We all know that in theory, losing body fat is pretty simple and straightforward – all we need to do is to eat fewer calories than what we burn during the day. But, this can be difficult – especially when we are faced with easy access to abundant, delicious food and like many of us, a stressful lifestyle.
When the going gets tough, it can be a lifesaver to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are 10 simple tips to make getting rid of you body fat a whole lot easier.
Trick #1: Eat high-quality protein at every meal
High-quality protein foods such as meat, fish, and eggs reduce hunger and keep you satisfied because they lead to the release of hormones in the gut that are very satiating. Additionally, they provide plenty of the amino acid tyrosine, which has been shown to reduce the desire to eat. Meat, cheese, and leafy greens, such as spinach and mustard greens, are all packed with tyrosine.
Trick #2: Start meals with veggies or salad
Research shows that the food you put in your mouth first is the food you will eat the most of at that meal. Starting meals with low-calorie, fiber-rich foods like steamed or sautéed veggies instead of calorie packed bread or appetizers can make up the bulk of the meal and reduce overall calorie intake. It works because as long as you see and eat the same volume of food, you are likely to feel full and satisfied despite the fewer calories.
Trick #3: Use smaller plates
A full plate sends the signal that you’re eating a full meal, whereas a partially full plate look like a skimpy meal, regardless of the actual quantity of food. Research shows that using smaller plates and filling them up is a simple way to reduce calorie intake for easier fat loss.
Trick #4: Don’t eat in front of the TV or any screen
Distracted eating almost always leads to overeating. For example, when people eat while watching TV or a movie, they keep eating until the program ends, ignoring hunger cues and often far surpassing the amount of calories they would have eaten if they had been paying attention to their meal.
Trick #5: Keep unhealthy foods and snacks out of sight
Keeping food out of sight, or simply out of reach, lowers calorie intake. A food that is “hidden,” even if you know it’s there, requires increased motivation to get and makes you more mindful about what you are putting in your mouths.
For example, one study found that people will eat fewer calories if they have to get up out of a chair and walk across a room to eat popcorn and cookies on a counter than if those same treats are within reach on a table.
Trick #6: Eat probiotic foods—yogurt, sauerkraut & other fermented foods
Did you know that taking antibiotic drugs will shift the composition of your gut bacteria so that your body is able to absorb a greater amount of calories from carbohydrates? It’s true, and you can bet that those extra calories are converted directly to body fat.
Additionally, one group of researchers hypothesize that inflammatory gut bacteria can alter dopamine levels, in the brain, increasing cravings for foods loaded with fat and sugar, driving up calorie intake.
Trick #7: Use whey protein strategically to reduce hunger
The protein in whey helps blunt hunger by reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also has the highest thermic effect of all protein powders, which means whey raises energy expenditure, which translated into about 2.2 pounds of fat loss in overweight men who took 56 grams of whey protein daily for 23 weeks.
Trick #8: Eat within a 12-hour window
You may have heard the recent headlines that Americans are eating ALL DAY LONG from the moment they get up to when they shut off the light. For most people this is far more than 12 hours, and the continual, sustained intake of calories is certainly contributing to obesity and diabetes since it never gives the body a chance to burn body fat. By using a 12-hour eating window, you leave your body with 12 hours of fasting, resetting your metabolism, moderating calorie intake, and improving fat burning for easier fat loss.
Trick #9: Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats such as the omega-3s found in fish or monounsaturated fat in olive oil and avocados are unique because they raise body temperature, which leads the body to burn extra calories. These fats are also highly satisfying and can reduce energy intake over the course of the day when paired with high-quality protein and healthy carbs.
Trick #10: Watch out for overweight friends and fast eaters
Humans are extremely susceptible to social cues when it comes to eating. For example, if we are eating with someone who eats fast or makes unhealthy food choices, we do too. Fight it by being conscious about what you put in your mouth and how much you’re eating with friends.