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45 Breakfast Habits Making You Gain Weight

Most of us aren’t getting the nutrients we need every morning to blast fat all day. You can do better—and should.

A high-protein breakfast can lead to guaranteed long-term weight loss. Science proved it, according to the new book Zero Belly Breakfasts. Of people who’ve lost 30 pounds or more, 80% kept the weight off by eating a high-protein breakfast every day, according to a study done by The National Weight Control Registry.

Read on for nutritionists’ picks for your worst breakfast habits and the mistakes you’re blindly making—and then try these best breakfast habits to drop 5 pounds instead.

1

You eat just to eat.

You’re told to eat as soon as you wake up, but it may lead to weight gain if you’re not hankering for a meal yet. Listen to your body: “Try tuning into your natural hunger/satiety signals and have breakfast only once you are truly physically hungry. Your body knows best about how much and when you need to eat,” says Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian, and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. Don’t wait until you’re starving, though; this can lead to poor choices and overeating. If you’re in the mood for something refreshing and not too “heavy-feeling” try one of these smoothie recipes for weight loss!

2

You go for the ‘grand slam.’

No newsflash here, but worth a cautionary reminder: “Starting the day with a large high-fat, high-sodium breakfast will give you a bloated belly and you will feel sluggish all day!” exclaims celebrity nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, MS, RDN. “It takes a lot of work for your body to digest those calories and you will be sleepy, bloated and unproductive. Skip the ‘grand slam’ with eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns, and your belly will thank you!”

3

You overload on fiber.

“Eating large amounts of fiber in the morning will make you gassy,” warns DeFazio. “Yes, fiber is important, but don’t overdose on it. A large amount at one sitting will make you very bloated and gassy by mid-morning. drink a lot of water when you eat fiber to move it through the digestive tract. Otherwise, it can get stuck!” And be sure to steer clear of the worst “fiber-rich” foods for weight loss, many of which beckon from grocery shelves and claim to be the star in your morning meals.

4

You make granola your go-to.

Jason Donnelly/Eat This, Not That!

“This seemingly-innocent food is almost always loaded with added sugar,” cautions Lisa Hayim, RD, and founder of The Well Necessities. “In fact, most companies use synonyms or alternative words for plain old ‘sugar’ to disguise it. When choosing a granola, look for a ‘no sugar’ added and steer clear of coconut sugar, agave, and even evaporated cane juice.” The surprising amount of sugar in “innocent” foods is precisely why David Zinczenko, Eat This, Not That! creator and best-selling author, wrote his brand-new book, Zero Sugar Diet. Pick it up to discover how to curb your cravings and lose up to a pound a day.

5

You watch the morning news while eating.

So, maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to keep up with current events better. Sorry folks, still not a good excuse to turn on the tube while you eat. “Being focused on the TV takes away the mindfulness of eating and the appreciation of the flavors and textures of the foods you’re putting in your mouth, as well as the size of the portions that you’re eating,” say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. Instead, take the time to eat slowly and mindfully, chewing every bite consciously and sans distraction from the ol’ tube.

6

You grab a bagel.

“Most people realize a carb-loaded bagel with a smear of cream cheese may not be the healthiest option because it typically contributes in excess of 500 calories. But even if you’re only eating a healthy bowl of oatmeal or a plate of fruit, it still backfires,” explain The Nutrition Twins. “You digest carbs in several hours, and without protein to provide longer-lasting satiety, you’ll be starving by mid-morning. Also, once you’ve digested the carbs without a source of protein, your blood sugar quickly drops and you’ll crave a pick-me-up, likely in the quickest form you can get it—sugar!” What to do instead? Choose fiber-filled carbs and be sure to have a lean protein with it. Both will keep blood sugar levels stable and keep you feeling full longer so you don’t find yourself at the vending machine mid-morning. The perfect example would be a small bowl of oatmeal with eggs or with Greek yogurt.

7

You eat straight from a cereal box.

Whether you skip the bowl because you’re just chillin’ on the couch with the Today Show crew or because you’re too rushed to bother with dishes, sticking your hand in a cereal box is a big no-no. “When you do this, portion control is non-existent because it’s nearly impossible to even know how much you consume,” advise The Nutrition Twins. “A box can hold 10 servings or more. And even if you have three servings, you probably won’t know it since it doesn’t make a huge dent in the box. It’s far too easy to eat hundreds of calories unknowingly.” Carve out time to set a place at the table and eat from a bowl with real utensils. Here’s more proof that mindful eating is key to weight loss.

8

You only eat a piece of fruit.

Think you’re making the virtuous choice? Beware. “Yes, fruit is healthy and rich in antioxidants, but if you don’t add protein to the mix, you’ll be distracted by your hunger an hour or two later,” explain The Nutrition Twins. “This will more than likely result in you needing to make a desperate trip to the vending machine where you may grab the first thing you see.” Consider these 18 High-Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full for plenty of a.m. ideas!

9

You keep your breakfast low-fat.

Beyond just a low-fat yogurt, it’s also important to avoid maintaining a low-fat breakfast regime in general. “Our brains are mostly fat and yet health-conscious people trying to lose weight will cut fat to cut calories. But you need to remember that fat enhances satiety which keeps you from wanting food for longer,” advises Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN author of Body Kindness. “We also need fat to absorb certain vitamins—A, D, E, K—that play powerful roles in our body functions, from eyesight to metabolism. So, bring back butter (on your veggies)!”

10

You pour a smoothie bowl.

