6 foods that may help your weight loss efforts

obesity machines

We’re about at the end of the New Year’s weight loss news cycle, so here are some last minute tips and observations:

Foods that may help you with weight loss:

  1. Vegetables: they fill you up, they’re loaded with fiber and nutrients, but mainly they fill you up, leaving no room for tempting junk food.  Include them everyday.
  2. Carbonated water: it fills you up.  Add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber, or a few crushed berries for a touch of flavor.
  3. Hot pepper: there’s evidence that cayenne and other hot peppers can raise metabolism slightly.  You may only burn off a few extra calories, but hey, it could help.
  4. Vinegar: the sour taste kills off sugar cravings.  I’m not on the “drink vinegar” bandwagon — that’s just gross and it doesn’t have any magical fat burning effect, although it sure will kill your appetite.  A better use of vinegar is on a salad full of fresh vegetables.  Have a salad break in the afternoon, when you typically start looking for candy or cookies.  Use a vinaigrette dressing for the vinegar effect.
  5. Probiotics: there’s also some evidence that the gut bacteria of obese people is markedly different from that of thin people.  Losing weight changes the bacteria, probably due to improvements in diet.  But right now the reasons for this aren’t clear.  So it can’t hurt to get good bacteria working for you anyway.  Yoghurt is the best source.  Plus yoghurt is a great food anyway.
  6. Caffeine: you may get a slight calorie burning boost from caffeine and related substances, such as green tea catecholamines.  Operative word: slight.  If you already drink coffee or tea, you may have maxed out the potential.  Caffeine pills aren’t likely to provide any additional benefit.  Obviously, if you don’t tolerate caffeine, this strategy isn’t for you.  And if you load your coffee or tea drinks with sweeteners, you’ve defeated the purpose.

What’s your Obesity Machine?

The term Obesity Machine was used recently by a colleague, and I love it.  It puts a visual on those things in daily life that are contributing to excess weight.  So here’s my list of the Big 3 Obesity Machines:

  1. Cars: the more time you sit in a car, the less time your body is moving and burning extra calories.  In fact, research shows that sitting makes you burn less calories.  Anything you can do to decrease time wasted sitting in a car and increasing time walking is helpful.
  2. Computers: whether in your home or office, we spend a lot of time sitting in front of computers now, vastly more than 15 years ago.  And guess what – we’re fatter than we were 15 years ago.
  3. TV: another case of time wasted sitting.  The TV remote is a mini-obesity machine, allowing you to slouch on the sofa while clicking through channels.

A list of all the labor saving devices that prevent calorie burning would be endless, but also somewhat pointless.  Sure doing laundry by scrubbing dirty clothes and linens on a metal washboard burned more calories than loading stuff in a washing machine, but who is going to return to that method?  Do what you can to minimize the time you spend sitting.

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