleasure item that you love. You're allowed to give in every now and then, and it's actually encouraged.
"When people feel deprived, that's when they give up on their healthy eating plan and throw in the towel, often going completely overboard," says The Nutrition Twins. "By allowing yourself to occasionally enjoy small portions of your favorite foods, deprivation is taken out of the equation."
Use the "every other" rule when drinking alcohol.
The "every-other-day" rule normally calls for restricting the calories you eat several days per week, while eating what you want on your non-fast days. For this situation you would be limiting the alcohol intake that you would normally consume.
The Nutrition Twins suggest that instead of finishing one alcoholic beverage and going to the next, have a non-caloric drink like a seltzer in between.
"You'll save hundreds of calories from the drinks alone and because you won't get drunk as quickly, and you'll make more rational food choices," say The Nutrition Twins. "This is especially important since alcohol increases appetite and lowers inhibitions, making you care less about the choices you make."
Drink at least 12 ounces of water before each meal and between meals.
The Nutrition Twins say it's easy to mistake thirst for hunger, which is a way to end up consuming excess calories. All that really means is that you just need to hydrate. You can also add lemon to your water for extra flavor.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that, according to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake of water is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and roughly 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Skip the salad for lunch.
There are many delicious salad recipes that contain more nutrients than a simple one that contain only veggies, dressing and not much else.
"Veggies are awesome for weight loss because they fill you with few calories, but if you make a meal of them, you won't get protein for staying power, or a healthy carb to prevent craving more carbs," say The Nutrition Twins.
This could lead to overeating at your next meal, or getting afternoon cravings make you choose unhealthy snacks like a bag of chips or a candy bar.
Get 20 grams of protein at each meal.
Protein is an important part of your diet because it helps your body repair cells and make new ones. It also helps regulate hormones.
By eating protein, it will take longer to digest, helping to keep you feeling fuller while stabilizing blood sugar. The Nutrition Twins say this will prevent overeating that comes from hunger and from blood sugar dips.
Keep batch-cooked greens on hand and fill up on them at meals.
Cooked greens can not only be delicious but very nutritious. You can fill up on low-calorie antioxidant-packed, anti-inflammatory greens and turn them into a healthy side dish or an addition to a sandwich, fish, pizza or salad. It's easy and a great way to help you get lean.
Try this easy 10-minute sautéed kale (batch cooking) recipe from the Nutrition Twins that you can make in 10 minutes, and you'll be set for the week.
Indulge in your favorite treats when you're already satisfied.
Do you ever eat a meal and say to yourself, "now I need something sweet?" Or, in the middle of the day when lunch wasn't satisfying enough, and now you need an extra savory snack? Well, instead of constantly looking forward to your post-meal sweet treat, or salty snack, try eating them when you're not in the mood to.
"It's challenging enough to indulge in moderate portions of favorite foods, but dive into them when you're ravenous and you'll set yourself up to overeat," says The Nutrition Twins. "Especially since you'd likely even eat foods you didn't like as much when you're hungry."
Add Ceylon cinnamon to meals for sweetness.
Ceylon cinnamon, also known as cinnamomum verum or true cinnamon, has a lighted sweet flavor. It contains all of the health-promoting properties of cinnamon with none of the toxic properties, making it a very healthy option as a sweetener.
"You'll avoid the need for sugar and skirt those extra calories and the inflammation it causes that's linked to weight gain," say The Nutrition Twins. "You'll also get some of the blood sugar and weight loss benefits that come with the cinnamon."
Research posted in the American Diabetes Association shows that as little as 1/2 teaspoon a day of cinnamon can lower your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, and it seems it may even be beneficial on weight.
The Nutrition Twins suggest adding Ceylon cinnamon to your smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, baked goods, cereal, popcorn, and more.
A previous version of this article was originally published on April 23, 2022.