5 Simple Life Hacks to Prevent Weight Gain
Weight gain is serious business. It’s estimated that the obesity rate has risen three percent since 2008 – and it wasn’t exactly a small number back then.
But weight gain doesn’t have to happen. The things that you need to do in order to prevent it also don’t have to overtake your life. There’s this notion that if you’re not a personal trainer and don’t sleep in a gym, then you can’t be in shape. I can attest to the fact that no client has ever spent the night at UEFP, so we know that’s not true. All it really takes is some minor alterations to your lifestyle.
Here’s five simple hacks you can start doing now to make sure those pounds don’t start sneaking up on you – and you don’t need to complete your personal trainer certification to do these.
1. Start each meal with a protein
Protein provides more satiety than the other macronutrients (fat and carbohydrate). This means that it will leave you feeling fuller and satisfied. Studies have also shown that people who eat protein at each meal tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day (1). It also has what we call a high thermic effect of food. So eating a lean steak can cause a 15-30% bump in your metabolism. Eat good food and lose weight? Not a bad compromise.
2. Eat at home more often
The more home cooked meals you eat, the more the likelihood you’ll keep that weight off. The hamburger you make in your kitchen isn’t the same as the burger you’d grab from the drive thru window. Take-out food is loaded with extra crap, most of it meant to leave you craving, and eventually, eating more (shock, surprise I know). Remember that three percent rise in obesity? That coincides with a 23% jump in fast food sales. If you enjoy your breakfast while steering your car, it’s probably time to try some home cooked meals.
3. Use a preload
If you have to eat out – and are terrified you’ll lick your plate clean – use a pre-load. These are useful for work functions. Or holidays with your family….that you really don’t want to go to. A preload is simply consuming something simple prior to eating out. This could be a bowl of soup, small salad, or even a tall glass of water. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full. The pre-load starts up that conversation between organs, likely reducing the chance over eating too much later on. Research shows that when people do this, they actually eat less at the meal and end up dropping their weight by 7% (2).
4. Make life difficult
Training is vital, but it doesn’t do you very good if you’re sitting around the other 23 hours a day. Life is very easy nowadays. You can have groceries delivered at the touch of a button. You can stream season after season of your favorite TV show. You can see how Netflix may cause heart disease one day. Make your life a tad more difficult- use the stairs and fire your dog walker. Parking far away from the mall won’t get you a six pack of abs, but what we call NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or the calories you burn for everyday activity) will add up over time.
5. Lift something heavy
I know not everyone is a fan of it – or knows how to do it properly- but resistance training is key to keeping the weight off. For one, the older you get the more muscle you lose, which is around 1% per year. Doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up to a 5-7% decline in your metabolism in a decade. We also know that when you lose weight, your metabolism will slow down. When subjects followed a strength training program, they were able to maintain their metabolic rate (as opposed to those who didn’t and had a 100 calorie a day decrease in their metabolism) (3). You don’t have to become a bodybuilder – 2 or 3 days a week will suffice.
See – I told you these life hacks were quick and easy. Now start doing them and you’ll appreciate the gains. Or should I say, the lack of gains.
1. 1. Halton, T.L. nad Hu, F.B. “The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety, and Weight Loss: A Critical Review.”(2004) Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Vol 23;5. 373- 385
2. Silver, H.J., Dietrich, M.S., et al. “Effects of Grapefruit, Grapefruit Juice and Water Preloads on Energy Balance, Weight Loss, Body Composition, and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in Free Living Obese Adults.” (2011) Nutrition and Metabolism 8;8
3. Hunter, G.R, et al. “Resistance Training Conserves Fat Free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss.” (2008). Obesity;16. 1045-1051