Convenient. Attractive. Normal.
These three words (which are the basis for the even easier to remember acronym C.A.N.) may be the key to eating healthier without really trying, according to a new paper from Cornell University. The review of 112 studies concluded that eaters make good choices when healthy foods are visible and within reach; they’re displayed enticingly; and they’re set up as the most obvious choices compared to other food options. It just makes sense: When you place gorgeous pieces of fresh fruit in a pretty bowl on your counter, you’re more likely to take one than if they’re hidden away—especially if the chips or cookies are even easier to grab. Bottom line, make it handy to eat healthfully and you’ll follow through, no “diet” or willpower required.
In addition to remembering C.A.N., there are plenty of other research-backed strategies fornot dieting, and still shedding pounds. Here, four more easy tactics you can adopt.
Plate your veggies artistically
In a University of Oxford study, subjects in one group received salads arranged to resemble an artistic painting; a second group was provided with salads featuring vegetables lined up in neat rows, and salads in a third group were served in a typical piled-up fashion. While all the salads contained identical ingredients, dressing, and condiments, the artistic salad was rated the best by subjects, by a nearly 20 percent margin. In fact, people reported that they’d be willing to pay twice as much for the painting-like versions. The takeaway: We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs, so if you’re trying to reach for healthy foods more often, put some effort into how you present them. (I think this study demonstrates one reason why Mason jar salads—and the myriad of photos of them on social media—have become so popular.)
Nosh before you shop
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating: A 2013 study, also from Cornell University, found that skipping meals before heading to the supermarket is a surefire way to sabotage healthy shopping. Volunteers were asked to fast for five hours, then either given nothing to eat or crackers, and asked to make purchases at a simulated food market. The fasting group bought 18.6% more food—including a whopping 44.8% more calorie-packed items, like chips and ice cream—than the cracker eating crowd. In a follow-up study, researchers observed shoppers at an actual supermarket just after lunch and in the late afternoon. Compared to post-lunch shoppers, those who strolled the aisles in the late afternoon—when they were way more likely to be hungry—bought over a quarter fewer low-calorie foods like vegetables. To prevent hunger from keeping healthy food items out of your grocery cart, eat something to take the edge off pre-shopping. Stash a golf-ball sized portion of nuts or seeds in your bag, and try to finish them before you walk through the entrance of the supermarket.
Spend a little time in the morning sun
The timing, intensity, and length of your exposure to light during the day may significantly affect your weight. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Northwestern University found that compared to people who got most of their light exposure later in the day, those who enjoyed even moderately bright light in the morning had significantly lower BMIs. In fact, the later the hour of light exposure, the higher a person’s BMI, and vice versa. The numbers held true independent of an individual’s exercise regime, calorie intake, sleep timing, and age. The powerful effect, researchers say, is due to how light influences our body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate metabolism and weight regulation. To keep those rhythms in sync and your weight in check, researchers advise getting 20 to 30 minutes of bright light exposure between 8:00 a.m. and noon. And no, you don’t have to be outdoors—a room brightened by natural sun (versus a room with no windows and only artificial light) will do.
Don’t dine while distracted
Bringing your lunch to work is a smart way to control your calories. But if you surf the Web while you eat, you may consume more than you would’ve if you’d focused on your meal, both during eating and later in the day. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who played a computer game while lunching felt less full, snacked more, and had more trouble recalling what they had eaten than those who’d eaten without distractions. So while it may feel weird to sit at your desk without checking email or doing anything but eating, that’s the best lunchtime strategy for your waistline. Bonus: You’ll actually enjoy your lunch.
****If you ever need more weight loss tips, never hesitate to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm a personal trainer in Chicago and I've been serving weight loss personal training clients since 2005.
Picture: Julia Khusainova
Author: Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health Magazine
5 Non-Diet Ways to Trick Yourself into Losing Weight
On Sunday, Sammy found these two great recipes and made our lunch a midday treat. It achieved my personal training nutrition focus (veggies, fish, and beans) and tasted great! Give it a try!
