(StatePoint) Maybe you want more energy, or perhaps you want to lose weight and keep it off for good. Whatever your goals, a new year means a fresh start to become the best version of yourself.
Here are five tips from Nutrisystem experts to get your scale moving in the right direction and support your long-term health.
1. Skip “diet” drinks: Of course, you know not to order the regular cola with your meal, but you figure the lower-calorie diet version is an okay choice. Not necessarily. One recent review of research found that artificial sweeteners often used in diet drinks may not be as beneficial for weight management as intended, and that drinking them regularly may be linked to an increased body mass index. If you want something fizzy, opt for seltzer with lemon or lime. But if you can’t stop dreaming of that diet soda, it doesn’t have to be completely off-limits. Just try to cut back. Moderation is key!
2. Drink more water: Every part of your body needs water to work properly. When you don’t get enough, your body can’t perform normal functions, which can drain your energy. More fatigue means less physical activity. Plus, mild dehydration is often masked as hunger -- prompting you to grab a snack when all you really need is water. Nutrisystem experts recommend drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses daily.
3. Slow down: It takes 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signals from your stomach to reach your brain. When you inhale your food, it’s much easier to eat more than your body really needs. One review of 23 studies found that fast eaters were about twice as likely to be obese, compared to slow eaters. To help slow down, take smaller bites, chew 10 to 15 times and put your fork down between each bite.
4. Don’t eyeball portions: “The super-sized meals at restaurants have given us a skewed view of proper portion size,” says registered dietitian for Nutrisystem, Courtney McCormick.
Even if you’re tracking your food intake with an app or food journal, overestimating portions can sabotage progress.
McCormick’s solution: Measure portions -- not forever, but for a while at the start. Doing so will help you get a visual of what portions should actually look like. You may also consider eliminating some of the guesswork with a program, such as Nutrisystem, that offers pre-portioned, nutritionally-balanced meals.
5. Reduce stress: Stress can cause your body to burn calories more slowly, which could lead to weight gain, according to a study. Plus, stress increases hormones that stimulate appetite, and the foods you’ll crave for comfort tend to be high in fat and sugar. Help manage stress with deep breathing, meditation, exercise, hanging out with friends or listening to music.
More tips on jump-starting your weight loss goals can be found at nutrisystem.com.
With these tips for the new year, you’ll be on the road to realistic weight loss achievement and have more energy for your day-to-day life.