Keeping your waistline under control can be a real challenge, especially when you feel like you're in a giant diet and nutrition maze with no way out.
Fortunately, it is possible to start having more energy and a slimmer waistline without dieting, having to eat low-fat foods or living on a treadmill.
Here are 10 simple tips to help you keep your waistline in check without feeling overwhelmed or having to go on a diet.
1. Eat when you're hungry, not when you're bored.
Boredom appears to be one of the most common reasons for emotional eating. Some studies have shown that people more often reported eating in response to boredom than the other emotions.
If you're bored, try to be mindful, and instead of raiding the refrigerator, read a book, go out for a walk, play with your kids; try to do something you love.
2. Avoid skipping breakfast (unless you're really not hungry).
Traditional wisdom as well as studies show breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A study among preschool children found consistently eating breakfast contributes to a healthy body weight. And that's why skipping breakfast even though you're hungry in the morning is a habit that's not good for your waistline.
If you're really not hungry, on the other hand, don't force yourself to eat. I often see clients lose weight simply because they stop eating breakfast when they're not hungry.
3. Eat at a table, not in a car or in front of a screen.
Eating in front of a screen takes mindfulness out of the equation; the result is you have less control over what you eat, and you may eat more food than what your body needs.
Eating at a table and enjoying what's on your plate is a great way to keep your waistline under control.
4. Don't keep crackers, chips and other processed items in your pantry.
An interesting study showed that if you keep candies on your desk, you may consume up to 50 percent more than when the candies are two meters away. Likewise, chances are you'll also eat more processed foods if they are in your pantry than if they are at the grocery store.
Moreover, if you have been raised with the idea that wasting is bad, and you keep processed junk foods in your pantry, you'll probably eat them before they have a chance to go stale.
5. Snack on real food instead of processed sugary treats.
Fiber-rich fruit, nuts in moderation, avocados, healthy smoothies, and other real food items will give your body the vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fiber it needs.
On the contrary, most sugary pick me ups may only give you short term energy and add a few inches to your waistline on the long term.
6. Stop eating when you're 80 percent full.
There is a Japanese practice called "hara hachi bu" -- eat until you are 80 percent full. Most of us, on the contrary, are used to eating until full, which usually means we've eaten more food than our body needs. Over time, this keeps the weight on.
To keep your waistline in check, stop eating when you're no longer hungry, not when you're full. It may take about twenty meals to reset the muscle memory of your stomach so it gets used to a slightly lower quantity of food; have faith that it will work, even if it doesn't happen overnight.
7. Do your best to stop watching food commercials
Several studies have shown a link between food commercials and overeating. It has been shown for example that when exposed to food advertising, children consumed 45 percent more and adults increased their food intake, too.
Another study suggested that up to one in three obese children in the USA might not have been obese in the absence of advertising for unhealthy food on television. So, next time there's a food commercial, take a screen break!
8. If you have kids, make family meals.
Families who eat together are twice as likely to eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables a day as families who don't eat together.
And pre-school children who eat dinner with their family at least five times a week have less risk to become obese later on.
9. Avoid stress as much as possible.
We live in a world where Stress could well be our middle name. The issue is that stress is not good for your waistline; it can disrupt hormones and make you eat more of the wrong foods and less of the healthy ones. While it's not easy to reduce stress, don't let it invade your life.
10. Get enough sleep
Often times we feel hungry just because we have higher levels of the hormone ghrelin due to sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to overeating as well as junk food cravings, and that sleeping enough can help lower cravings for calorie-dense foods in adults.
This is why getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per day can also help you keep your waistline in check.
Anne Ricci is dedicated to helping women eat more real food, boost their energy and feel good in their body. You can join her tribe at AnnesHealthyKitchen's Community.