We know, we know, they’re Instagram gold—but they may not always be as healthy as you assume. “If you’ve jumped on the smoothie bowl for breakfast bandwagon, you can easily sabotage your healthy eating goals by succumbing to portion distortion. It’s easy to go overboard with smoothie bowl portions and toppings,” cautions Liz Weiss, MS, RD of Meal Makeover Moms. “Keep portions to about one cup and be mindful of toppings by going heavy on the fresh fruit but keeping the higher calorie coconut chips and nuts to a small handful.”

11

You grab a flavored yogurt.

“While yogurt, in general, can be a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, those benefits are canceled out by the high sugar content if the yogurt is flavored,” offers Rebecca Lewis, RD for popular meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh. “If you do enjoy yogurt, opt for a non-flavored one and select Greek yogurts, which are typically lower in sugar and higher in protein.”

12

You stop at a fast food restaurant.

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“If you go to a fast food joint , you’ll get roughly 300 extra calories more than a breakfast you’d eat at home. And if you do this three times a week, you’ll gain eight pounds over the course of a year,” caution The Nutrition Twins. “Plus, you’ll typically eat excess sodium from the fast food joint, which means you’re now starting your day doing a number on your heart and feeling bloated.” You’re better off opting for a low-sodium fast food order.

13

You drink fruit juice.

Ever notice you can chug a whole liter of apple juice but you can’t exactly eat three apples in one sitting? “While we all need to eat more fruits and veggies—and fruit juice does have fruit in it—what’s missing is all the fiber that would normally go along with the fruit,” says Lewis. “Even with a 100 percent fruit juice, what you end up consuming is a high-calorie and high-sugar drink, even with small four-ounce portions!”

14

You live on green juices.

Overeating later in the day because of post-breakfast hangry-ness? No thanks. “Green juice is a great way to get vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, but if your juice only includes a handful of healthy veggies, the chances are good that it’s not going to keep you satisfied or give you the energy you need to get through your day,” share The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll feel tired and crave more food as the drink will lack protein and typically fiber, which are two things you need to stay satisfied.” P.S. By all means, sip on healthy green juices (like these ones!) but just make sure you pair it with protein and fiber for a balanced meal.

15

You scarf down your food.

“If you are rushing through the morning, you might need to slow down! It takes time for the signal from your stomach to get to your brain that you’ve just eaten. Slow down, put your fork down between bites, try to stretch your meal to be a full 20 minutes, and stop eating when you’re medium-full,” advises Lewis. If all you’re eating is a quick nutrition bar while on the goal, try eating and chewing it more mindfully as well. Psst! These are the 16 Best Nutrition Bars for Every Goal!

16

You whip up egg whites.

It’s time to put the sunshine back in your eggs with the omega-3-rich yolks. They’re a great source of fat-burning choline and vitamin D, which has been linked to reducing belly fat. Looking to spice up your morning eggs? Check out these 13 Chef-Approved Ways to Use Your Eggs.

17

You eat too much salt.

It’s time to cut the salt already, suggests Hayim. “So many of our favorite breakfast options are loaded with salt. Hash browns, quick-cook oats, bacon, and even eggs (prepared in restaurants) can be loaded with sodium. Sodium causes you to retain water, which leaves you bloated from the start of the day,” says Hayim. Ignoring the sodium content in food is one of the most common mistakes people make. Just like added sugar, sodium can sneak into a variety of foods, and consuming too much of it can put you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

If you like to give your eggs or oats more flavor, try jazzing them up with red chile pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne or even turmeric or powdered mustard.

18

You never turn down bacon.

Just because it’s “traditional” doesn’t mean it’s safe. ” will not only promote bloat and fat gain, but will cause postprandial lipemia—a temporary condition where your blood is thickened from the fat, cholesterol, and free radicals floating around your arteries. Doing this regularly promotes weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease,” says Hever. “Instead, try a healthful tofu scramble and tempeh bacon, which contains zero cholesterol and healthful fats or a big bowl of oatmeal with flax seeds and berries so that the hefty dose of fiber will help you lose weight, stay trim in the long run, and keep you full for longer.” If you claim you don’t have time in the morning, then refer to this amazing list of healthy breakfast ideas!

19

You just have coffee.

Tim Wright/Unsplash

“I’m not skipping breakfast,” you say. “I’ll just have coffee!” Not so fast. “Just a cup of coffee does not make a meal. If you want to avoid being hangry, then you need energy—and not just caffeine,” says Scritchfield. “I like to put smoothie ingredients in a blender and refrigerate it overnight so it’s only three minutes out of my morning and I can sip it on the way to work. If preparing food isn’t an option, at least make it a grab-and-go meal.”

20

You opt for the combo meal.

Picking up the combo or value meal at the drive-thru is the difference between tacking on an extra 100 calories and not. Breakfast combo meals often include more than one menu item, whether it’s a breakfast sandwich with a side of hash browns or a platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrown, and biscuits with gravy. You’re better off ordering foods individually, so you won’t consume extra calories.

21

You sabotage your coffee with creamer.

Cuppa coffee or tea, that is. “A healthy cup of coffee can if you add sugary, fatty creamers. Instead, try switching to a sugar-free soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk, or oat milk. After a few days, your taste buds will adjust and you won’t miss the calorie-laden, health-harmful sugar and fat,” says Hever.

22

You turn to energy drinks.

Put down that can of chemicals or bottle of sugar water, stat! If you’re not a coffee fan and need an instant wake-me-up, then what you need to find is your perfect tea. “I’m a huge fan of matcha, which is a really potent green tea,” says food journalist Kelly Choi, author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. “And if you don’t have the patience for piping-hot tea to cool or you’re more of a smoothie person, tea smoothies are awesome options, too!”

