Jump Start


10 Quick Weight-Loss Tips


— By Deborah Kesten and Larry Scherwitz —


Your quick guide to 10 key weight-loss solutions

Would it be possible to create an evidence-based, sustainable program that could help people achieve normal weight as part of a pleasurable and every day way of life—not as a restricted regimen that starts, stops, and often ends in failure? As we considered this, we realized that prior to the obesity epidemic that has emerged in the last few decades, most Americans—indeed, most people worldwide—were of normal weight. What, we wondered, had worked for so many of us for so many centuries? Our research revealed the answers. Here’s what we found:

#1. Eat Fresh Food
Tasty or not, too much fast food full of added fat, sugar, salt, and greasy, fried fare, is a key cause of weight gain. To turn the tide, choose fresh whole food in its natural state as often as possible. Make lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds your most-of-the time way of eating, with lesser amounts of lean fish, poultry, meat and dairy.

#2. Create a Positive Relationship to Food
Although dieting, judging food as “good” or “bad,” anxiety about food, and thinking a lot about the “best” way to eat may not seem to have much in common, they are all characteristics of a “food fretter,” and increased odds of overeating and weight gain. To get off the food-fretting treadmill, perceive food and eating as one of life’s greatest pleasures. Choose wisely and enjoy.

#3. Focus on Your Food
Give up eating while doing other activities—such as working, driving, or watching TV. Stay mindful, keep focused, and do one thing at a time. Stop working or watching TV while you eat. And don’t drive while you eat. Instead, eat when you eat.

#4. Pay Attention to How You Feel
Emotional eating—turning to food soothe negative emotions or out-of-control food cravings—is the #1 predictor of overeating and weight gain. To get control, get in touch with your feelings before, during, and after eating. Make a conscious choice to eat for the pleasure. Eat when you have a healthy appetite and don’t allow yourself to get too hungry. Experience feel-good emotions when you eat and enjoy!

#5. Eat with Other People
Eating alone can promote overeating. Eat alone less often, eat with people more frequently. Snacking alone and “in secret” is one obvious source of needless calories. When it’s time to eat a meal, invite others to join you at your table. Share mealtimes with friends, family, or coworkers as often as possible.

#6. Dine by Design
This tip may seem unusual, but our research revealed it’s a significant cause of overeating. Think about the atmosphere in which you’ll be eating ahead of time. Why? Both the psychological and the aesthetic surroundings when you dine can influence overeating and your weight. To reap the rewards, each time you eat, design your own dining experience by creating an emotional and physical atmosphere that’s as pleasant as possible.

#7. Feed Your Senses
Your senses have an amazing impact on your appetite and weight. Slow down and pay attention to the food before you through your eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds. Look at and notice the colors, the aromas, the flavors and texture of the food. Appreciating food through your senses wards off overeating. Think about the food, where it comes from, and how it got to your table. Develop more appreciation in your heart for the food before you.

#8. Quit Chemical Cuisine
Obesogens are the manmade chemicals—plastics and pesticides—which have found their way into our food supply and beverages. They wreak their havoc on weight by mimicking estrogen, a hormone that can make you fat. The solution? A key way to avoid consuming “chemical cuisine” by staying away from bisphenol A (BPA) found in canned foods, bottled beverages, meat packed in plastic, and more.

#9. Discover the “Magic Sleep Number” for Weight Loss
Getting enough sleep is a key ingredient in managing weight. If you sleep less than five hours a night, the odds of your becoming obese is upped by 73 percent! Just an hour more decreases the amount of ghrelin, a hormone your body produces that can cause weight gain. Better yet, get 7 hours of sleep every night to protect yourself from the sleep less-weigh more cycle.

#10. Get Moving
Burning calories and speeding up your metabolism with physical activity helps you stay slim. Exercise also nourishes your body, mind, and soul with a flood of feel-good feelings produced by naturally occurring hormones. To optimize weight loss, exercise in the morning when your body is more likely to burn fat for energy. Keep workouts to 45 minutes or less to lower the odds of producing cortisol, a stress hormone that can activate body fat.

The key message is this: To attain and maintain optimal weight…for life, think outside the diet by changing beliefs you have about dieting, losing weight, and keeping it off, that aren’t working for you. Instead, focus on the underlying reasons you overeat and gain weight, as well as the 10 key weight-loss solutions in Jump Start that can help you turn overeating into optimal eating.


Visit our 2 other SPECIAL WEIGHT LOSS EDITION programs:

#2. In Action

Our 10-step SUCCESSFUL LOSER SERIES provides a solid foundation for losing weight and keeping it off

#3. Weight Loss Living
A workshop-like, comprehensive course (“The Whole Person Nutrition Program”), filled with lessons, food plans, recipes, and more, for attaining and maintaining weight loss

“Sleep More, Weigh Less” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Quit Chemical Cuisine” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Dine by Design” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Enjoy Food with Others” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Focus on Food” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Get Fresh” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Access Your Appetite” in Make Weight Loss Last
“Jettison Judgment” in Make Weight Loss Last
“The Healing Secret of Socializing” in The Healing Secrets of Food
“The Healing Secret of Mindfulness” in The Healing Secrets of Food


You’ll get plenty of clarity about what’s true and useful—or not—by keeping up with nutritionist Deborah Kesten, MPH, and research scientist Larry Scherwitz, PhD, the writers of this post, by liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, or sending us an email.


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