It’s the time of year when many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common of these is losing unwanted weight, particularly after gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays. Following are 22 tips, from Dr. Michael Greger’s evidence-based 2000 book “How Not to Diet.”
1. EAT FOOD LOW IN CALORIE DENSITY, such as vegetables, fruit, and unprocessed grains — which also happen to be loaded with health-promoting fiber and micronutrients.
2. NUTS AND SEEDS are an exception to No. 1. Nuts are high in calorie density, but a handful a day contributes to optimal health. Nuts cause satiety (a feeling of mindfulness), so that fewer calories are eaten after eating nuts. Seeds are also calorie-dense but unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on salads don’t contribute very many calories, and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds a day reduces inflammation and provides healthy omega-3 fat.
3. EAT LEGUMES DAILY. Beans, lentils, chick peas, and split peas make you feel full, so you will eat fewer calories the rest of the meal. Furthermore, they feed the health-promoting bacteria in your gut microbiome, which in turn produce chemicals that cause satiety, resulting in less calorie intake for hours following eating legumes.
4. AVOID HIGH CALORIE-DENSITY FOOD such as animal products (including seafood), and added oil.
5. AVOID ADDICTIVE FOOD, such as salt, sugar and fat (the latter is often hidden in the form of added oil).
6. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD such as anything made from flour — donuts, pastries, cookies, cake, chips, most crackers (Wasa brand is an exception), and cereal that comes in a box.
7. WATER BEFORE MEALS: Drink 2 cups of cool or cold, unflavored water before each meal, which will cause you to eat fewer calories during the meal.
8. EAT A CUP OR BOWL OF LOW CALORIE VEGETABLE OR LEGUME SOUP BEFORE EACH MEAL, slowly with a teaspoon, which causes satiety so that you will take in fewer calories during the remainder of the meal. Another option is to pre-load meals with a salad with a low calorie, oil and sugar-free dressing (recipes found on the internet).
9. VINEGAR: 2 teaspoons before each meal causes satiety, so you will eat less. Furthermore, it decreases blood sugar and insulin levels. Using vinegar as a salad dressing is one approach — if you’re going to drink it, dilute the acidity with water.
10. EAT MINDFULLY — don’t get distracted by your phone, tablet or TV during meals.
11. EAT SLOWLY — spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal, which allows hormones to kick in that tell you you’re full. Chew your food well, and don’t drink your nutrients (smoothies enable people to unconsciously ingest a lot of calories quickly, before realizing they’re full).
12. BLACK CUMIN SEEDS (Nigella sativa) 1/4 teaspoon (buy on internet) have been shown to aid weight loss. One-half tsp of regular cumin with lunch and dinner does the same thing.
13. GARLIC POWDER — at least 1/4 tsp daily has been shown to reduce body fat.
14. GROUND GINGER — at least 1 tsp daily — reduces body weight, especially if taken in the morning.
15. BAKER’S, BREWER’S, OR NUTRITIONAL YEAST — 2 tsp a day facilitates weight loss.
16. STAY HYDRATED by drinking enough water or other calorie-free beverages to keep your urine clear to pale yellow. Avoid artificial sweeteners, which are associated with weight gain.
17. DE-FLOUR YOUR DIET: As Dr. Greger says in his book, grinding grain into powdery flour causes it to lose the fiber and resistant starch needed to feed the health and weight loss-promoting organisms in the got microbiome. Furthermore, flour enters the bloodstream rapidly, causing harmful blood sugar and insulin spikes.
18. FRONT-LOAD YOUR CALORIES: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Dr. Greger explains that “because of our circadian rhythms, food eaten at night is more fattening than the exact same food eaten earlier in the day.”
19. DON’T EAT AFTER 7 PM, AND FAST FOR 12 HOURS BETWEEN DINNER AND BREAKFAST in order to be in sync with your natural, daily biorhythms. If you brush your teeth right after dinner, you will be less apt to eat later.
20. EXERCISE: Any exercise helps, but at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise such as brisk walking is important for optimal health and weight.
21. WEIGH YOURSELF daily.
22. SLEEP: Get 7-8 hours of good sleep a night.
Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment, or email [email protected]