Hacks to Help You Stay Healthy

With today’s obesity epidemic, scientists are working non-stop to better understand weight gain and how to lose the excess pounds. While losing a lot of weight can be a challenge, recent studies have come up with a number of simple tips and tricks that can help you slim down without putting too much of a cramp in your daily routine.

Drink Tons of Water

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You probably already know that you’re supposed to drink a lot of water if you’re trying to lose weight, but you might not know just how important water intake is to the cause. Simply drinking two glasses of water (around half a liter) prior to meals can make you think you are fuller and reduce your meal portions. Water can also help you digest. In fact, the average woman eats around 2,000 calories a day, but when she consumes water first, that number drops to around 1,200 calories. Similar decreased calorie consumption was seen in men as well.

Drink More Tea

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Water’s not the only thing you should be drinking. A Tufts University study has shown that drinking three cups of green tea a day can help you lose twice as much weight as you would otherwise. White tea is also beneficial and a German study found that it can help decrease the number of new fat cells you develop while helping you burn off the existing fat cells in your body.

Cut Out The Corn Syrup

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Speaking of beverages, if you just have to drink soda, put down your regular Pepsi products and grab some Throwback, which is made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. While both add on calories, a Princeton University study has shown that corn syrup prompts far more weight gain than sugar does. Of course, soda isn’t the only source of high fructose corn syrup. It seems to be in everything these days and it can even be hard to avoid. On a personal note, I can tell you that I cut almost all sources of corn syrup out of my diet and I’ve felt a lot healthier afterwards. Most noticeably, the shaking I get between meals if I wait to long to eat is mostly gone when I don’t have corn syrup for a whole week.

Enjoy a Fattening Breakfast

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While eating a high-calorie, high-cholesterol breakfast can seem counter intuitive to the goal of weight loss, it can actually be incredibly good for you. According to an article in the International Journal of Obesity, eating a fattening breakfast, a lighter lunch and a very light dinner can lead to more weight loss than eating light meals all day. Researchers believe that eating a hearty meal early in the morning revs up your metabolism, helping you to burn off everything you eat throughout the day. If you only eat cereal, your body will only be able to metabolize carbs throughout the day, but if you eat eggs and bacon, you will be able to digest fat and carbs much more efficiently.

Eat Slower

Eating slower helps you feel fuller after eating less food, your body also has more time to digest each bite individually, leading to better metabolization of the meal.

Put Leftovers Away Before Eating

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By now, you’re probably familiar with the importance of portion control, but sometimes it’s so hard when you have good food sitting right in front of you. A simple solution to reduce your number of second helpings is to put away leftovers before you start to eat your meal. If you do go back for seconds, you’ll also have to take the time to remove the food from the fridge and the Tupperware, which will often reduce the serving size of your second trip.

Overload On Veggies

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If you can’t handle portion control and love copious amounts of food, then just fill your plate with steamed veggies or salad with light dressing. These yummy foods have limited calories and massive nutrient values, maximizing the healthy side your indulgences.

Don’t Eat and Multi-Task

One of my biggest problems is the fact that I will snack while working at my computer and before I know it, I’ll have gone through a whole box of crackers. While you can always try snack packs so you can limit the amount you intake, it’s generally better to just avoid eating while doing other things. This also allows you to take a break and relax for a while, making your food more of a treat and less of a habit.

Instead of Snacking, Brush Your Teeth

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If you’re craving a snack, try brushing your teeth or using mouthwash. This will not only placate your mouth from wanting to nibble, it will also make you wait a while because most foods taste icky right after you brush. Your dentist will also like this plan.

Buy Food With Cash

Sometimes you’re going to end up having to eat fast food. It’s part of our modern world, but you can easily reduce the amount you order at the restaurant by paying with cash instead of a credit card. A study by Visa showed that customers spent 30% more at fast food restaurants when paying with plastic instead of cash.

Make A “Veggie Section” In Your Shopping Cart

A recent University of New Mexico study showed that shopping carts that have been modified with a “vegetable section” caused shoppers to buy over 100% more veggies than they normally would, while they did not spend any additional money. Although your local grocery carts may not have a veggies section, you can improvise by putting a basket in your cart and telling yourself to only put vegetables in the basket.

Listen to Music While You Work Out

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Of course, dieting goes hand in hand with exercise when it comes to weight loss, and if you want to make the most of your gym time, rock out while you work out. This not only makes exercise less tedious and boring, but this decreased boredom can help you work out longer and harder, increasing your performance by up to 20%.

Watch Less TV

When you watch tv, your heart rate slows and you burn 20 to 30 fewer calories per hour than you would doing just about anything else. Instead, read a book, take a walk, play with your dog. Just do something that requires more energy.

Wear Comfy Clothes

If your work doesn’t require you to dress up, then don’t. People who wear comfortable clothes walk an average of 8% more every day than those in business attire. Besides, why be uncomfortable when you don’t have to be?

Weigh Yourself

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You are 82% less likely to regain weight you’ve shed if you weigh yourself on a daily basis. It can also help motivate you to keep working out and stick with the diet. Before you start on any weight loss regimen, I seriously recommend learning your body fat percentage so you know what you’re working with. While many people think that your body mass index (BMI) is a good indicator of your health, this measurement doesn’t take body shapes and muscle mass into account. You may be overweight according to the BMI and healthily muscular according to a body fat test. For a simple test you can use at home, try this one at Health Central. Do any of you have any tips to add that help you keep your weight down?