Southwestern Kale Salad
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
3 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
1 green bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup red onion, small dice
Freshly ground pepper
2 bunches of kale, rinsed and dried, ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
One 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1. Whisk together the lime juice, three tablespoons canola oil, honey, chili powder, cumin, garlic and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the corn, red bell pepper and onion and sauté for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the vinaigrette, cooked vegetables and black beans and serve.
****Courtesy of FoodandWine.com
Blackened Cajun Mahi
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
(2) 6-oz wild caught Mahi Mahi** filets, thawed and patted dry 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1. Make the spice rub by combining all the dried spices on a plate and stirring with a fork to combine.
2. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat. While it is heating up, dredge the fish filets in the spice rub and coat evenly. When the pan is warm, add the coconut oil, and cook the spice rubbed fish until cooked thru. Cooking time will depending on the thickness of your fish. Typically about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve warm.
****Courtesy of TasteLovely.com
Weight Loss Recipe: Blackened Mahi with a Southwestern Kale Salad
1. Believe that you can redefine yourself.
2. Create a business plan for your life.
3. Become a human scientist and study the physical, mental, and emotional you.
4. Make it a point to understand yourself and others.
5. Commit to this journey and don’t take the easy way out.
6. Become an outside observer to the mechanics of your mind and think about your thinking.
7. Ask yourself the tough questions and answer honestly.
8. Practice looking at yourself objectively.
9. Trust your instincts, your gut, and your perspective, but know where they stem from.
10. Don’t be a bystander in the course of life.
11. Adopt the mantra “Keep it Simple”.
12. Write your new mantra on a post-it note and place it in numerous places as a reminder.
13. Confront your inner influences.
14. Approach new ideas with an open mind.
15. Realize that you’re not alone.
16. Practice mindfulness.
17. Teach yourself to wake up to life around you—and inside of you—at any given moment.
18. Schedule alerts throughout the day to remind you to “take a breath”.
19. Listen to your inner voice.
20. Catch yourself making negative statements about you while randomly doing other things and write them down.
21. Don’t analyze yourself.
22. Filter your subconscious messages.
23. Create a list of positive messages and repeat them to yourself daily.
24. Face your inner self.
25. Remove the invisible obstructions that hold you back from achieving personal success.
26. Become a detective and collect the truth of a moment, observing yourself and every movement, sight, touch, scent, and sound of the world.
27. Gather evidence for the truth without judgment.
28. Don’t take a leap of faith without stopping first and observing the moment.
29. Accept that you don’t know everything.
30. Stop the train of life and pick up the bits and pieces around you every once in awhile.
31. Remain aware before making a decision, judgment or movement and commit to a higher state of living.
32. Accept the real perfections and imperfections of the world.
33. Soak in the aura of a moment wherever you are as often as possible.
34. Don’t dwell on the imperfections of you, your situation, or your surroundings.
35. Remove yourself from a situation when necessary (despite your emotional investment).
36. Don’t fixate on imperfect pieces of life that are unchangeable at the moment.
37. Don’t construct a rose-colored reality to mask the blight and scathing.
38. Accept things in their current state, including the blight and scathing.
39. Sometimes listen to your subconscious when it taps you on the shoulder.
40. Sometimes ignore your subconscious when it taps you on the shoulder with the same negative message.
41. Remember this quote by Frederick Douglass, a former slave and leader in the abolitionist movement. Accept that what you discover isn’t always the easiest to handle (and that’s okay): “…I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eyes to the horrible pit, but to no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow slaves for their stupidity. I often wished myself a beast.”
42. When you don’t accept it, tell yourself again and again and again that you should.
43. Quit complaining and do something.
44. Accept your ‘selfish friends’ as they are and ignore their ‘selfish’ tendencies. Discuss with them how their actions make you feel or begin dismantling your friendship.
45. Accept that the president (insert Republican, Democrat, or Independent here) is the leader of the United States. If you don’t support them then either: get involved with politics, make a grassroots effort for change, or ignore their political decisions.
46. Develop an evidence-based strategy to overcome challenges and choose the best possible decision.
47. Judge yourself fairly.
48. Don’t avoid looking at yourself.
49. Accept that obsessive, perfectionist ambition will lead to a perfect state of stress and an emotional unacceptance of your life.