23

You skip breakfast to snooze.

Not only is skipping breakfast a risky move because it may lead to overeating, metabolism drops, and more, hitting the snooze button is doing double damage. You’ve already interrupted your sleep with your alarm, so you might as well get up and get nourished. ” negatively affect your hormones—including growth factor and cortisol—which unfavorably influences belly fat,” say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. “Don’t set your alarm intending to hit snooze time after time. Set your alarm for a little bit later and get up as soon as your alarm goes off. This may be a little bit difficult at first, but you’ll appreciate a little extra sleep, as will your waistline.”

24

You chug bulletproof coffee.

Coffee on its own isn’t bad for your waistline and the caffeine may even help you to work out harder and burn a few extra calories. “But trendy bulletproof coffee supplies very few nutrients and a whopping 441 calories—80 percent of which is artery-clogging saturated fat—which certainly isn’t good for your waistline,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Although it’s recommended instead of breakfast, it replaces a typically nutrient-dense meal that contains antioxidants, fiber, and nourishment like oatmeal, a hardboiled egg, and berries. Bulletproof coffee has no fiber or protein, both of which are top recommendations as part of a breakfast that provides long-lasting satiety.” We’re thinking this coffee trend is as serious a pass as the recent scrunchie revival.

25

You drink a soda for breakfast.

Just ew. But hear us out. “While you may like turning to soda for something sweet and you enjoy the quick pick-me-up from the caffeine and sugar, soda’s completely devoid of nutrients. Plus, the sugar and the caffeine can cause a sugar high followed by a crash that sends you into a frantic search for more food,” say The Nutrition Twins. “This can lead to overeating. Not to mention, drinking soda on an empty stomach can cause tummy troubles and irritation and contribute to everything from indigestion to ulcers!” Is there any wonder as to why soda is one of the 50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet?!

26

You default to leftovers.

We get it—sometimes we are too tired, too lazy, and too hungry for anything other than leftover pizza or birthday cake. “But don’t do it!” Urges DeFazio. “Think about how you will feel all day! The fat and salt from the pizza and sugar from the cake are recipes for bloating, fatigue, and blood sugar ups and downs.”

27

You don’t eat enough protein.

You don’t want to be cavalier about this important macronutrient. “It’s easy to load up on carbohydrates like bagels, croissants, and cereals for breakfast. But protein is a key factor in satiety and keeping your blood sugar stable for longer periods of time,” offers Hayim. “Compared to a high-carbohydrate meal, a high-protein meal is associated with a level blood sugar for up to three hours post meal consumption.” Check out the best foods for a high-protein breakfast and leave your first meal satisfied stat!

28

Or you eat too much protein.

Protein is one of the most important macronutrients for building muscle and having satiety, but if you overdo it (0.45 grams per pound for men and 0.35 grams per pound for women), extra protein is stored as fat. What’s more, studies have shown that a diet high in protein—both plant-based and animal-derived—is linked to an increased risk of heart failure.

29

You go the whole morning without a glass of water.

“This affects your waistline more than most people realize,” The Nutrition Twins reveal. “Every process in your body takes place in water—from helping to flush wastes from your colon to the efficient functioning of your metabolism. Also, inadequate water intake quickly leads to dehydration, and even being slightly dehydrated immediately impacts energy levels; this results in needing more naps and being less active, which in turn equals fewer calories burned, a bigger waistline,” and a slowed metabolism.

30

You enjoy low-fat pastries regularly.

“Older generations hear words like ‘bran’ or ‘low-fat’ and instantly assume it’s the healthy choice,” says Hayim. Think again: “These foods, which can be high in fiber, are actually usually loaded with processed flour, high in sugar, and can be high in sodium too. Don’t be fooled by the name at the bakery counter or on the menu. Read the labels and always the ingredients.” Muffin tin recipes for weight control? Now those are tasty, flat-belly delights we can get behind.

31

You overindulge in dairy.

Got milk for breakfast? Most people do. And coupled with all the cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products we tend to guzzle down on breakfast, it’s definitely not helping us stay svelte. “Ditch dairy for breakfast to avoid bloating and long-term weight gain, along with other health issues,” suggests Hever. “Since 65 to 90 percent of the world is lactose intolerant, your body will likely respond to dairy in an inflammatory, belly-expanding way.” Try hemp, almond, soy or cashew milk in place of dairy milk in your smoothie or cereal bowl.

32

You eat cereal because it says ‘whole grain’.

But hey, it’s whole grain! Not so fast. “‘Whole grains’ is a marketing term and can loosely be applied to foods if they contain some amount of whole grains,” warns Hayim. “Most often, though, the food may contain whole grains, but in addition to regular wheat, or white flour. These foods also have to maintain a long shelf life, so are pumped with preservatives, sodium, and artificial flavors and lack many of the needed vitamins and minerals.” Read the label and put the box back if you spot any of those red flag words!

33

You completely forget about vegetables.

Katja Grasinger/Unsplash

“Why is it that breakfast is always associated with dairy, eggs, bread, bacon, cereal, and fruit? What about vegetables? They get left out of the morning meal mix too often, and that’s bad news for weight-conscious consumers,” advises Liz Weiss, MS, RD of Meal Makeover Moms. “Vegetables are the perfect fit for a healthy breakfast. They’re naturally low in calories, filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they’re rich in fiber, which is filling and satisfying. Some of my favorite easy and flavorful ways to boost your veggie intake at breakfast: Add sauteed spinach and bell peppers to omelets; mix pureed pumpkin into pancakes; blend baby kale and cucumbers into your ‘green’ smoothie; or do what the Europeans do and roast mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and serve them as a side with your favorite savory breakfast.” Is your mouth watering now?

