Disclaimer: This article may hurt your feelings, and that’s okay. Let me be brutally honest: You’re not going to lose weight in the new year if you’re betting on your New Year’s Resolution. It’s just won’t happen that way. There’s a good chance you will be setting some goals this year; and there’s a pretty good chance that goal might find its place vocalized on the social web. That means your friends and family will see the decision you’ve made to do ‘x’ this year. That also means this New Year’s Resolution of yours is backed by a legion of accountability partners–everyone who has seen your status or gleaned it from your lips is your accountability partner whether you asked them to be or not. But you won’t lose weight, because losing weight and hitting your health goals at the dawn of a new year is hard, and I don’t think you’re equipped to do it.
So prove me wrong
Most people this year won’t do a damn thing about their resolutions. Pardon my coarseness, but it’s true. You don’t have to believe me; you can believe the cadre of companies and celebrities that fan the flame for resolutions on Twitter: Now these are just the top two results, but you can see shortly before the New Year, everyone is hopping on the train. In the mess of them all, surely one of the most legendary goals is to “lose weight.” Others opt for doing a digital detox, some for finding their loved ones, and others pursuing health altogether. The question clearly isn’t “should I or will I have a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight,” but rather…
Why is this the year I lose weight?
Why will you achieve your goals this year and not last year? What is so different about 2018 that will make you suddenly successful? I believe in you, so let’s sift through a couple “not-to’s” when it comes to losing weight, because setting the resolution alone won’t do a damn thing.
1. Don’t tell anyone about your fantasy
I don’t say this because your opinion doesn’t matter: it kind of does. I say this because I worry you’re doing it to get likes on a status, or so that–if you fail–you at least would have announced your weight loss goals. Nobody has to know your goal, because the only person that needs to know it is you: not your family, your friends, or anyone who might see a New Year’s Resolution status. Let them care about the social glamor while you focus on your goals. Don’t let social media be your peril. If you want to lose weight, you know what to do it and mostly how to do it. Let your motivation and desire to change be your fuel. Other people won’t lose weight for you: that’s on you.
2. Stop idolizing food
When people look at a culture from the outside in, they look at the most rampant, widespread patterns of the people across the giant spectrum of behaviors. If you’re foreign to North America, you’ve seen it too. It’s called gluttony, and it’s glossed over as a petty sin, as it were. You will never lose weight if you can’t get over your fascination with food. It doesn’t matter if you take a weight loss stick every morning to curb your appetite, your love for food has to die this year for you to lose weight for good.
3. Learn the art of addition
Did you know little things add up? Just like the wrinkles on your face with age and the fat on your body from extra calories, good patterns add up too. Those hasty ten jumping jacks or push-ups; the walk around the office on break; the extra two glasses of water you drink per day: all of that adds up, and in the long run it’s going to demolish your body fat.
Good habits don’t just add up: they begin to multiply.
4. Be your own harshest critic
I believe strongly in not giving yourself any room to complain or make excuses. You can make excuses if you want, but you can also gain weight this year. That’s your choice. If you want to lose weight this new year, stop giving yourself breaks or cheat days. You’re just making it worse. Winners don’t take breaks; they don’t get cheat days; they don’t get to tell success to wait for them while they catch a breath. You have to be the meter for your success, and if that means a slow-and-steady climb up the hill, great! But if you’re one to lie down on the lea when the climb gets too steep and you begin to sweat, just roll back down. You won’t make it.
5. Refuse to be a hypocrite this year
Before you know it, 2019 is coming. Do you know what that means? Everyone will ask you whether you succeeded or failed in your weight loss resolution; and chances are, if they don’t, they likely don’t bring it up because they didn’t meet theirs either. I want you to tell them you beat the hell out of your New Year’s Resolution–that you lost all the weight and more that you planned to, and you’re now an impregnable health machine and will never gain weight again. But will that happen this year? Don’t relegate your goal to next year. Do it this year.
The hindrance to your New Year’s weight loss resolution is no other than the person in the mirror.
You can actually control your appetite. It’s definitely possible, but it’s not easy. There will be hurdles, failures, relapses–but there will also be victories. And if you don’t lose heart, you’ll be able to look, feel, and act like you’ve always wanted to. You don’t have to be a slave to your appetite. Follow these fifteen (15) actionable tips to control your appetite; and if you forget them, just come back and read it again. Easy… (the reading part)!
