One study showed that people who did nothing but add fresh fruits and veggies to their diets lost weight when compared with a control group of people who made no changes. The reason for this is that fresh fruits and veggies are filling, low in calories, and high in nutrients. One theory about cravings ties them to nutritional shortages. Eating your fruits and veggies can actually tame that sugar monkey you’re carrying around.
Divide up your plate. As a rule of thumb, half of your plate should be veggies, one quarter of it protein, and the other quarter whole grain starch. This isn’t to say you can’t have a plate of spaghetti and nothing else, it’s just a guide for the proportions you should keep in mind. Eat until you’re full, then stop. Easy to say, hard to do.
Talk a daily walk. Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week as the absolute minimum required for good health. You can break that up though. So park a few blocks from your job and walk 10 minutes twice a day, and ten minutes at lunch, and you’ve done your 30 minutes. Even better, get up early and walk before you shower (or run if you are already fit). Walking early in the morning adds meditative benefits and revs up your metabolism.
Go to bed earlier. Most Americans are sleep-deprived and brag about it, but when you consistently get less than eight hours of sleep per night your body releases cortisol, a hormone that causes fat to accumulate around your middle. This is a hardwired response to stress, something your body learned a million years ago when people who weren’t sleeping were usually people who weren’t eating either or were in danger. Cortisol is part of the “fight or flight” response, and you can’t stop it through willpower.
Meditate. Even five minutes twice a day will show benefits. Most Americans are incredibly unaware of what they are doing and where they are doing it. If you are rushing around all the time, your mind always on your next task, you’re triggering that cortisol thingie again and that will chub you up fast. Slow down. It’s not a race unless you make it one.
Take emotional eating seriously.