34

You’re in a food rut.

“When you eat the same thing over and again, you’ll get bored. And then your time spent eating—one of life’s greatest pleasures—is less fun,” says Scritchfield. “Variety is the spice of life and it helps make sure you get a variety of nutrients as well. I like to bust food ruts with non-traditional breakfast ideas like tuna with avocado or black beans with an egg on top.”

35

You only opt for nuts.

If you’re in a pinch, you can do better than grabbing a few walnuts from a bag and pretending the brain-healthy, waistline-healthy choice is all you need. “Nuts are healthy and contain vitamins, minerals, and good-for-you fats, but they don’t contain carbohydrates,” say The Nutrition Twins. “Your brain and muscles need carbohydrates for fuel. Without carbs, you’ll feel exhausted and like you need to nap. You also may crave an energy pick-me-up and turn to the first thing you find: sugar!”

36

You rely on gluten-free products.

Contrary to what you may think, not all gluten-free products are healthier than their wheat counterparts. In fact, most gluten-free breads are made with blood-sugar-elevating refined grains, white rice, and potato flour. So if you have celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity, choose gluten-free breads with a mixture of seeds and naturally gluten-free whole grains, like amaranth and millet.

37

Beef jerky is your entire breakfast.

“While this easily tote-able food quickly gives you access to some protein on the run, most jerkies are chock full of sodium to preserve the meat,” says Lewis. Yuck, indeed. “All of this sodium causes water retention and bloating—not to mention the long-term effects of high blood pressure!”

38

You use artificial sweeteners in your coffee.

“While they are ‘generally regarded as safe,’ artificial sweeteners are synthetic and unnatural, have much-disputed and unknown negative health consequences, and are much sweeter than natural sugar, which makes other foods seem less sweet by comparison,” Lewis explains. “Instead, use real sugar, but in moderation.”

39

You leave bad-for-you breakfasts in easy-to-view places.

Morning. Groggy. Lazy. Oh, hey loaf of double chocolate banana bread. Translation: Where you store your food could be ruining your healthy breakfast goals. “Ever heard of out of sight out of mind? Well, you can’t eat the things you don’t have, and you’re less likely to eat them if they aren’t right in front of you,” shares Lewis. “Instead, place bowls of fruits and veggies out on the counter instead of unhealthy snacks. Even better, pre-cut and prep fruits and veggies the night before so you can grab them as you run out the door.”

40

You don’t get enough sleep.

Yep, it’s influencing your healthy breakfast goals. “Research has shown that missing even just a single night of sleep can really wreak havoc on the way your appetite hormones work; one night of poor sleep can make you feel hungrier than usual the next morning,” says Lewis. “So, make sure you are getting six to eight hours of sleep a night. Start by turning down lights and powering down your electronics about an hour before bed.”

41

Your ‘serving of fruit’ is dried fruit.

Dried fruit makes a great fiber-rich topping for oatmeal and a wonderful addition to homemade granola bars. But because the fructose (sugar) in fruit gets more concentrated when dried out, a little goes a long way. Plus, many companies infuse dried fruits with added sugars. So if you would like to add a touch of sweetness to your breakfast, be sure to use a light hand with dried fruits or go for fresh fruit instead. Want more advice on how to tame your sweet tooth? Grab a copy of The 14-Day No Sugar Diet today. It’s filled with healthy swaps, restaurant guides, cooking tips, recipes, and much more.

42

You spread low-fat peanut butter on your toast.

Whether you like it creamy or crunchy, peanut butter is one of the best muscle-building foods you can enjoy after your morning sweat sesh. But even good foods like peanut butter can be bad for you if you opt for the wrong kind. Processed peanut butter is loaded with added sugars and unhealthy oils. Low-fat peanut butter also pack in added sugars to make up for the lost fat. So the next time you want to make PB toast or add a scoop to your smoothie, make sure to go for the natural peanut butter jar instead.

43

You rely on protein or granola bars.

When it comes to nutrition, not all protein and granola bars are created equal. Some protein bars are nothing short of a candy bar, especially if they’re packed with chocolate and sugar. Many protein bars may actually have more carbs than the hunger-curbing macro, so you might be left feeling less than satisfied after eating one. Stick to low-sugar protein bars with no more than 13 grams of sugar and no less than 8 grams of protein.

44

Your oats are too sugary.

“You do you” is a phrase we can wholeheartedly get behind, but chances are you do oats the way-too-sugary way. “Many clients come to me boasting about their oatmeal breakfast choice. To my dismay, I oftentimes learn it’s the ‘brown sugar’ or even a harmless-sounding flavor like ‘apples and cinnamon,’ that’s throwing off their healthy eating habits,” says Hayim. “Flavored oats can contain upwards of 20 grams of added sugar and cause you to crave sweets throughout the day. Instead, make your own oats, add your own fruits, and control for any added sugar or flavoring you wish to add.”

45

You eat your breakfast off large plates.

Research suggests that people who suffer from obesity often opt for larger plates. Remember to practice portion control by choosing smaller serving plates. And it’s not just how big your plate is but how you place food in it. For breakfast, set veggie scrambles front and center with lean protein and toast on the sides.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

FEATURE – Everybody knows Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflecting on one’s blessings – but let’s be real: Thanksgiving is also about feasting.