1. Consider why you eat
Much of the time, we eat without thinking. It becomes second nature, like checking our cellphone upon waking up or understanding advertisement cues on television. Sometimes we just eat.
We’re bored; we’re tired; we’re nervous; we saw an ad somewhere–or it’s just nearing the time of day that we usually eat. Regardless what caused it, try to be conscientious of when and why you’re eating: even if it’s just a snack. You might be able to relate your hunger cues to other factors, like a dog trained to salivate at the ring of a bell.
2. Return to the basics
We get so accustomed to hearing the “top, new Hollywood appetite suppressing” tips that we forget there are basic rules to follow, ones we learned when we were young. Consider the food pyramid, the geometric guidelines for the healthy amount of food groups.
It’s always easy to take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I eating too much dairy? What about too many grains? Do I need more vegetables?” Yes, yes you do.
3. Drink water and more water
When it comes to taking control of your appetite, you always want to be sure you’re getting enough water. While coffee, tea, milk, and even watermelon are sources of water, you likely won’t get enough in your system by those alone.
Drinking water before or at the onset of a craving allows you to determine whether you really are hungry or you were just thirsty. You were probably just thirsty.
4. Don’t skip breakfast
Having a healthy, considerable but not oversized breakfasts kicks your metabolism into gear early in the morning. Research has shown that missing breakfast causes “metabolic and hormonal differences in response to food” that was consumed later in the day, which means your body may compensate for a lack and you may eat more. Uh oh.
Also, if trying to choose a light breakfast meal, make sure you choose protein. The protein versus other food groups like cereals, oats, and simple carbohydrates will make you feel full immediately, but the effect will taper off soon and you’ll have a hunger ravenous for two buffets by lunch.
5. Look at the label
Do you ever have a mouthful of some yummy food, look down, and realize that you just ate your day’s worth in calories? Same. Don’t let yourself unknowingly deplete your caloric quota for the day: look at what you’re consuming. Is that snack you want to eat going to be a sizable crater on your daily values? Choose an alternative.
Look at the amount of calories in an item, then scan the rest of the label. If the snack is anything over 100-200 calories, you should probably ditch it (unless you’re very active).
Take our weight loss fitness stick, for example. It only has 15 calories, and there’s only one serving: there are no calories hiding from you. But when looking at food labels, always check the amount of servings. You may be enjoying that 90 calorie snack, only until you realize that the package you ate was actually 3 servings worth (270). Ouch.
6. Get up (not the movie)
Okay, don’t cry. Hold on. The movie was adorably sad–yes. But do you know what the old man did? He got up! Even at his old age, he adventured and tossed the idea of an aged, sedentary lifestyle in the trash.
This part–the correlation between appetite and physical activity–is complex. In fact, many scientists disagree about the conclusion. Some say your body’s appetite hormones, ghrelin, the appetite increaser, and leptin, the appetite suppressor, are stimulated by exercises; others dismiss the idea.
Bottom line: exercise is healthy for you whether or not it suppresses your appetite, but doing jumping jacks, push-ups, or walking around the house or office now in then will definitely stimulate your mind and deter you from mindlessly snacking.
7. But don’t get down
This emotive tip for controlling your appetite is actually quite an important one: Don’t beat yourself up if you overeat while sticking to your dietary regime. I mean, if you downed an entire row of Oreos, you might want to repent a little.
You can’t climb to the top of the ladder if you get off it every time you descend a rung. You have to keep going up it, even if you slip and fall down 3 or 4 rungs. If you curbed your appetite successfully for a week, and totally messed up on the weekend, you have to keep going on Monday.
You can’t quit (even though, of all days, Monday is the easiest day to quit).
8. Watch for hunger cues
Our body is like a machine: it remembers our patterns, like the muscle memory a professional MLB player gathers that makes him an incredibly dexterous and explosive asset. Your body will remember–encode–certain behaviors that cue your appetite.
TICK. It’s time for you to eat… or is it? Is it “that time of the day that you eat,” which means you must be hungry? Maybe you aren’t really hungry; and maybe just everyone else ate early and you want to fit in.
What triggers your stomach to say, “Hey, I think I’m hungry”? Audit your body’s behavior and look for those moments that you get hungry out of the blue, and then see if any of them are false readings. Maybe you’re hungry, or maybe you just got home from work and opening the fridge is just part of your routine.
