When you’re trying to lose weight, everything matters and some habits can slow down healthy weight loss. These five little tips are not often mentioned in articles about shedding unwanted pounds, so if you’re dieting but not losing weight, they might just help.
With all of the super-sizing and focus on snacking in today’s society, it seems like women are always thinking about or in the process of trying to lose weight. This is often true in Western cultures where beauty is defined by how “thin” you are, much more so than in other cultures around the world. This phenomenon is not new… even when I was growing up, my family was concerned about weight. But for some people, it is really hard to lose those unwanted pounds…
My parents tried many diet programs over the years. And when my mom dieted, we all dieted! Which was ok, because we had the tendency to be a bit more round than not. Growing up with a focus on weight, when we got old enough to leave the family home, it became a kind of joke. Whenever I would get in touch with my mother or sisters, the question would come up shortly into the conversation: “Are you skinny or fat?” because we were always fluctuating in weight. None of us were grossly overweight, just usually carrying a few more pounds than we wanted. And often times we were dieting but not losing weight.
So, over the many years of watching my diet, and then the decades of changing over to more natural living, I’ve experienced a few little things that help with weight loss.
There are so many dieting articles out there about calorie counting and exercise programs, getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet that I won’t be talking about those points here.
Instead, I’m going to give you five easy tips that you may not have considered. They could help, if you’re dieting but not losing weight. This is for those who want to lose a bit of weight, in a healthy way, and can’t figure out why progress is so slow.
1. Stop consuming diet sodas and foods
This is probably the most important tip because it is so surprising to someone who wants to lose weight. Let me explain.
Most consumers (that’s means us!) truly believe product marketing. We know this, because selling diet products is a multi-billion dollar industry. So, if we are told that drinking a diet soda will help us lose weight, we jump right on board.
But the reality couldn’t be more opposite!
Diet product ads don’t include the fact that most diet sodas and foods contain nasty chemicals. Not only do they taste bitter and unpleasant, but they can actually cause us to gain weight! Plus, they are bad for our health in other ways.
Sad but true.
The primary culprits are the artificial sugars in diet products. The taste of false sugar triggers the body to create insulin. Insulin is responsible for either storing the sugar as fat in the body or using the sugar as food (fuel). A problem arises when we consume false sugar substitutes that cause the body to create insulin for no reason, because – there is no sugar to be processed.
This creates false hunger that we try to satisfy by eating something, when we would not normally be hungry. Fake sugar chemicals are hundreds of times sweeter than natural sugar, so they actually increase our craving for sugar and high calorie foods. The unpleasant result for dieters is an increased waistline, unwanted belly fat and weight gain.
Consuming diet drinks and foods results in metabolism problems. And those problems are made worse because we consume more of these items, believing that because they are sugar-free, it’s ok. Consuming even a small amount of diet soda can cause the body more harm than drinking beverages that contain actual sugar.
Be aware that consuming these sugar-free, chemical laden products is not only damaging in the moment. Further down the line, the cumulative damage could result in metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by high blood sugar, diabetes 2 and gut issues.
It is important to read the labels on diet, fat-free and sugar-free products and avoid consuming products that contain ingredients like saccharin, Neotame, sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame-K. Additionally, some drinks and sodas are advertised as sugar and calorie free, but they contain alcohol sugars, like xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol, which do contain some calories and also cause excessive bloating and gas.
There is much more to be said on this subject, but this is enough to give you the idea that eliminating diet products can help when you are sincerely dieting but not losing weight.
Instead of drinking diet sugar-free sodas, try replacing them with unsweetened sparkling waters flavored with natural fruit essences, or spring water with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
2. Stop overeating – the two hands guide
Many diet programs limit the amount of food that is permitted while dieting. That makes sense because if you want to lose weight you need to both consume fewer calories and increase the amount of calories that your body burns up in a day’s activity. That’s why most diet programs also encourage you to do more exercise.
While restricting food intake is a valid point during a diet, it is also valid for normal eating every day. Instead of counting calories or weighing food, the natural holistic medical system of Ayurveda, from ancient India, advises us that we should limit our meal intake to what we could hold in two hands.
That means, cup your two hands side by side, and look at that empty space in your palms. That’s how much food (or how little) you should be eating per meal.
That’s not a snack, that means a full meal!
When I first heard that principle, I held my hands out and was shocked and disappointed at the tiny amount my small hands can hold. Very eye-opening, when one considers a “normal” meal that consists of salad, bread, vegetable, meat, condiments and dessert.
Portion control is one of the most important principles for weight loss, weight maintenance and for general good health. If you can use the two-hands principle, you will probably never overeat again and will certainly find it easier to lose weight and maintain your ideal weight, without having to weigh your food before eating.
And, if the idea of using your two hands to determine a meal size sounds too limiting, maybe this next point will suit you better.
3. Stop eating after your first burp during a meal
Sound strange? This is another principle given to us by Ayurveda. If we pay attention to our bodies and eat in a settled atmosphere, we will realize that we have a burp at some point in a meal. Sometimes, we are not aware of burps or we have been culturally taught that it is rude to burp, so we stifle burps when they arise.
Ayurveda explains that our body will tell us when it has had enough, and that is when we burp during eating. From experience, I can tell you that it is discouraging to have that burp when you still have food on your plate. It takes some getting used to, and I soon learned to take a bit less of everything (usually less than my eyes wanted) so I could include dessert, if that was going to be an option.
If we continue to eat after the burp, we are putting in too much food at one sitting. We not only overtax our bodies to digest that food, but it is also more difficult to shed pounds when we overeat. So we can use this burping signal to help us if we’re dieting but not losing weight.
