1. Say nighty-night earlier
Getting your Zs on earlier in the evening greatly reduces the chance that you’ll make a late night raid on the pantry. But that’s not all; insufficient shut-eye also messes with your body’s hunger and fullness hormones. Sleep deprivation causes the ‘feed me’ hormone, ghrelin, to kick into high gear. Excess ghrelin tricks you into thinking you’re always hungry and that sugar and refined carbs are your buddies. (They are not!) When you’re well-rested, however, another appetite hormone, leptin, steps in and signals your brain that you’re satisfied, helping you make much better choices.
Wind your bed time back by half an hour each night until you’re getting a good eight or nine hours of sleep. Your whole self will thank you.
2. Nix late-night nibbling
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego recently released results of a study they conducted using two groups of mice. In a 38-week period, one group was allowed to eat whatever they liked, whenever they liked. The other group was restricted to eating only within a 9- or 12-hour window each day. Both groups consumed roughly the same number of calories. At the end of the study, the eat-any-time mice were obese and sick, but those on the restricted eating schedule stayed sleek and fit, even if they sometimes ‘cheated’ and ate more than usual. OK, so they were mice, but the researchers believe this form of daily fasting is hugely beneficial to humans, too!
Put yourself on the clock from your first mouthful of food or sip of coffee. If you eat brekkie at 7am, your cut-off time is 7pm and so on. Sip water or herbal tea but let not a morsel cross your lips once your time is up! Like all good habits it may take some getting used to, but we promise you’ll love the morning-after flat tummy effect it delivers.
PS: Don’t cheat by not eating brekkie till noon!
The earlier you cut off the chow, the better. If you typically don’t eat until 11 or noon, reduce your ‘window’ from 12 to 9 hours.
3. Drink more water
It’s one of the oldest diet tricks in the books for good reason – it works. When you’re well hydrated, your entire body, including your metabolism, functions more efficiently. Studies show a glass of water before each meal may help you consume around 100 calories less than you otherwise might. That all adds up! Studies also show we are woefully neglectful about downing sufficient H2O. An easy way to tell if you’re getting enough is to check your pee; if it’s dark and smelly, keep sipping. The goal is pale and odour-free!
But won’t I be on the loo ALL the time?
In the beginning, perhaps, but your bladder will soon adjust. Meanwhile, download a loo finder app on your smartphone to help you find public toilets when you’re out and about. Just In Time (Android) or National Public Toilet Map (iPhone) are both handy, or visit toiletmap.gov.au on your computer at home.
Start every morning with a large glass of warm water plus several squeezes of lemon juice or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Carry a refillable water bottle with you so you can drink on the go.