9. Eat early, not late
In an earlier blog we gave some hacks to avoid late-night snacking, and talked about how silly the myth is about eating late at night. Now we’re reinforcing it: instead of just shunning late-night snacking, control your appetite earlier in the day by eating your last meal well before bedtime.
When you don’t set a time frame for eating dinner, you remove parameters on meals and snacks. Instead of eating at a static time, you might push back dinner and snack in the mid-afternoon. You’ll end up eating late at night, sleepily snacking and rue it all in the morning.
Your body best operates in routines, and unless you are in control of your appetite, it will control you.
10. Brush your teeth
Have you brushed your teeth today? Don’t answer that unless it’s yes. Brushing your teeth is an excellent way to suppress your cravings immediately. Have you ever tried drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth? Worst mouth event ever.
We suggest you get in a habit of brushing your teeth immediately after dinner. This prevents you from snacking and from delving into the cupboards late at night when everyone else is asleep… unless you’re stubborn, and you’d rather snack and brush them again. We can’t help stubborns.
11. Drink strategically
“What does drinking have to do with controlling the appetite?”
This special liquid is a conniving joy-giver. It makes you feel good, content, bold, and usually not hungry–until your body reaches that point and says, “Okay, where’s the fridge?” There’s a reason you crave simple carbohydrates when you drink.
Alcohol, when consumed, depletes your glycogen stores (carbohydrates) to metabolize it, so it needs to refill the carbs. The more you drink, the more your body is robbed of stored energy, and the greater the need it will have to fill it.
You have a few options. You can either…
Cut out alcohol completely (just kidding)
Eat before you drink
When your glycogen starts to deplete from that wine, beer, or hard stuff, you will have built a barricade against the fickle behavior of your boozy appetite. Having eaten, you won’t have to deal with two appetites (natural appetite + boozy appetite = unmet dietary goals).
12. Shop like a minimalist
Minimalism is the “art or lifestyle of living only with things we need,” and when it comes to shopping for food, it’s a powerful lifestyle to embrace. If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store when you’re hungry, you know the game: your appetite chooses what to buy, not your brain.
It’s crucial you either eat before you shop, or only buy the bare necessities. While buying in bulk will usually get you the deals, if you buy a family size when you just want a bite, you’re giving your appetite a way in: “There’s extra in the house, so I can have a little more.”
13. Find your motivators
Sometimes it takes motivation to do just about anything: go to work, get off the couch, wake up… Choosing to eat healthy and not glut at every moment possible also needs motivation, which is why we recommend you find what or who motivates you to control your appetite.
Do you have a wedding or grand event coming up? Do you look up to a certain fitness instructor or someone who clearly has his/her appetite under control? Are you tired of the lazy, stuffing, lugubrious feeling after overeating? Whatever is your motivation, cling to it and set it before your eyes at all times.
14. Get accountability partners
Find someone who will walk with you side by side, to fight your appetite and overeating together. There’s nothing quite as powerful as having accountability for the things that you do (or don’t do); and when you’re trying to achieve fitness goals, you want find people who both praise you in victory and encourage you in defeat.
And when you learn how to control your appetite–once you’ve donned the medals and achieved your fitness goal, you can be someone else’s motivation. What a feeling that is when, not if, you get there…
15. Get confident, overly confident
There’s nothing more intimidating than someone who isn’t afraid to speak his/her mind or back down from a challenge. You might think those people have a certain “type of personality” or are just different from you. Maybe, but I think you’re scared.
Don’t be timid to be the best damn you possible: to be confident in the face of failure, to say yes when everyone is saying no, and to keep getting up when the easiest thing to do is lie there and let someone else tame the appetite.
You don’t have to be a slave to your appetite.
Do you have any tips that have helped you control your appetite?
