7 Ways to Help Lose Weight

Make these minor adjustments to trim calories and shed pounds in a healthy way

Cutting calories is one of the simplest ways to lose weight. Eating 500 fewer calories per day can result in losing one pound a week. Thinking long-range? Trim 200 calories per day and you’re likely to lose about 20 pounds in a year. It’s not as hard as it might sound. Use these tips to help you eat a little less going forward.

1. Sip soup first
Before lunch and dinner, enjoy a cup of low-calorie soup. You’ll eat about 130 fewer calories at each meal. Broth- or bouillon-based soups are a good choice. Toss in vegetables and beans to make it more filling and more nutritious. A half-cup of vegetables adds only about 60 calories.

2. Eat like it’s the 1960s
Dinner plates were about 3 inches smaller then. Today’s bigger 12-inch plates usually mean bigger portions. People eat about 30% less with a smaller plate, according to several studies. Remember that restaurant portions have also gotten bigger. A cup of pasta is only 220 calories, but restaurant servings are often four or five times more than that. You are not under orders to clean your plate.

3. Fill up
Load your plate with foods high in fiber and water, like fruits, vegetables and beans. They’ll help you feel satisfied. Plus, they’re low in calories but rich with nutrients your body needs.

4. Take your time
Eating slowly is a proven way to eat less. Put your fork down between bites. Chew each bite 20 times. Really think about the food you are enjoying. Pacing bites gives your brain time to know you’re putting food in your stomach. Your appetite is satisfied, and you won’t feel the need to eat more.

5. Drink wisely
If tracking your calories, don’t forget to include the things you drink. Sodas, fruit juices and bottled iced teas can easily add 100 to 200 calories per serving. A couple of light beers means a couple of hundred calories. Fancy coffee drinks can weigh in at 300 calories. Enjoy these beverages on occasion. Make water or unsweetened tea your drink of choice.

6. Have hummus
Participants in a recent study said they felt more satisfied and ate fewer processed snacks when garbanzo beans were part of their diet. Garbanzos are the main ingredient in hummus. Use it as a dip for vegetables and increase your fiber intake. You’ll feel full longer than if you’d eaten a sweet treat.

7. Get your sleep
People who sleep less than eight hours every night have less of a hormone called leptin. This substance tells your body when you've had enough to eat. Lack of sleep also increases the amount of another hormone, called ghrelin, that sends signals to your brain saying, “I'm hungry!”