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Can You Lose Without Exercising?

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We’re three months in to the new year. How are we all doing on our resolutions? I know I’ve stumbled a couple of times with watching what I eat. It’s still too cold to get outside and exercise for me, so if you and I are on the same page and don’t like working out in the cold and our treadmills have become an extension of our closet, this one’s for you.

I really do try and watch what I eat. I’m paying closer attention to labels and watching the salt, fat and carb content, but chips are good and sometimes I have a few. I’m also cooking lighter and healthier thanks to learning what can be swapped for what, but did you know that if you eat with dim lights you have a tendency to eat less? No, it’s not because you can’t see your plate. Researchers with Prevention Magazine found that people who ate food under soft and warm lighting ate 18 percent less food and almost 200 fewer calories than those who dined in a brightly lit environment. The reason? Bright lights trigger your brain to think that you need to rush through your meal and when you eat fast, you eat more because it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain to tell your hand to put the fork down. I’ve actually started to shut off all the lights except the soft ones in the dining room when we’re sitting down to eat. Not saying that it was solely the dim lights, but Glen just fit into a suit he hasn’t been able to fit in in three years and I’m back shopping in the junior’s department.

Get some sleep. The results of a Mayo Clinic study said that those who regularly get less than six and a half hours of sleep every night are hungrier and have a tendency to weigh more than those who get seven to eight hours of sleep. Did you know that when you’re sleep deprived you consume 500 calories more than you would if you had gotten a full night’s sleep? Dr. Manfred Hallschmid of the University of Tübingen says that the link between the two is because “Sleep deprivation can raise levels of appetite hormones.” I have noticed this before because I think that if I have something to eat, I can boost my energy. Not so. So get some shut eye and save your waistline.

There’s also a phrase we need to lose from our vocabulary: “I can’t.” If you’re always driving around past pizza places and burger joints and you keep saying “I can’t eat that” you’re just going to want it more. Happens to a lot of us – myself included. Then when we do end up giving in we just wind up eating more. Instead of telling ourselves what we can’t eat, we should tell ourselves what we don’t eat. “I can have a turkey and Swiss with lettuce and tomato with some Triscuts and an apple because I don’t eat the double cheeseburger and extra large fries.” The word “can’t” sounds like punishment.

Did you know we can think ourselves thin? Apparently, if we say we’re chubby or fat, even if we exercise, we won’t lose weight as fast as we would if we used positive words and positive thinking. Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Susan Albers wrote a couple of great books called Eating Mindfully and 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. She says that “Your mindset is incredibly important in giving up or getting on track with your weight.” I used to reward myself with food and then someone told me, “You’re not a dog. Don’t reward yourself with food.” Instead, when you hit milestones in your weight loss journey, buy yourself a new top or new jeans or new makeup or treat yourself to something on the menu at your favorite spa instead.

We can do this. Even if we slipped off track a little, we just need to dust ourselves off and keep going. The snow is going to melt and the layers are going to come off, so let’s lace up our shoes and get back on our treadmills and be ready when tank top season rolls around.

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