Is it possible to lose weight without changing what you eat? It may sound too good to be true. But when you put certain non-food habit changes into action, the weight loss results can be quite remarkable.
We’re sharing 5 specific impactful habits that have given our clients the best results. View the full video below for the full discussion!
We can almost see your eyebrows raise with skepticism, but we can promise you these simple habit changes will make a difference.
We’ve seen this time and time again with our clients. And in fact it’s often the first thing we work on before even looking at what they are eating.
We consider these foundational strategies that are key to long term success. Think of them like building a house- you have to lay the foundation first before building the rest of the home.
And the best part is, you can use them throughout your life to help support your weight and overall health!
By the way, #5 is the most powerful so be sure read all the way through!
Okay, so let’s start with the first habit change, and we think it’s a super easy one…
1. Switch to smaller plates.
Did you know that over the past 50 years our plates have gotten larger?
And years ago, “super-size” servings were not even a thing. It is actually a relatively recent phenomenon.
Inevitably, as the size of our plate increases, so does the amount of food we put on them. Studies show that larger plates can and DO cause us to serve ourselves more because the plates actually make the food portion look smaller.
Research also shows that if you take a medium-sized hamburger and serve it to people on a saucer, they estimate that it has more calories than if you serve it to them on a normal-size plate. The same thing is true with desserts. When presented on a large plate, people underestimate the calories in a piece of pie or cake compared to when it is presented on a smaller plate.
I actually started putting this into practice about a year ago. At first, Marc and the boys made fun of my smaller plate but I forged ahead anyway (my health comes first)! Now everyone is used to it and it has become a non issue. It gives me a chance to stop once my plate is empty and really consider if my body needs more food.
More often than not, I am usually satisfied with what fits on the plate (which is loaded with filling veggies as well). When you are more intentional about the size of your plates and portions, you are taking an important step toward being in control of your eating – instead of letting your eating be in control of you.
2. Stop eating 3 hours before bed.
How often are you truly hungry at night, if or when you find yourself snacking? It’s super common to have dessert or sit with a bowl of popcorn, chips, or pretzels when watching TV.
Let’s first separate out true hunger from just wanting something. If you had dinner at 5 or 6 and it is now 11pm, it may really be hunger calling. Ask yourself: Can I fall asleep with this feeling or will it keep me up?
Most of the time, we see night time snacking as one of the major obstacles preventing weight loss for our clients. And 95% of the time, it’s not true physical hunger, but a mindless habit they’ve fallen into. Take a sticky note and pin it on the fridge with the phrase “hunger or habit?” This short mantra will bring awareness to your eating activity and make you think twice about whether or not to engage with eating.
Another good strategy is to employ a 12 hour overnight “fast” from dinner to breakfast. Once you have this “rule” set in your head, it takes out the battle that goes on in your mind of whether or not to eat something. It is simply something you don’t do because you are fasting.
Overnight fasts are a really effective tool for wiping out non essential calories and giving our bodies a wonderful overnight period of rest and rejuvenation. And if you want to take it a step further, look into intermittent fasting – we have another video and blog post on it…
That being said, it’s ok to break this rule once in a while! Nothing needs to be 100% all the time. But if you find that you are someone whose snacking is getting in the way of your weight loss, this habit change will really benefit you.
3. Curb your picking.
Another common habit we see (and we’re guilty here too sometimes) is picking at food throughout the day. Again walking into the kitchen, grabbing a bite of something that might have been left out by another family member or if you are preparing food for someone else.
When we have clients track their food intake including their “picking” they are amazed at the amount of food intake they have from this. The first step to curb food picking would be to just become aware of how often you are doing this and then work on cutting back on it.
4. Focus on chewing and tasting your food.
Have you ever counted your chews? Most of us don’t. We eat quickly, often doing a bunch of other things at the same time
When did it become the norm to do a million other things while we eat (computer, phone, TV). If we are distracted, we can’t pay attention to the actual meal in front of us.
But more importantly, chewing your food really well will not only improve your digestion, but also promote weight loss by creating an automatic “delay” factor into a meal. Your body doesn’t figure out that it’s full until after a lag of about 20 minutes. The longer you chew, the longer it takes to eat, causing you to eat LESS quantity in a 20 minute time frame. Prolonged chewing is a fabulous way to prevent dangerous overeating.
In addition, how many times have you finished a meal and not even really remembered eating it? If your brain doesn’t know you ate, you are more likely to be looking for more food much sooner than later.
When you slow down, chew well, and focus on the meal instead of everything else around you, you will most likely feel more satisfied with a lesser amount and not need to go back too soon for more food.
And finally… #5. Athlete’s do it, actors use it and many motivational speakers talk about it…and that is to incorporate visualization.
According to research using brain imagery, visualization works because neurons in our brains interpret visual imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. Yes, “seeing” really IS believing, even when it is only in our minds!
That’s because when we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This creates a brand new neural pathway that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we are visualizing.
All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result.
Take a few minutes to think about a specific challenge you have around eating. What visualization could you put into place to help you achieve success around this challenge?
So what do you think? Which of these 5 non food habit changes will you start putting into practice? Even making one of these changes will begin bringing you surprising results. And once you get one of them down, you can move onto the next.