You only get that scrumptious turkey dinner with all the trimmings once a year, so make it count by following a few key stomach-stretching tips to enable maximum gorge-ability on turkey day. Why have one piece of pie when you can have three, right?

Tip No. 1 – Slow and steady eats the most

We know, we know – that turkey, gravy and stuffing smells so mouthwateringly delectable that you just want to dive deep like Scrooge McDuck into a pile of money – but bear this in mind before you start gobbling: Chowing down fast also fills you up fast. If you scarf your first plate of food, you may not have room for seconds. Eating quickly makes you feel full faster, so treat that overflowing plate like a first date and take it slow. Chew your food, savor the flavor, and allow your stomach to keep up with your mouth.

Tip No. 2 – No starving, no way

It may seem logical to go hungry Thanksgiving morning in order to save room for that big dinner, but experts say leaving your tummy empty by skipping breakfast and avoiding prefeast snacks may actually cause your tummy to tighten up, leaving less room in your breadbasket for those rolls, yams and other yummy turkey day delights. In addition, if you hit the dinner table with an empty belly, you’re more likely to hoover that food in a fat hurry, which will cause you to fill up faster (see tip No. 1).

Tip No. 3 – Savor the salt

In keeping with tip No. 2, it’s wise to stretch your tummy with some snacks while the turkey is a-cookin’ – and salty snacks in particular can help sharpen up your appetite, according to Fox News Health. Salty noshes aren’t much more than quick-digesting simple carbs, Fox News reports, and they can prompt insulin spikes and make you crave a sweet followup. Also, due to a phenomenon called “sensory specific satiety,” chomping on salty snacks makes your “salty stomach” feel full but your “sweet stomach” feel deprived. So if you want an extra digestive drive before hitting the dessert table, snack on a little something salty.

Tip No. 4 – They call ‘em “fat pants” for a reason

If you want to set records at the Thanksgiving table, don’t show up to dinner in your skinny jeans. Tight clothing puts pressure on the abdomen, which poses an everyday challenge for people with disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome, but tight clothes will also wreak havoc on any disorder-free tummy at turkey time. It comes down to a decision: fashion or feasting? If you want to feed freely at your Thanksgiving feast, wear some comfy sweats or stretch pants and a loose-fitting shirt. A muumuu might be taking things a bit too far – but I’ll leave that between you and your pie. If you want to go the fashionable route and impress your relatives or dinner guests with a slim-fit outfit, just know you’ll likely be sacrificing your seconds and thirds in the bargain.

Tip No. 5 – Avoid the water trough

Consuming beverages makes you feel full, and some health experts take it a step further, asserting that drinking during a meal dilutes the stomach’s digestive juices and lowers the temperature of the tummy, thereby slowing digestion, filling your belly up faster and leaving those vittles sitting in there longer. So if you bypass the beverages, you’ll increase your capacity for hearty horfing. If you simply must have something to drink during Thanksgiving dinner, minimize your liquid intake as much as possible and only indulge in small sips to satiate your thirst.

Disclaimer: If your fingers are poised over the keyboard to type an accusatory comment that I’m advocating gluttony, I’ll save you the trouble: Heck yeah, I am – IT’S THANKSGIVING. So relax and grab another turkey leg – or Tofurky leg, if that’s your pleasure – and smile and give thanks for the blessings in your life. If you still feel like reaming me for obesity advocacy, clearly you haven’t had enough to eat yet – go have some more pie first, then see how you feel.

Expanding Your Stomach Using Food AND Water

There’s always at least two totally different sides to every story, and typically the best solution is for both sides to compromise and meet in the middle. This philosophy applies to training to increase your stomach capacity too. Before reading this article, make sure that you have read and understand both How To Expand Your Stomach Using Food and How To Expand Your Stomach Using Water. Each article explains how to train to increase your stomach capacity using each particular method. While both methods can be effective in their own way, and each side has different pros and cons, the safest and most effective way to increase your stomach capacity is to combine both methods and train using both food AND water. So that you can better understand why combining both methods is most effective, and to help you decide how you will train, here are the pros and cons of each:

As mentioned in How To Expand Your Stomach Using Food, the best way to train your body to be able to eat more food is by training with food. While strictly using liquids can help increase your capacity, it won’t help your body adapt to all of the other body processes that are required to hold, digest, and process all of that additional food, in addition to the stomach being able to expand further. By training with food, your system can begin to adapt to the changes you are trying to make, and you will notice that you will begin to not feel the fullness effects as quickly as time goes on. The major downside to training with food though is that you typically take in extra calories, and calories that your body does not use end up being stored as fat. If you continually take in excess calories, you will gain weight which can be damaging to your health and figure, and also your performance.

As mentioned in How To Expand Your Stomach Using Water, the reason that many competitive eaters train with water and other liquids is that water is typically free financially, calorie-free, and it digests and gets processed through your body much faster which means that you won’t have a very long feeling of discomfort. The major downside to water training though is that it can be dangerous, and you can drown yourself if you are not careful. Also, as mentioned above, your stomach may get used to expanding, but your body will not get used to processing the increased amount of food if you only use water, and it adds excess stress on your kidneys.