Have you ever been told not to eat late at night because that’s how you gain weight? And it wasn’t just about eating extra food: it was about eating specifically late at night? Oh yes, truly that is when the voracious calorie monsters come out at night to breed. There they stand, arm in arm, to replicate a hundred fold as you lie there in innocent sleep, only to awake to an extra, totally-uncalled-for belly fold or striation of cellulite! Nah. That’s not true. (But gosh, I’d start installing security cameras and setting up booby traps if it were.) Calories are calories, and 3500 of ‘em is one pound of fat. While exercise is vital to live a healthy life, you must get in control of your diet. For the most part, that means eschewing high-calorie foods… and eating fewer of them on a regular basis. So let me show you why eating at night is so… sinister… so deadly–in the form of melodrama. You wake. It’s 12:37 A.M. and you are in a sleepy stupor, perhaps a stumbling one; and even though you have lived in your house for years, you’d be doomed to navigate through it with your eyes closed or in the pitch black, because you’d hit every wall and stub all your toes (in my experience…). (Or you walk through your house like Frankenstein with stretched-longer-than-usual arms to get your bearings.) You slowly navigate to the one place in the house that is your haven: the kitchen. You’ve arrived in the dark chambers of the culinary palace, careful not to make a peep on the wooden floor or frigid tile to wake someone who may know that you’re snacking at night. Now it’s time! Light of light emerges from the vertical rift between both sides of the refrigerator door: It’s the pearly gates of food within, and you are eager, so eager to know what’s inside (even though you do, because you stock it). Regardless whether the treats are novel or drab, fresh or stale, you devour all in sight and cloy yourself into oblivion. You feel great! Haha, no… You feel miserable and trapped. You might feel like it’s a whirlpool of appetite that will drown you; and you left the floaties in the car, didn’t ya? But be of hope! We have some tips to help you control your appetite as you wield the shield against the power of late-night snacking–except against Pop-Tarts. I… I have no defense against those.
Late Night Hacks
Brush your teeth after dinner
Yeah, yeah. Hygiene. We’re serious, though. This tactic is easy to implement but not always supremely effective (depending on the person’s inclination toward hygiene). It usually works for those who don’t like to eat after brushing your teeth before going to bed. Eating after brushing is almost like drinking orange juice with the faint taste of toothpaste in your mouth. Gross.
Brushing your teeth, [hopefully] part of the phase when getting ready for bed, is that penultimate act of sleep that tells you and your voracious, greedy appetite that you have a date with your pillow, and the refrigerator needs to get a life.
“I want a snack, but I’d have to brush my teeth again… I don’t wanna do that. I’ll just go to bed.” BOOM. Victory.
Not everyone likes the sentence above. It may be a menace to you—but if you’re looking to refrain from snacking, it may be the best thing you can do. Not only does alcohol have a sly ability to sneak in calories here and there without you knowing it, it also surrenders you of any ounce of self-discipline you had before you took that sip or chug… or keg-stand. A glass of wine or a swift cold one may sound wonderful after dinner (or before), but it’s not going to be your friend when you realize the next morning that you unnecessarily ate two handfuls of Cheez-Its when you really weren’t hungry. (But they were good and you know it.)
“Now that I can think soberly, I realize I’m not really hungry: I just like the cheesy dust that adorns my fingertips after a late-night date with Cheez-Its.”
Drink more water
If you can, drink water only. Even though it is translucent, tastes like nothing (except maybe a few minerals to the water connoisseurs), and has zero calories, it still fills your stomach. Now you may be like me and find it nearly impossible to drink and eat at the same time. That cup of water may be sitting there, staring at you while you eat your food one piece at a time: but once the meal is over, only then it will get drunk. It is worthy. But if you’re not like me, try giving the water/healthy beverage of choice some attention before or while you eat. Much like eating a salad to fill your stomach before you gorge on meat or heavier foods, water will sate you enough to give you discipline as you eat. It will mean that you will eat less potato salad when you know you’re not hungry—as it takes roughly twenty minutes for your stomach to alert you that you are actually full.
“Ohh, so I wasn’t hungry enough to eat three fistfuls of food—I was just compensating for thirst? I should work on that daily water quota!”
Be active in the day
I know, it’s difficult to live an active lifestyle when we’re so busy all the time; and if you add in a full work schedule or a quiver of children, you hardly have time to take intermittent sips of your wine (Just kidding… kind of.). When you exercise, especially to the point of sweat, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. I’m sure you heard of what these babies can do for you, but I’ll tell ya. Endorphins are by and large pain relievers, like that good feeling you get when you go on a run. But, once you finish the run, when your legs turn into Jell-o, you need someone to carry you, and you forgot how to function. You’re sore. The natural chemicals were exuded in you to relieve pain so that you can continue exercising and pushing your body past its comfortable limits. Once the endorphins run out, though: Let the hurt come in. (It’s the same thing that happens when you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts: the endorphins ran out.) Exercising in the day will rob you of your excess energy you get from your food, and that’s good! You won’t be restless when dusk comes, and the energy needed for the arduous walk to the fridge to get another handful o’ chips well be much harder to muster, considering your body already used it.