If you are a person who doesn’t notice having burps, take special care to eat while sitting down, avoid stressful conversations during meals and take time to appreciate your food as you are eating it. With these slight adjustments, you might notice the burp signal more easily.
Note: Avoid drinking bubbly drinks, (even bubbly water) while eating, as this might cause a burp that is not related to how much food you have eaten. It is also better to sip a warm drink during meals rather than a cold drink.
4. Stop Eating Bread, Grains and Heavier Foods At The Evening Meal
This one is something that we practiced when I was growing up. When my mom was dieting, she used to always say, “No bread after 5 pm!” This seemingly random rule stuck with me(funny what one remembers from childhood!) and I have noticed a difference over many years.
Contrary to modern dining habits, it makes sense to avoid eating heavy foods at the later part of a day when we do the least exercise.
Eating the heaviest meal at night might seem convenient, because we are usually at home and have more time to enjoy a big meal, but our bodies pay the price.
In order to eat a well-rounded diet and still lose weight, adjust your grains, bread and carbohydrate intake to the earlier meals of the day and you will probably notice a difference, if have been are getting stuck in your dieting. Plus, you may find that with this little trick, you have better sleep at night.
5. Stop chewing gum
I may lose some people on this one, but there is enough evidence that chewing gum, in general, is not all that great for health. When it comes to weight loss, one of the main factors against chewing gum is that it causes the digestive juices to begin flowing. This sends signals to the stomach that food is on its way and our digestive enzymes gear up in anticipation of the expected food.
When digestive juices have been activated, but there is no food to digest, those enzymes can create bloating in the digestive tract. Over time, that could even lead to ulcers.
Plus… all of that digestive acid is wasted, and here, at the Enchanted SpiceBox, we avoid being wasteful.
We consider our bodies a blessing and a gift, through which we can enjoy our live, so we try not to misuse them.
Just like all other resources on our beautiful earth. 😊
Although some gum chewers say that they feel less hungry when they chew gum, most people have the opposite reaction. Chewing gum primes the body for food, so we tend to look for something to fulfill that need. And gum isn’t enough, so we reach for a snack to appease the hunger.
Another important point against chewing gum is that most dieters also choose sugar-free gum. Sugar-free gum, like other sugar-free foods and sodas, is chock full of chemical-based, non-nutritive sweeteners, like the ones mentioned earlier.
Even for the sake of losing weight, we should avoid unhealthy chemicals like Aspartame (Nutrasweet) or Sucralose (Splenda), saccharin and other artificial sweeteners.
Note: For more info, you can check out this article on Dr. Axe’s website. about the scientific research on the dangers of artificial sweeteners,
Even xylitol and sorbitol found in some chewing gums have digestive and allergic side effects that could hinder your weight loss. But people often don’t connect the health issues they are having to the gum that they chew.
Aside from the ill effects on digestion from swallowing sugar-free additives, gum chewing has also been associated with jaw problems and migraines.
Now that I’ve pointed out five habits to stop, here are three bonus tips; things you can do to help with healthy weight loss.
1. Eat Wholesome, Freshly Prepared Foods
An uncomfortable truth is that cooked food does not have a very long life-span. When we first started studying the ancient tradition of Ayurveda decades ago, we learned that food should be eaten within 4-6 hours of being cooked (although that timeline is often stretched these days). Point is, the longer food sits around after being cooked, the less life energy (you can think of this as nourishment) is available from that food.
There’s no point in trying to survive on leftovers that contain old and decaying food… this can lead to imbalance, weakness or sickness.
Due to our fast-paced societies, many, many people these days feel like they often don’t have the time to cook fresh meals. This means that they either eat out (often opting for unhealthy fast food) or they intentionally cook more than is needed for a given meal, specifically so they have leftovers to take to work or to serve for meals over the next days.
While this makes sense when considering time, it doesn’t help when you’re trying to lose weight. Especially when you are limiting your food intake, it is essential that every bite of food you put into your system delivers its maximum nutrients and vitality. Have you ever noticed that you can eat much more of a leftover than you could at the first time it was served? People often notice that it takes more of leftover food to feel satisfied than freshly cooked food – this is because it has lost its potency.
To understand more about avoiding leftovers from the prospective of Ayurveda, you can check out this detailed post about leftovers and prana from Adena Rose Ayurveda.
2. Try having one liquid meal every day
You might consider replacing one of your daily meals with a high protein smoothie or blended drink. If you are careful about ingredients, you will find that a smoothie can be very filling and you can easily control your meal portion. A balanced meal replacement smoothie would contain a milk or plant-based milk base (almond milk, for example) or yogurt, good quality natural protein powder, some greens, a bit of juicy fruit (not too much, to avoid a blood sugar spike), a little bit of nut butter and maybe even a banana,
You can use frozen fruits and also add some ice cubes to the blender to make the smoothie extra thick. You can also consider adding some natural flavorings like vanilla or almond extract, and cinnamon, which also helps with sugar absorption.
3. Drink a natural digestive shot before meals
This digestive has its roots in traditional medicine (Ayurveda) and is made with lemon juice, fresh ginger, salt and water.
It’s so easy to make and is suitable for all body types, especially when trying to lose weight.
In a small glass or cup, (a shot glass would be perfect) mix just 1 Tablespoon of water, 2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger (chopped, mashed or grated), and two pinches of mineral or sea salt. Let the digestive meld for at least 15 minutes.
I like to mash the ginger into the juice and water with a spoon to release more of its essence. Drink the juice of this mixture before meals for an easy digestive boost. It will help your body to process your food more easily and quickly. You can also chew the ginger pieces. If they are too pungent for your taste all at once, try a pinch at a time. You can enjoy the ginger pieces at any time throughout the day.
I hope that these helpful tips will be useful if you are dieting but not losing weight.
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