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Lose Weight With These Simple, Effective Strategies

By: Danna Schneider

One of the greatest challenges facing us here in the US continues to be obesity and general health issues that are associated with being overweight, which it seems more and more of our population is these days. Recent studies confirm that one of the reasons the American culture has such serious struggles with obesity and weight control is our inability to figure out when to stop eating.

In fact, when Americans were contrasted with another culture that is often touted for having one of the lowest obesity rates as well as less health issues associated with being overweight, the French, it was found that the French respond to different cues that tell them when to stop eating than Americans do.

Americans cited outside factors many times to determine when they were finished eating, whereas the French who were questioned cited internal cues, from their bodies, to determine when to stop eating.

Americans cited things like when their television show was over, or when their plate was empty, or everyone else was done eating, while the French commonly cited their cue as their level of satiety, whether they were full or not, and also whether they felt they needed to continue eating.

It is clear that listening to internal rather than external cues dramatically increases the likelihood that one will stop eating when their body has signaled it has had adequate "fuel" for the time being.

As you can see, those who felt more influenced by their external environments were more likely to keep chomping away, even if their bodies felt totally satisfied. It may also be that the different groups pace their eating differently. I, as an American, notice quite a few people who seem to eat very quickly, and this can really sabotage anyone's attempts at weight control or weight loss.

Why? Well, because if you are eating at a pace faster than your body can signal the brain that it is full, you've passed your window of opportunity to stop eating while you're actually satiated, and you will continue to eat past that point.

Yep, that's the all too common occurrence we get where you feel like you're busting at the seams from overeating. You've most likely either taken too little time to eat and not given your brain enough time to catch up, or you've ignored your "full" cues and kept on going.

I've done it many times myself, and often wonder what possessed me to keep eating beyond the point at which I felt "full". Perhaps it was because the food just tasted too good, or, if I dug down even further, there is usually some external cues that are going on that influenced me.

Take for example Thanksgiving dinners and other settings where the American culture has made it almost "expected" that you stuff yourself silly. You may actually feel that it is abnormal to stop eating when satisfied in certain social situations, and those thought processes are precisely why our nation has a very hard time with controlling our weight.

Some of the best advice I ever got was to chew my food completely, and to make sure I savor and enjoy every bite. I was taught by example, thankfully, by my mother, who always ate very slowly, and who also incidentally happens to still be very trim in her mid fifties thanks to her common sense approach to eating.

I learned to eat slowly and enjoy the food, instead of "inhaling" it as some people would say. I feel this has greatly improved my weight control abilities because I notice that I'm much more attuned to when my body tells me it has had enough. I may not have cleaned my plate, but who cares if they are just excess calories my body will store as fat anyways?

Another good piece of advice is to use smaller plates, this way we are not filling up a larger plate, and that subconscious thought that we should clean our plates won't sabotage our diets and make us eat larger amounts due to larger plates and servings.

If you're really watching what you eat and want to control your portions, I have heard the suggestion that taking a teaspoon full of fiber may help you to eat less when taken about a half hour before a meal.

The fiber will expand in the stomach, leaving less room for food, and making you feel full faster, and consequently lowering your caloric intake. Many people say this is their favorite diet trick because it fools them into eating less.

You may want to avoid sugar substitutes in your diet. While this may seem counterintuitive, there is a lot of emerging evidence that sugar substitutes actually make us eat more in the long run because they do not satisfy our natural sugar cravings, they in fact increase our cravings for sugars and carbs.

Last but not least, try very hard not to watch your television while eating. There are numerous studies that show that people eat a lot more while sitting in front of their television than if they are sitting at the dinner table, because they are more likely to ignore their internal cues that they are full or satisfied.

So, sit at the table and have some good conversation at your next meal time. This creates a definite, set aside time for eating, which will help train you to listen to your internal cues better. Because it most likely will include conversation, it will also increase the time you have you mouth full, and give your brain more time to catch up with the cues being sent from the stomach.

Danna Schneider is the founder of a popular online source for dieting and weight loss, including this which is a review of a 12 hour hunger suppressing diet patch http://www.dietingmagazine.com/transdermal-diet-patches.html . She also founded http://www.fitnessnewsmagazine.com , an online help site dedicated to reviews of exercise equipment, the latest offerings and breakthroughs in physical fitness, and workouts and more.

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