According to recent research, the average person makes 200 decisions every day that will influence his or her weight. And most of these decisions aren’t monumental choices, like “Should I become an elite marathon runner?” or “Should I move to Wisconsin and live entirely on bratwurst and cheese curds?” Most, in fact, are tiny little choices—habits, really—that over the long run, lead us down one of two paths: the road to ripped, or the freeway to flab.
And guess what? That’s great news! Because it means that you don’t have to run marathons—or even give up bratwurst—to start losing serious weight. You just need to break 7 very simple, common habits—tiny changes that have nothing to do with diet and exercise, but have everything to do with dropping pounds, looking great, and making a huge improvement in your health.
Fat Habit #1: Putting the Serving Dishes on the Table
Researchers at Cornell University found that when people served themselves from the kitchen counter or the stove, they ate up to 35 percent less food than they did when the grub was on the kitchen or dining room table. When there’s distance between us and our food, the scientists theorize, we think harder about whether we’re really hungry for more.
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Fat Habit #2: Getting Too Little (or Too Much) Sleep
A sleep schedule is vital to any weight-loss plan, say Wake Forest University researchers who tracked study participants for 5 years. In the under-40 age group, people who slept 5 hours or less each night gained nearly 2½ times as much abdominal fat as those who logged 6 to 7 hours; also, those who slept 8 hours or longer added nearly twice as much belly fat as the 6- to 7-hour group.
People with sleep deficits tend to eat more (and use less energy) because they’re tired, says study coauthor Kristen Hairston, M.D., while those who sleep longer than 8 hours a night tend to be less active. Read the rest of this entry »