“If I were active earlier in the day; then the leer of that cake on the counter that *SOMEONE* bought won’t mesmerize me anymore because I’ll be too tired to get up.” Muahaha.
These are a few quick tips to help you control your appetite and defend against the midnight siege upon your appetite! What are some other life hacks you’ve used that have been successful?
When I realized I was wrong…. there I was, standing in a labyrinthine line that stretched seemingly from the East to the West, and it boasted a grand reward at the end. ‘Twas a booth that offered free trips to the Caribbean! No, it was a roller coaster. Three hours… for a cart hoisted on tracks to spurn me into a ride of endorphin overload. It jolted my limbs as a surrogate masseuse, yes, but it’s not what caught my eye. The people-watching: ever amusing; the cacophonous mixture of laughs and screams giving the amusement park a well-needed ambiance: adorable. The heat and dearth of anything remarkably close to healthy: a death knell. When you go to an amusement park—while you believe you are the most prepared person to ever foot a park—within one hour you realize that you forgot to bring a hat. Then you look down and see you’re wearing jeans with hot, fluffy socks that in no way aerate your sweaty soles. Most sweetly, you brought one 16oz water bottle to sate your thirst for about 20 minutes. Good job.
There you are, sweating like a golden retriever in a summer dog park; you’re a mess, but, since you’ve had an affair with soda pop for the last ten years—you’re not a very hot mess. I mean, you can see your feet, but you’re at a juncture in life where your fitness expectations have not been met.
Mapping your habits
You need a map to navigate this whole “health” thing. I was there, and I tried several things. Let me give you some tips not how to create yourself a new body, but to help you map yourself a structure of healthy habits.
Avoid amusement parks. I haven’t met a soul who can resist a churro. (If you have that power, please comment below how you are a superhero.)
Drink water; and then drink more water. Ditch the sodas and other water-alternatives entirely. Sodas on average have upward of 36 grams of sugars, which will spike your blood sugar immediately and grant you some temporary energy—but they will render you listless and lacking in viable nutrients you need for the day. (If you really want to tackle the whole sugar problem, begin tapering the sugar/additives you use in your coffee in the morning. One packet of sugar contains 5-10 grams, and if you add several to your Vente Caramel Macchiato with Skim Milk and [Only] 2 Pumps of Extra Caramel, those simple carbohydrates will add up, tower over you, and consume you like the sun consumes the happy faces on a hot day at an amusement park while in line for 3 hours…)
If you’re having trouble getting that energy while you’re ditching soda, try an energy booster. A boost in your energy and metabolism will not only steer you from unhealthy alternatives but also give you the power to make healthier eating decisions.
Purchase active shoes/wear (if you don’t have any). Start small, but carve out a small slot of time a couple times a week to walk. Not everyone is dauntless enough to embark on a rigorous regime and start running daily. That’s for those superheroes in Step 0. Maybe it’s before or after dinner—and even if it’s only in 10 or 15-minute increments—it will release endorphins, make you happy, and cause you to crave just a little more exercise each day. Endorphins (released by any type of physical activity, especially the enduring kind) even acts as an analgesic, a fancy word for a pain-reliever!
Don’t reward yourself too prematurely. I know that when I experience relatively minor victories in my healthy habits, I will go to the store, isle 10 (memorized by now), to the 3rd freezer at the end and buy some cheap 100-calorie creams. BUT IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Resist the temptation to pat yourself on the back all the time. It’s good to feel good about yourself, but sometimes we have to teach our bodies the hard way. Breaking and replacing habits take at least 3 weeks to settle in. Remember that.
Interact with your friends/family. No, not in the form of “Hey, I just starting eating healthily and taking this new fitness drink; and I’m gonna stick to it this time!” Instead, encourage them without even telling them you’re working out. “Hey, how have you been pruning your habits recently?” “Is that supplement helping you?” “We should get some veggie tortas instead of waffles tomorrow at breakfast.” Of course, this is optional, but I find (and maybe you have!) that when I work on my habits without broadcasting them, it somehow incentivizes me to continue them regardless of what people say. It’s like preparing for a beach trip two months before it happens just so you can reap the unforeseen compliments when you arrive clad in your favorite, scantier-than-before-but-modest beach apparel 😊. Ask yourself, friend: how many steps do you really need?