Chew each bite of food 40 times to lose weight

PHOTO: Chew each bite of food 40 times to lose weight

Have you resolved to lose weight in 2012, but find yourself sidetracked by all the festive goodies?

Here are a few tips to keep you on track:

1. Don’t starve before a big meal

Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals causes one to feel hungrier, and increases you risk of overeating in the next meal.

Instead, have a healthy snack (e.g. fruit) before going for that dinner function, so that you don’t arrive ravenous.

2. Eat slowly

Eat slowly and try eating until you feel comfortable rather than full.

Since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register a feeling of fullness, you are likely to overeat if you continue eating until you feel 100% full.

3. Chew more

Studies have found that people who chew their food more take in fewer calories, which may help them control their weight.

Chewing food 40 times instead of a typical 15 times caused study participants to eat nearly 12 per cent fewer calories, according to results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

4. Share the calories

You can still enjoy your favourite treats, but rather than downing the whole bowl of dessert or slice of kueh lapis, share it with a friend instead.

Don't go for seconds

5. Don’t go for seconds

Fill up your plate once and don’t go back for seconds.

If possible, using smaller plates further decreases the likelihood that you will overeat.

With so much festive feasting and visiting going on, it is very easy to miss out on physical activity.

But if you can find time to do 150 minutes of physical activity a week, as recommended by the Health Promotion Board’s National Physical Activity Guidelines, you may just find that extra spring in your step this festive season.

These 150 minutes can come in a variety of ways – taking a walk, climbing stairs, even spring cleaning.

To squeeze in exercise amidst festive visits:

1. Take time out before the flurry of festive visits to spring clean your home from top to bottom.

2. When visiting loved ones, choose to take the stairs instead of the lift.

3. When visiting, choose to alight one bus/MRT stop earlier and walk the additional distance.

4. Offer to help to shop for festive goodies! Carrying bags constitute as strength training and count towards the weekly physical activity recommendations.

5. Spending time to whip up festive meals.

Effects of overeating

5. What are some of the detrimental health effects of overeating?

You can’t tell when you overeat. But you can avoid doing this through the tips here.

If you consistently overeat without burning off the excess calories through exercise, you are likely to put on weight.

Also, if you consume foods high in fat (especially saturated fat) on a regular basis, this puts you at higher risk of getting heart disease.

To overcome the immediate gastric discomfort from overeating, avoid fried foods, strong tea, coffee or alcohol as these can cause further irritation.

Over the next few days, you do not have to skip meals to make up for the extra food consumed.

Instead, have regular meals and keep portions small.

Also, balance your food intake with physical activity.

You can increase physical activity simply by building it into your daily routine.

For example, taking the stairs burns 5 times more calories than using the lift.

Information provided by Ms Ruth-ann Wen Senior Nutritionist, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition, Health Promotion Board.