Instead of focusing on any one specific diet, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center wanted to determine what kinds of simple behaviors people could do to help them lose weight. Their ultimate goal was to get people to reduce the number of calories they’re consuming regardless of what types of food they’re actually eating.
They came up with three specific things that you can do to lose weight, all of which are Weighthacker approved:
1) Keep a food journal.
2) Try not to eat out too much.
3) Don’t skip any meals.
I’ve found No. 1 to be one of the most effective ways for people to lose weight since it’s actually hard for your brain to keep track of your food intake (we simply weren’t built for that). Research team leader Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., put it this way:
“For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals. It is difficult to make changes to your diet when you are not paying close attention to what you are eating.”
Skipping meals was actually associated with eating more calories according to McTiernan:
“The mechanism is not completely clear, but we think that skipping meals or fasting might cause you to respond more favorably to high-calorie foods and therefore take in more calories overall.
We also think skipping meals might cluster together with other behaviors. For instance, the lack of time and effort spent on planning and preparing meals may lead a person to skip meals and/or eat out more.”
Eating out is problematic because finding healthy options can be harder, you have little control over what ingredients are in your food, and you don’t control the portion sizes. With restaurants prone to serving massive portions, your’e practically bound to eat more than you intend to.
(from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics via MNT)