Fill a big teacup with soothing peppermint tea, and sniff yourself skinny! While certain scents can trigger hunger (a trick Cinnabon figured out long ago), others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month. (Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25% of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat.) Consider also adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow or burning a minty candle to fill the room with slimming smells.
Though Katz also says it isn’t nearly enough. "That doesn't help you pick the most nutritious bread, or the best pasta sauce. A member of the foodie elite might say you shouldn't eat anything from a bag, box, bottle, jar, or can." That's admittedly impractical. "We do need to look at all the details that populate the space between where we are and where we want to be."
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While it’s good to be aware of portion sizes on nutrition labels, why not flip them to your benefit? For example, instead of a bowl of ice cream with a few blueberries, have a bowl of blueberries with a spoonful of ice cream. While one cup of ice cream has more than 250 calories and not much in the way of nutrition, one cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories and is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Or, instead of a plate of pasta with some veggies, have a plate of veggies with some pasta. A mix of steamed or roasted cruciferous vegetables works great with a smaller amount of pasta. Not only does this ingredient swap cut the calories in the dish, the additional veggies provide nutrients like fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
While it might sound counterintuitive to eat something before you head out to a restaurant or party, showing up famished to the event will likely make it all the harder to stick to your weight loss goals. Eating something small (about 100 calories) with fiber (two to four grams) is a great way to readjust your appetite so you can show up and mingle a bit before diving into the cheese dip. Choose a whole food to take the edge off, like an apple or handful of nuts. For example, 30 pistachios are just 100 calories and offer two grams of fiber, along with protein and healthy fats, to truly take the edge off your appetite while providing a satisfying pre-party crunch. Enjoy your mini snack with a tall glass of water before the festivities to reduce your chances of post-party weight gain.
“It’s important to consider your goals and health issues when it comes to diet,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, and CEO of The NY Nutrition Group. For example, she would recommend a low-FODMAP diet for someone concerned with gastrointestinal issues. But it wouldn’t be the right fit for someone looking to lose weight, who would be better off with the DASH diet or Volumetrics, she explains.
How-life writer and unrepentant alcoholic Henry Chinaski was born to survive. After decades of slacking off at low-paying dead-end jobs, blowing his cash on booze and women, and scrimping by in flea-bitten apartments, Chinaski sees his poetic star rising at last. Now, at fifty, he is reveling in his sudden rock-star life, running three hundred hangovers a year, and maintaining a sex life that would cripple Casanova.
“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
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In today’s modern era of 24-hour meal delivery and extra-large food portions, many people are confused about how much and how often to eat. Gueron says one of the most common questions she gets is, “How late can I eat dinner and still lose weight?” Recently, several studies have shown that avoiding food past certain hours of the day or intermittent fasting can promote weight loss. She says a moderate approach that boosts weight loss and comes without apparent side effects for the healthy individual is the 12-hour intermittent fasting approach. An example is having your first morning meal no earlier than 7 a.m. and your last evening meal no later than 7 p.m. Thus, 12 hours without food or caloric beverages consumed gives your body time to rest from eating and promotes fat burning without unnecessary hunger that daytime fasting can cause.
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Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. “Do what you like because it’s good for you,” Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.