Here are some essential rules of building an eating plan that will give you the results you want:
Rule #1: Exercise.
Seems obvious, but regular physical activity has a more direct effect on your eating habits than you may realize. Scientists have recently discovered that exercise can strengthen the part of the brain responsible for "inhibitory control." Said the researchers in the journal Obesity Reviews: "Increased physical activity may help compensate and suppress the hedonic drive to overeat." Exercise can also make the brain more sensitive to physiological signs of fullness. Thus, the benefits of exercise are short-term (affecting metabolism) and long-term (affecting behavior). To get better results, try to burn approximately 1,500-2,000 calories per week through physical exercise.
Rule #2: Eat slowly.
A recent study found that those who ate fast were heavier. Specifically, fast eaters consumed about 3.1 oz of food per minute, medium-speed eaters ate 2.5 oz per minute, and slow eaters consumed 2 oz per minute. Interestingly, most people eat high-calorie refined grains, such as white breads, pasta, and potatoes, faster than healthier whole grains. Also, portions, people! Keep them modest.
Rule #3: Choose behavioral programs if you need extra motivation.
This depends on the individual, but the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force funded a study that found that weight-loss programs that focus on changing behaviors with eating plans were more successful. These include commercial programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and other plans that involve group support, accountability, clear goals, and exercise encouragement.
Rule #4: Be patient.
Don't beat yourself up if the weight doesn't drop off even if you follow every fat losing edict in the universe. Sometimes the deck is stacked against you due to our evolutionary wiring that developed during periods of starvation. One recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine strongly suggests that weight regain has a lot more to do with hormones involved in appetite regulation than lack of willpower. Maintaining fat loss can be complicated, so keep at it and make healthy living your first priority.
More Answers from Int'l Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)