To basically sum up how to effectively combine both methods, simply follow the one week plan that is referenced in How To Expand Your Stomach Using Food, but then finish each large training meal by drinking a significant amount of water that increases the stretch of your stomach muscles. For example, eat the one large meal on days 1, 2, and 3, but then try to drink an additional 1 or 2 quarts (liters) of water afterwards. The larger meal will help your body begin to adapt to the increased amount of food, and the extra water will help increase the expansion of your stomach so that you can get an increased stomach stretch while avoiding additional calories and a longer period of discomfort. Plus, the water will help digest and metabolize the food you just ate. On days 1-3 during the one big meal referenced, do not go overboard on the water stretch, but do drink enough to feel the additional stretch. You don’t have to worry about drinking too much water because your body is full of food and therefore you are not at risk of drowning yourself. You do not want to go overboard though, because if you try to drink too much water on top of the food, your body may throw up both the water and the food, which will diminish some of your training efforts. Start by drinking a quart, if you even have that much room. You may even want to start off with a pint (16oz) and just keep drinking pint glasses of water until you have reached capacity. It is ok to drink 1 pint, take a break to burp up air, and then continue drinking until you are finished.

Eat your two meals each day on days 4 and 5 just like you would if you were training with food only, and don’t decrease the size of your meals just because you know that you are drinking water right afterwards. Days 1-3 were for preparing you to get more serious on days 4 and 5, so feel free to push your body a little harder on days 4 and 5 with the water stretch after your meals. As mentioned previously, don’t push too hard though. Your body will do the exact opposite of what you are wanting to accomplish if you push it too hard. This will help prepare you to max out on day 6. For more information about the max out meal on day 6, along with what to do right afterwards up until the time of your competition on day 7, please make sure you have read The 24 Hours Before Your Eating Competition in the Before The Challenge section, which also contains helpful guidance and tips.

The stomach capacity training tips are meant to serve as guidelines to help you establish your own training regimen for your own competitions based on your lifestyle, schedule, and personal capabilities. There is absolutely no way to establish a set schedule for everyone to follow with a set amount of food or liquid to consume because every single person is different, and therefore what works for one person may not work for other people. Establishing a preferred training regimen takes a lot of trial and error, and you will not get everything right on the first try no matter how much research and planning that you do. That is why you need to start slow and build your stomach capacity gradually. Train smarter and not just harder. Using all of the many tips throughout this Stomach Capacity Training section and the Before The Challenge section will definitely help you prepare your plan of attack so that you can dominate your food challenges and eating competitions, and continue to get better by learning from each & every experience. Learn. Train. Conquer. #feedthemovement

Thanks for reading expanding your stomach using food and water and using FoodChallenges.com!!

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7 Ways to Trick Yourself Full

Breakfast was two Krispy Kreme strawberry-filled doughnuts. I needed something quick, so I downed the pastries in my car on the way to work. Feeling full and high on sugar, I tackled my inbox with gusto. But by 10 a.m., my gut was grumbling again—and lunch was hours away. It was nothing like the previous morning, when I made an egg-and-Swiss sandwich on whole-wheat toast. Even though that had about 200 fewer calories than my Krispy Kreme binge, it kept me full till 1 p.m. Both breakfasts were satisfying—at the time. What was the difference?

The answer, fellow hungry men, lies in your brain’s dual perceptions of fullness. “Satiation” is the feeling of fullness at the end of a meal. “Satiety,” on the other hand, is a measure of how long it takes before you’re hungry again. Of course, food companies don’t want you to stay satisfied. Fifteen years ago, Susanna Holt, Ph.D., an Australian researcher who ranked foods according to their satiety power, approached a number of food companies for funding to continue her work. She’s still waiting: The companies were motivated to decrease the satiety of their foods—so people would buy more. Take control.

Master satiation and you can keep portion sizes in check; boost satiety and you can prevent needless snacking. (Avoid empty calories with these five protein-packed snacks.) Read on and you’ll be able to fill your gut—and then lose it.

SATIETY SECRET #1: Know what (and when) to drink.

Think of your stomach as a balloon. As you eat, it stretches. And once it expands to its maximum capacity, the sensors throughout your digestive system tell your brain’s amygdala that it’s time to stop chowing down—regardless of what you’ve filled your belly with. As Alan Aragon, M.S., Men’s Health’s nutrition advisor, puts it, “Eating half a roll of toilet paper would make you feel full.”

To stretch your stomach without stuffing it with calories (or paper products), you need water. Aragon recommends drinking a glass 30 minutes before a meal and sipping frequently while eating. Water-rich foods—soup, salad, fruit, and vegetables—will also fill your belly without contributing excessive calories.

SATIETY SECRET #2: Fill up with fiber

Fiber draws water from your body and from the food you’ve eaten, and transports it to your intestinal tract, helping to deliver that meal-ending satiation, according to a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Washington.
Fiber may boost satiety, too. Since it passes through the body undigested, fiber slows the absorption of nutrients and makes you feel fuller longer, according to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota. A 2009 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that adding 6 grams of soluble fiber (such as ground flaxseed) to yogurt provided the satiating power of an additional 260 calories. To reap the satiating benefits of fiber, aim for 25 to 35 grams daily.
Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand—like in those Krispy Kremes—are satiety killers. When participants in a 2008 British study drank a high-carb beverage for breakfast, they reported feeling hungrier at lunch than when they drank a beverage high in protein. Here’s why: Too much sugar brings on a rapid spike in insulin, which causes a sugar crash later and triggers a craving for more food.

SATIETY SECRET #3: Pack in the protein

Protein, your muscle-growing fuel, also has the power to raise levels of peptides—synthesized amino acids—in your stomach. “These peptides initiate cross-talk with the brain on a molecular level to send out satiety signals,” says Aragon. He recommends aiming for 20 to 40 grams of protein at each meal. (See below for a sample day of belly-filling food.)

