Weight is a national obsession, for pretty obvious reasons, if you just look around you. So researchers are spending long hours trying to find ways we can shed those extra pounds, preferably without much inconvenience.
And I have some good news: Many of their findings are easy-to-implement strategies that don’t take much effort – or willpower – to try out. Of course, not everything works for everybody. But it’s worth trying out these methods. They can make at least a few of those unwanted waistline inches disappear and stay gone.
Learn to Relax
Research shows that controlling your stress level is crucial for controlling your weight. The additional tonnage you gain from being under stress is shocking, if the results of a Swedish study are any indication.
The researchers found that women are especially vulnerable to the weight-altering effects of workplace emotional turmoil and stress. Women in high-stress jobs gained on average 20 percent more weight over the course of 20 years than did those whose work was less demanding.1
The message: If you feel like you’re being uncomfortably buffeted by your job, use stress relief techniques like exercise, yoga and meditation to bring your stress – and your weight – down to a more manageable level.
The Daily Weigh-in
A study at the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences demonstrates that your bathroom scale can be a useful tool in driving down your weight. According to this research, weighing yourself every day can keep you from putting on extra pounds.2
The study focused on holiday eating – a time that’s notorious for over-indulging. The researchers analyzed the habits of more than 100 people aged 18 to 65 during the holiday season and for about four months afterwards. They compared the weight changes of those who weighed themselves every day with those who avoided their scales.
Aside from this one thing, the researchers didn’t give the participants any other weight-control instructions. They were on their own.
The result: The folks who used their scales kept their weight steady or lost weight while the other group put on pounds.
The researchers believe the daily habit of checking your weight provides just enough extra motivation to get you to choose habits that help keep your weight down, and stick to them.
“Maybe they exercise a little bit more the next day (after seeing a weight increase) or they watch what they are eating more carefully,” says researcher Jamie Cooper, Ph.D. “The subjects self-select how they are going to modify their behavior, which can be effective because we know that interventions are not one-size-fits-all.”
Keep the Weight off
Once you lose some pounds, research shows that maintaining your weight loss will probably be easier if you follow a low-carb diet.
A study at Boston Children’s Hospital involved 164 people who had taken off ten percent of their weight. The researchers found that following a low-carb diet after the weight loss bumped up the body’s burn-off of calories by about 200 to 300 calories a day compared to dieters who ate meals with more carbohydrates.3
The study lasted about five months, but the researchers concluded that if this type of extra calorie burn persisted “it would translate into an estimated 10 kg (22 pound) weight loss after three years, assuming no change in calorie intake.”
An Herbal Solution
And if you find a warm cup of herbal tea is helpful in relieving stress, try sipping some yerba mate, a traditional brew from South America. Research shows that the natural compounds in this tea do good things for your metabolism while helping to peel off the pounds. As you lean back and sip your tea, you can relish the fact that it not only aids weight loss but also improves your insulin sensitivity and lowers your risk for diabetes.4