50. Limit your distractions and listen to the people around you.
51. Don’t multitask (sorry).
52. Accept that feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is the result of your perspective.
53. Think rationally about the challenges you face daily.
54. Identify the fears that steer your behavior.
55. Refuse to allow insecurities to steer your behavior.
56. Tell yourself that you’re strong enough to face your fears again.
57. Tell yourself that your insecurities are irrational.
58. Find the root of your insecurities and write down the evidence against these irrational claims.
59. Extinguish Your Insecurities.
60. Don’t worry what people think unless you request for their input.
61. Accept people’s input, but remember you don’t always have to agree with their opinion or approach.
62. Leash and manage your emotional output.
63. Develop a cool head that will allow you to see the whole picture without a filter.
64. Recognize what drives your emotions and the coping behaviors that result.
65. Accept that you failed to reach these goals once before, and you may fail again.
66. Regain control over your life.
67. Feel confident about your approach, accepting the consequences, and adapting whenever and wherever needed.
68. Take control of the trends, patterns, and little idiosyncrasies that make up your world.
69. Don’t say “It is what it is” unless you’ve fully investigated yourself and the possible solutions.
70. Accept that improving a relationship might mean adapting or leaving it.
71. Identify the areas in your personal life in which you feel helpless.
72. Find control over your happiness at work.
73. Take control over your position and reshape it in a way that brings fulfillment to you.
74. Reevaluate your role in the company.
75. Change or redefine your position so that it fosters autonomy.
76. Request a position that values your creativity and judgment.
77. Understand your decision-making process.
78. Control the external influence on your decisions.
79. Convince yourself that you can change your environment.
80. Approach new problems with confidence.
81. Identify the problem accurately and specifically.
82. Consider as many solutions as possible and their implications.
83. Choose the best solution and then act.
84. Accept that making mistakes is part of the learning process and sometimes we have to make them repeatedly before we notice they’re a problem.
85. Accumulate wisdom through error.
86. Change bad habits by inserting a new routine, keeping the old cue, and delivering the old reward.
87. Accept that you already live by a set of rules.
88. Redefine your boundaries based on your needs (not your wants).
89. Create conversations with others.
90. Realign your perspective with your purpose—what you feel you were meant to do.
91. Create goals to maintain your positive focus.
92. Create a bucket list.
93. Slow down your life.
94. Treat life as an adventure and explore the unknowns.
95. Smile more often.
96. Share wisdom with others.
97. Give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not.
98. Help someone when you notice it.
99. Be your best self.
Author: Michael Moody Fitness
99 Ways to Redefine Yourself
Over the last 2 months, my personal training client, Tim, has been tracking his body weight and body fat loss. I'm happy to report that Tim has lost 13.7 lbs between October 13th and December 9th! In fact, he reported a new low on Thursday, December 11th: 189 lbs! That's 15 lbs in 8 weeks....and well in our sustainable "1-2 lb per week" range.
Take a look at his trends below! What do you notice?
Tim's notes along the way......
What trends about your weight do you notice during your fitness/personal training experiences? Are there some days on your chart that show a higher weight than others?
After a 10 night trip in Europe, I'm ready to start normal life of personal training in Chicago again! On my first day back, though, I realize that my routine isn't as stress free as I thought. This realization isn't a surprise. Usually the greatest benefit of my extended holidays is my return from my mental break.
As I step back into my normal life, I notice my tendencies to be overly aggressive while driving and the pressures I place on myself to squeeze days of work into a few hours. You can only imagine the stress this contributes to my daily life and the bad habits that occur as a result. I, no different from anyone else, also fall whim to poor food choices or less healthy behaviors.
While my body type won't allow me to gain major weight, this lifestyle can lead to other health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes. There's no way around this-everyone must pay attention to their unhealthy tendencies. In order to do this, though, you may have to pull yourself from your reality for a mental awakening. Once you return, you may realize the need to simplify your life. This may help you with your weight loss goals while meeting with a Chicago personal trainer.