Sources: Lifehacker #1, #2, #3, Health Assist #1, #2, BBC, KOB, About.com, Reader's Digest, InventorSpot, MSN and Medical News Today

Not really a how to lose weight, but more of a how to stay motivated.
Take your measurements. The scale may not be moving very much, BUT you may be losing quite a bit of inches all around.
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I've read that while HFCS does cause more weight gain, it's sweeter, so if a product did have cane sugar in it, they would have to put more in to compensate for the difference, there wouldn't be any health benefit for making the change. As for a good fatty breakfast, those work great if you have a hangover too.
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"the shaking I get between meals if I wait to long to eat is mostly gone when I don’t have corn syrup for a whole week."

This may not be specific to HFCS, but just generally reducing the quantity of simple carbs (sugars) in your diet. It reduces the surges in your metabolism that cause those shakes when you hit a low point. I've noticed the same thing, but I can end up having a hypoglycemic reaction (even more shakes! :)) so I have to pay attention to have a good balance of some sugar, but not too much, and preferably spread out in small amounts.
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Sugars are not only empty calories, they cause a spike in blood sugar (of course). Your body responds by releasing insulin, which brings the blood sugar down by converting it to glycogen. Keeping your blood sugar stable with small amounts of protein with each meal (I won't go into the role of glucagon) and replacing simple sugars with complex carbs will help you lose weight, feel full, and might improve your mood. Getting enough chromium helps, too.
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On the topic of portion control (critical on Weight Watchers for me)…my nutritionist introduced me to a new product which has just come out, but it's hard to find in stores. I ordered it online from www.PortionControl.net since they offer free shipping. It’s definitely a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that product, and it really helps me with daily portion control, while making my cooking easier and tastier. I LOVE THEM. It’s really a nifty idea, and I recommend it if you like cooking at home but are struggling with eating right.
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I bought the Mountain Dew Throwback soda. I LOVE it! It has a fresher, fruitier (grapefruit) taste. I hope they keep it. Now if I could only find "Mexican" Coca Cola I'll be a happy camper. They call it "Mexican" Coke because it has cane sugar and NO H F corn syrup. Tastes so much better but I can't find it anywhere.
They did a study and found switching your pop to cane sugar based ones actually had people losing weight even though the did not diet or change their eating habits any other way. Did you know the U.S. is the only country that makes Coke w/HFCS?
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Sugar is sugar. Sugar from corn is essentially just concentrated so the industry can use less material to get the same sweetness. Yes, if you compare a cup of granulated sugar to a cup of Karo, you'll see a massive difference, but the volume is not what you should be looking at. You should be looking at the grams of actual sugars. Consider caramel made from cane sugar... The bottom line is the actual gram amount of sugar shown on the label of the food you buy. The source of it is irrelevant, metabolically. Just avoid foods with a bazzilion grams of sugar per serving; don't be concerned about where that sugar came from. Heck FRUIT juice has a TON of sugar, even if it is squeezed in your kitchen. Fruit are sugary.

Also, eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast does not mean that your body can ONLY metabolize carbs for the day. The studies show a fatty breakfast WILL in fact help boost the use of fat as energy, but will not stop anything else from being used as well...
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I read a few psychology studies a while back that found that the two highest predictors of how much food you eat in a meal are:

# 1: The number of people eating with you: there is a direct positive correlational relationship between the number of people eating with you and the amount of food you eat. This may have something to do with the "don't eat and multitask" point, as people tend to be distracted and talking while eating.

# 2: The variety of food on offer: The more variety on offer, the more you eat. I don't think this needs to be explained.

These findings were robust and replicable. I also remember environmental temperature being a good predictor, with people eating more in colder temperatures than hotter.
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"a German study found that it can help decrease the number of new fat cells you develop while helping you burn off the existing fat cells in your body."

Either worded very poorly or completely false. Once you are an adult, you DO NOT EVER make more fat cells or lose any fat cells (without liposuction). The cells only shrink or expand as the amount of lipid in them changes.
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"Sugar is sugar": no. There is a great deal of research to back the link between the rise of HFCS use in foods and the increase in obesity. Some sugars are more easily digested and processed by the body than others. Natural, readily available sugar such as that found in an apple is very different in structure from HFCS, which must be created via a complex chemical process... and while we're on the subject of non-foods, sodium bromate is a commonly used dough conditioner, banned in most countries as a known carcinogen but used in the US (especially in fast-food chain buns and breads).
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I was raised in a no/low corn household because my grandmother was allergic to corn and corn products. I cannot stand sodas, pancake syrup, and other items sweetened with HFCS, they're too sweet and TASTE like corn syrup to me. I don't crave that extra sweetness, and actually prefer less sweet things. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, REAL maple syrup (my mother in law nearly had a conniption fit when I told her I don't like sweet pancake syrup), and I drink either Diet Dr. Pepper (I'd rather taste aspartame than corn syrup) or Dublin Dr. Pepper (thank God I live in DFW and it is much cheaper to get here than other places). Hubby loves the mexican Coke (sold @ Costco).

I have found that cutting down on products made with HFCS, and doing things like baking my own bread (from scratch), using extra virgin olive oil instead of other cooking oils, real butter instead of margarine, etc, I have lost weight and have more energy than I used to.
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Surprised that no one else finds it odd that an article titled "Hacks to help you stay healthy" is purely focused on loosing weight. Have we gotten to the point in our society where the only thing we associate living healthfully with is loosing weight?
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@Ashley, the total number of fat cells has plateaus rather. They stay constant in number and keep growing in size with increasing lipid content, but after a certain critical size, they divide, giving you many more fat cells.

And now, even if you do lost any extra weight again etc. you will still have that additional number of fat cells.
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