Episode 174: 10 Tips to Lose Weight Without Tracking Your Food - Part 1
Oct 25, 2022
So you want to lose weight, but you're sick of counting calories, tracking macros, logging points, and in general having to pull out an app every time you want to take a bite of something tasty.
The good news is, if you look at the healthiest, longest living countries in the world, food tracking is virtually unheard of.
Proof that it can be done!
Here's what swap that calculator for...
1. Eat slower.
"...researchers looked at data from 60,000 people with diabetes over a six-year period. The speed at which one ate had a pretty sizable effect: people who ate at a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese than people who ate quickly; people who ate slowly had 42% lower odds of being obese.
And interestingly, people who slowed their eating over the study period tended to lose weight over time, as measured by BMI and waist circumference.
This seems to be not just a matter of the amount of food consumed, but also the ways in which satiety hormones (those that govern the feeling of fullness and cue us to stop eating) react—in one study, when people were told to eat ice cream more slowly, more of the gut hormones were secreted and people reported feeling fuller, compared to those told to eat faster." -Forbes
My favorite rule of thumb: drink your food, and chew your drinks.
2. Eat without distractions.
"Research does show that eating while distracted can lead to increased food intake at that meal and the next meal, in part because it affects our memory of what and how much we ate." -Washington Post
I know we've all experienced this while watching tv at night. Your focus is on the show and before you know it you've cleared your plate and are feeling overly stuffed. Or you're munching on chips and all of a sudden the bag is empty.
Challenge yourself to one distraction-free meal per day to start and see how it goes. Use all your senses while eating, pay attention to how your body feels throughout the meal, and do your best to follow tip number 3...
3. Follow the 80% rule.
Only eat when you're 80% hungry (not starving), and only eat until you're 80% full (not stuffed).
"Hara hachi bu is a Japanese term meaning “Eat until you’re 80% full.” It originated in the city of Okinawa, where people use this advice as a way to control their eating habits. Interestingly, they have one of the lowest rates of illness from heart disease, cancer and stroke, and a fairly long life expectancy." -Cleveland Clinic
4. Eat more whole foods.
"In a rigorously controlled clinical trial that was carried out by the National Institutes of Health, scientists compared what happened when they fed a group of people a diet of ultra-processed foods for two weeks and, on a separate occasion, a diet of matching meals that were mostly made from scratch.
Both diets contained similar amounts of fat, sugar, sodium and fiber, and everyone was allowed to eat until they were satisfied. But to the researchers’ surprise, people ate substantially more calories when they were fed the ultra-processed foods. On average they ate about 500 more calories a day — roughly the amount in a large order of McDonald’s fries.
On the diet of ultra-processed foods, the participants quickly gained weight and body fat. But on the unprocessed, homemade diet, the reverse happened: They lost weight, and they had reductions in cholesterol and an increase in their levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone called PYY. They experienced a drop in their levels of ghrelin, what is known as the hunger hormone." -Washington Post
We know ultra-processed foods are designed to be hyper-palatable, they hit the bliss-point in the brain, and they are devoid of the fiber, nutrients, and protein that helps your body feel full, ultimately leading to overeating, cravings, and undernourishment.
5. Use a smaller plate.
You're going to want to fill your plate either way, so using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate is a great way of controlling your portions without feeling deprived (if you used those salad plate portions on a dinner plate, you'd see all that empty space and feel like you're getting jipped). Still hungry after using the salad plate? Wait 20 minutes. If you're still genuinely hungry, have a bit more protein and/or veggies.
"Social psychologist Brian Wansink and marketing researcher Koert van Ittersum invited the colleagues of nutritionist James Painter to celebrate his success at an ice cream social. Eighty-five nutrition experts showed up. The researchers randomly assigned partygoers to receive either a smaller (17 oz.) or larger (34 oz.) bowl, and either a smaller (2 oz.) or larger (3 oz.) ice cream scooper. Participants then filled out a survey while researchers weighed how much ice cream participants put in their bowls. By the end of the party, all but three participants had finished their ice cream.
The researchers found that participants with larger bowls ate 30% more ice cream than did those with smaller bowls. Likewise, participants with larger serving spoons portioned and ate 14% more ice cream than those with smaller spoons, regardless of their bowl size. Altogether, people with both a larger bowl and a larger spoon ate 50% more ice cream than people with smaller bowl and spoon pairs.
In addition, the survey revealed that none of the participants—who were, after all, nutrition experts—were aware of the experiment as it happened. Indeed, participants with smaller bowls believed they had served themselves more ice cream than did those with bigger bowls." -stanford.edu
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