SATIETY SECRET #4: Savor the flavors

Your belly is rumbling, and a waiter sets a juicy burger in front of you. Resist the urge to unhinge your jaws and swallow it whole. Thoroughly chewing your food increases what researchers call “oro-sensory factors,” which send satiation signals to your brain, helping you feel full on less food, according to a 2009 study by Dutch researchers. Study participants who chewed each bite for an extra 3 seconds ended up consuming less. And skip those sippable meal-replacement shakes and calorie-clogged smoothies from the juice joint.

SATIETY SECRET #5: Trick your belly full

You can’t trust your gut. Maybe you’ve heard about the Cornell University study with the trick bowls: People who ate soup from bowls that continuously refilled ate 73 percent more than those who ate from ordinary bowls. The kicker: They rated themselves as feeling no more full. Scientists call this use of sensory cues to assess fullness “learned satiation.” Try this: Dole out a portion of food onto a smaller plate and immediately place the rest in the refrigerator. Once you eat, the visual cue of a clean plate will signal that you’ve had enough—and the leftovers will stay out of sight and out of mind, in the fridge.
Want more ways to whittle your waistline? Try these nine weight-loss rules that work.

SATIETY SECRET #6: Avoid distraction at dinner

What you’re doing while you eat might be as important as what you’re eating. You’re likely to consume much more food and eat for longer periods of time when you’re distracted by television, music, or a computer, according to a 2009 review of studies published in Trends in Food Science & Technology. Eating while distracted interrupts brain-to-stomach satiation signals, making it harder to monitor your food intake. Also, distraction raises the risk of overeating the wrong types of foods—think popcorn at the movies.
The takeaway from all this is simple: When you eat, actually eat. Grab a seat. Focus on your meal. Don’t check your e-mail or hit up Hulu for last night’s Daily Show. Pay attention to your first plate of food and you might find that you don’t need to go back for seconds.

SATIETY SECRET #7: Downsize your snacks

As long as you’re eating satiety-inducing nutrients at every meal, you’ll reduce your urge for food between meals, says Aragon. But if your gut’s growling and your next meal is far away, a snack can help prevent you from doing a Joey Chestnut impression at dinner.
The problem is, our appetite for snacks has become insatiable. Between 1977 and 2006, Americans’ snacking increased 11 percent while our average downtime between meals dropped from 4? hours to 3? hours, according to a 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The fast-food chains couldn’t be happier with our snack fetish. McDonald’s hawks a 340-calorie Snack Wrap, and Taco Bell’s “Fourthmeal” campaign encourages eaters to inflate the midnight snack into a full-fledged second dinner, complete with its 770-calorie Nachos BellGrande.
Portion control is key: Learn 12 easy ways to estimate serving sizes.
If hunger hits, keep the snack, well, snack-sized. Grab food that’s high in protein or fiber, like beef jerky, nuts, or cottage cheese, and keep your consumption under 200 calories, says Aragon. That way, you’ll keep gut gurgling at bay without packing in a mini-meal. Whatever you do, skip the processed snacks that prime your gut for more, more, more. It’s how a doughnut leads to a growling stomach before lunch. It’s how a drive-thru dinner can lead to Fourthmeal at midnight. And it’s how you can eat all day and never feel full.

BLOCK THAT BINGE

Eat these satiating foods at mealtimes—and two sane snacks in between—to stay satisfied all day long—and avoid overeating
Breakfast
A glass of milk (8 oz), 3 large scrambled eggs, a slice of Cheddar, and a medium apple
Milk: Pour tall: There’s a gram of protein in every ounce. And the fluid aids satiation.
Egg: One egg contains about 7 grams of filling protein.
Apple: This on-the-go breakfast finale has 4 grams of fiber.
Lunch
Chicken salad (? cup) on whole-wheat bread, and a glass of iced tea (8 oz)
Chicken: It’s an easy way to pack in 22 grams of protein per serving.
Bread: Always pick whole-wheat over white for the extra fiber. Look for at least 3 grams in each slice.
Iced tea: Drink the real, unsweetened stuff, not the sugar-water posers.
Dinner
Seared meat or fish (8 oz), some steamed broccoli (? cup), a medium baked sweet potato, and a glass of water (12 oz)
Meat/fish: It’s loaded with enough protein to fend off a midnight snack attack.
Broccoli: Vegetables are a low-calorie way to eat more fiber.
Water: H2O may help stop you from scrambling for seconds.

Bhatti GI Blog

That little “tummy ache” could be attributed to eating too much or too fast, but it could also be a sign of a more serious health problem. In this article, we take a look at the possible causes of stomach pain after eating.

Over Eating

Stomach pain is often caused by simply eating your food too quickly. When you overeat, you might not take the time to chew through your food properly and you might notice that the food generally disappears from your plate very quickly. Take your time and chew slowly when you eat.

Food Intolerances

It is estimated that nearly 20% of the population is intolerant or sensitive to certain foods. Stomach pain and cramping are common symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities, which are often associated with dairy, gluten, nuts, yeast, and tomatoes.

Food Allergies

Dairy products, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, soy, corn, wheat, and gluten are common food allergies that can cause symptoms such as stomach pain. A food elimination diet or an allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody test can be conducted to determine whether you are allergic to a particular food or substance.

