Carb-Healthy Diet: 9 Get-to-Goal Strategies That Really Work
Last updated: Jul 28, 2010
Losing weight takes time and patience. However these sneaky tricks, courtesy of the CarbLovers Diet book, may help to speed up the process.
1. Automate eating. Some people can lose weight while enjoying lots of variety in their food choices, while others discover that variety only stimulates their appetite. Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, calls this the buffet effect (you know, where you just...can't...stop eating because there are so many options?).
There's some evidence that backs up this theory: when researchers at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offered study participants M&Ms in 10 different colors, they gobbled up 77 percent more candy than when offered just seven colors. In another study done by the same researchers, participants consumed 55 percent more jelly beans when they were offered 24 varieties of flavors versus only 6 varieties.
If you suspect too many different tastes makes you hungrier, try this: Instead of eating seven different breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks each week, you may want to try alternating among just two or three of them. Dieters who have tried it say they actually appreciate having to make fewer decisions and feel fuller faster.
2. Control portions with frozen meals. Replacing two or more dinners a week with frozen meals can be helpful when it comes to portion control: since these kinds of meals are already portioned for you, there's no guessworkand no chance you'll be tempted to have seconds or thirds. Use this list of recommended dinners as a guide.
3. Cool your food. If you enjoyed cold pizza or spaghetti for breakfast in college, now's a good time to get back in the habit. Cold foods are thought to help you to burn more fat and fill up on fewer calories. Cooking actually reduces the amount of resistant starch in a food because it causes the starch to absorb water and swell, breaking up the starch and making it more digestible.
As a food cools, however, the starch recrystallizes back into resistant starch. This is why a cold boiled potato has twice as much resistant starch as a hot one. Eating cold, high-resistant starch foods may fill you up faster, so you don't need to eat everything on your plate. It will also provide you with an extra metabolism boost.
4. Choose less-ripe fruit. As fruit ripens, starch turns into sugar. This is why a green banana has 12.5 grams of resistant starch, whereas a ripe one has just 4.7 grams. Bottom line: The less ripe your fruit, the more resistant starch it will containand the more fat you'll burn.
5. Cook al dente. The more a food is cooked, the more water the starch absorbs, causing the starch to become more digestible (which may hinder weight loss). This is why al dente foods are thought to offer you more slimming resistant starch than foods that have been cooked into limpness.
6. Swap pepper for salt. You know how you feel hot after a spicy meal? You're burning fat thanks to capsaicin, a substance in chile peppers that speeds metabolism. If you want to boost your weight loss even more, try sprinkling a little red pepper on whatever you want.
7. Sip more green tea. I hope you're already sipping our tried-and-true tea-based Fat-Flushing Cocktail (2 quarts brewed green tea + juice from one orange, lemon, and lime). If not, consider this: Green tea packs two key metabolism boosters, and more tea could equal bigger weight loss.
In one study, participants who consumed caffeinated green tea daily continued to lose weight after four weeks, whereas study participants who did not have the drink had significant weight regain. Other research has found that drinking a cup of green tea before your workout can increase your fat-burning during it. Very high amounts of green tea (the amount in several cups) has been shown to boost fat-burning up to 17 percent.
8. Sleep an extra hour every night. You really can sleep your way to a smaller waistline, and an hour or two more zzzs can make all the difference. When you don't get enough sleep, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin rise and the satiety hormone leptin dips. This makes your body pile on belly fat, and it also makes you feel hungry, sluggish, and stressed.
In fact, a study at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, found that people who slept fewer than 6 hours a night tended to weigh more than people who slept moreeven though these sleep skimpers walked an extra 1.5 miles a day. And a Harvard study of more than 68,000 women determined that those who slept 5 hours or less a night gained 2.5 pounds more over a 16-year period than women who regularly slept 7 hours or more.
9. Exercise (some). You don't have to pump iron or run 5 miles a day to succeed on CarbLovers. But exercise will help you lose weight more quickly, and you'll feel great doing it, too. Now is the perfect time to get back into shape with The CarbLovers workout.
It's an optional routine that combines strength-training and cardio, burning loads of calories in under 20 minutes! If that's too much structure for you, then try these oldies but goodies: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, consider walking or biking to work rather than driving, or spend an afternoon walking with friends or your family instead of doing errands by car.