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Many people believe that in order to lose weight, they have to eat these miniscule portions a couple of times a day and only consume food that has a taste comparable to that of cardboard. Luckily, that’s not true and as we explore five key ways to use food to generate weight loss, you will see why those perpetuated myths are erroneous.

1. Eat More Frequently. Having a fast metabolism can help you to lose weight faster. By eating five meals a day, breakfast, a snack before lunch, lunch, a snack before dinner, and dinner you can maintain a faster metabolism. Eating five carefully portioned meals that are not too small or too large, can also keep your appetite in check. You won’t have this intense sensation of hunger encouraging you to eat more food than you actually need, which you might have if you’re eating only one, two, or three meals a day.

2. Don’t Diet, Change Your Eating Habits. Why try so hard to lose weight only to gain it back sooner or later? Fad diets are quick fixes for shedding excess weight, where as a lifestyle change in your eating habits can serve as a long term solution for weight problems.

3. Don’t Deprive Yourself. It’s human nature–knowing that you can’t have something just makes you want it more. Soda, sweets, and high fat foods are all things we know aren’t good for us, but are often times consumed on a regular basis. If you have the willpower to cut out sugary, fatty, and salty foods all together, power to you! But if you love pie, bacon, and fries, having an unhealthy treat every now and then isn’t going to make you regain all of the weight that you have lost. Allowing yourself to have these things at certain times can also keep you from binge eating unhealthy food after you have deprived yourself of it for so long.

4. Learn About Food. Additives, preservatives, and a range of other things that are now added to food, significantly alter the nutritional value of most of the food you purchase from the grocery store. Growing everything that you eat isn’t a sustainable practice for most people, so for the average person, learning what is in, or in some cases what isn’t in, the food you buy is important to ensure your diet contains more beneficial ingredients than negative ones. Do a little research on the benefits and drawbacks of some of the things being put into food nowadays. While it might seem tedious to go down the aisle reading the label of almost everything you put in the cart, by comparing similar product’s ingredients, and using preexisting knowledge of what should or shouldn’t be in your food, you can eat healthier food that can lead to more weight loss.

5. Re-learn to Cook. Cooking with high amounts of sodium, butter, and fat might have made your food tasty, but you don’t have to use those ingredients to cook an appetizing dish. Invest in a health food cookbook or browse the internet to find healthy dishes that can also be incredibly savory. Knowing the right flavorings to mix together, be it seasonings, oils, vegetables, or fruit can turn a once bland dish into something you’ll have to restrain yourself from eating too much of.

Shedding excess body weight can have many benefits. For people who carry a significant amount of extra weight, losing weight can improve joint pain and make walking and other everyday activities a much easier task. So if you are experiencing joint pain due to being overweight or obese and looking for helpful solutions to relieve that pain, consider eating to lose weight and subsequently ease your aches, pains, and difficulties with mobility.