Celiac Disease

Stomach pain is a common symptom of celiac disease. The condition is characterized by gluten sensitivity. People with celiac disease will immediately react to a specific protein found in gluten called gliadin—it is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects approximately 15% of the population. Some symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, abdominal pain, or stomach pain after eating. Candida, food allergies, and food sensitivities are also associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Pancreatitis

Stomach pain after eating can also indicate pancreatitis, especially when the pain lasts for over six hours. Pancreatitis is known as pancreas inflammation. People with pancreatitis will experience pain that begins around the upper abdomen; the pain will then spread to the back. Other pancreatitis symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition where pouches in the colon become inflamed from bacteria. The pouches are also known as cysts or diverticula. Some symptoms include fever, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, bowel habit changes, and cramping pain, especially around the lower left area of the abdomen. Stomach pain after eating is also common.

Intestinal Obstruction

When there is a blockage in your colon or small intestine, it can be difficult for foods to be digested properly. When you eat too fast, large pieces of food may not be broken down. A hernia or tumor can also lead to intestinal obstruction.

Chronic Candida

Abdominal pain can also be a symptom of chronic candida—a condition also known as yeast overgrowth. Other common symptoms associated with candida include chronic fatigue, bloating, gas, and depression.

Heartburn

Heartburn is also sometimes referred to as acid reflux, or acid indigestion. Heartburn is the result of too little stomach acid, and it can produce burning chest pain after eating. The pain may only last a few minutes, or up to several hours. Stomach pain after eating can also be attributed to gallstones, eating spicy foods, a stomach flu, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, Crohn’s disease, and peptic ulcers. Stomach pain after eating may also be the result of a blocked blood vessel.

This Is Your Belly On Cocktails, Cookies, and More

Cocktails, cupcakes, salty potato chips, a big juicy cheeseburger. These things all taste pretty darn good as they pass through your lips, but what happens after they move on down the road? “No matter what you swallow, the mechanisms are the same: past the food pipe, through the esophagus, and into your stomach,” says Ira Breite, M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the division of gastroenterology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But there are differences in how specific nutrients like proteins, carbs, and fats are absorbed,” he says.

Here’s what happens when some of your favorite guilty pleasures hit your belly, and how to take a healthier approach:

Alcohol

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Unlike just about everything else that you swallow, alcohol is actually absorbed directly by the stomach (the stomach essentially serves as a waiting room for everything you eat; nothing is processed and absorbed until after it reaches the small intestine). Once that glass of vino-or margarita-hits your belly, any food there at that moment delays the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, which is why you feel woozier faster if you’re drinking on an empty stomach. The higher the percentage of alcohol your cocktail contains, the longer it stays in your system and the drunker you feel. And if you’re a woman (or you are on the slim side), the longer it takes for your body to process the alcohol.

The Healthier Approach: Moderation-and slow consumption-is key. While on the whole it’s better to drink with food in your system, it won’t make you less drunk, Dr. Breite says. “Drink less or spread drinking out so your body has time to metabolize it. If you down five shots and a loaf of bread with it, you’ll just be really drunk and full of carbohydrates,” he says.

Sugar

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Sugar in all of its forms, with the exception of artificial sweeteners, has a direct effect on your metabolism and energy. All sugar is converted into glucose and fructose, which is absorbed through the small intestines into the blood. Your body uses it as an easy and quick source of fuel, but it runs out quickly (hence the famed “sugar crash”).

The Healthier Approach: Sugar is, well, sweet, and that makes it a key part of some of the tastiest things on the planet: homemade chocolate chips cookies, crème brulee, chocolate everything. But it’s also all empty calories, and unless you’re an elite athlete, you’re probably not going to burn all those empty calories off, so you don’t need more from excess sugar consumption. Watch out for the hidden sources that don’t serve any pleasurable purpose: sports drinks, soda, that cache of gummy bears on your co-workers desk you eat because you’re bored.

Refined Carbs

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Refined carbs like white rice, pasta, and flour have basically had their healthy bits removed; for example, white rice was once brown rice before it got its fiber-rich exterior stripped away. So not only are refined carbs low in nutrients, they are converted quickly by the body into sugars and can boost blood sugar levels. When these levels are high, your body uses sugar instead of fat stores for an instant energy boost. You get hungry again faster after a refined-carb heavy meal (the reason you’re ready to eat again an hour after a huge plate of pancakes), plus your body isn’t using fat stores for energy, which is what you want.

The Healthier Approach: Yes, a crusty baguette is a wonderful thing, as are pancakes, and sometimes only white rice with beef and broccoli will do. Still, try to get as many of your everyday carbs from slow burning, complex sources like beans, whole fruits and veggies, and whole grains. That way you have room for the occasional splurge.

Saturated and Trans Fats

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High-fat foods from animal sources like marbled steak, cheese, and butter, or artificial trans fats (typically used to keep cookies and chips from spoiling after long periods on store shelves) behave (badly) in two ways: In the short term they can create digestive issues like constipation or even diarrhea. Long term, they raise levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol, which can lead to stiff arteries and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Trans fats are an even worse culprit since they not only raise bad cholesterol, but actually deplete the good (HDL) kind.

The Healthier Approach: Luckily, trans fats are under fire, and many manufacturers have removed them from their products. So when you buy packaged foods, read labels and make sure there are as few ingredients as possible. Opt for leaner meats and make cheese a splurge rather than part of your everyday diet. Go for the good stuff on the weekends; a small slice of something French and decadent, or really good Parmesan rather than ordering American cheese on your lunchtime sandwich out of habit.

  • By Shape Editors

How to stuff your belly?

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