New studies from this year reveal secrets to help you lose weight.
Use mental imagery
If you’re trying to lose weight, imagine in your head what your desired outcome looks like and how you’re going to achieve it. Mentally visualise all the things you’ll be able to do when you get to your goal, and try to engage all five senses so you have a more tangible idea of what that’s going to look, feel, smell, taste and sound like. This may sound weird, but it actually helps you stick to your goals more readily when challenges arise and gives you confidence that you can make a change. In a study by the University of Plymouth in the UK, this technique, known as Functional Imagery Training, has been proven to help overweight participants lose five times more weight than those who underwent Motivational Interviewing, where participants talk out their goals with a counsellor.
See weight loss as a challenge
Whether you’ll have to ditch your favourite foods or stop being lazy, losing weight is hard (only celebs make it look easy), so call it like it is. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, realising that dropping the kilos is difficult will help strengthen your resolve and self-control so you’re more likely to make the lifestyle and diet changes needed to get to your goal. It’ll also improve your vigilance so you can assess what needs to be changed. It’s nice to give yourself constant encouragement, but sometimes a healthy dose of reality may give you just the push you need.
Eat a high-energy breakfast
Are three meals a day better for weightloss than six smaller meals and three snacks spaced throughout the day? The former is the answer, reveals an Israeli study, but the trick is to have a bigger breakfast, regular lunch and smaller dinner. Even though those who ate three meals a day consumed the same amount of calories as the participants who ate six meals a day, those who followed the three-meal plan had less hunger and carb cravings, and they also lost weight (5kg) while their counterparts ended up putting on some (1.4kg). According to lead author Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, that’s because “our body metabolism changes throughout the day”. “A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.”
Try daily fasting
Fasting has been proven to have good health and weight loss effects. And in the first study to look at the 16:8 diet, where adherents eat for only eight hours a day and fast for the other 16 hours, the 23 obese volunteers were found to have consumed fewer calories, lost weight and improved their blood pressure. For 12 weeks, the participants were allowed to eat whatever they wanted from 10am to 6pm and only have water or zero-calorie drinks for the rest of the time. Because it’s easier to maintain, researchers found that fewer participants dropped out, plus the idea of being able to feast all day before fasting all night may appeal to those who may struggle with calorie counting or cutting out certain foods.
Team up with your significant other
Trying to lose weight on your own can be hard without support and encouragement from your partner. However, by consulting with your loved one, losing weight can become a shared goal that has positive effects on both your weight loss and relationship. According to researcher René Dailey (PhD), an interpersonal communication expert, couples who were keen to support each other were more receptive to their partner’s approaches to losing weight, whether it was through encouragement, pushing each other to make better choices, or even guilt-tripping. Because they were on the same page, these efforts were viewed in a positive light and were more likely to result in stronger relationships and weightloss strategies that work best for each couple.