How to press the reset button

January is typically the month most people decide to “turn over a new leaf” and drop those pesky December pounds. But I prefer to think of weight loss as “hitting the reset button” — it has a more positive ring to it. Don’t you think? Anyway, when I want to hit the reset button I don’t turn to raw greens to help me; especially in the winter months. Somehow on a cold windy January day, cold lettuce just isn’t what I would call a nurturing, comforting food.

In the dead of winter, when the weather is super cold, the thing that truly warms me up (other than a nice warm fire and a hug from my husband) is a big bowl of soup. And not just any old soup will do, certainly not canned, bagged or boxed; only a cup of delicious, hot, homemade soup will do the trick.

And soup is not just a spoonful of comfort; it’s also my one pot secret weapon when it comes to weight loss and it could be yours too.

Now you might be thinking; really, soup? I’m going to starve! Trust me with the right soup you won’t. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Researchers found that the texture of the soup (thick or thin) determines how quickly you reach satiety and how long you stay there. Although liquids empty from the stomach faster than solids, thicker liquids like soup are different. They actually tend to cause the stomach to expand more and remain in the stomach longer so you feel fuller longer.

One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that thick smooth soup like butternut squash (90 calories a cup) works better than chicken noodle (140 calories a cup) when it comes to slowing stomach emptying and boosting satiety. And since soups are generally eaten at a more leisurely pace; it forces you to put your spoon down in between bites; giving your brain time to signal your stomach that you’ve eaten enough. Imagine that!

Another study published in the journal Appetite found that when people had a bowl low calorie soup (150 calories for women and 200 for men) they naturally consumed about 20% fewer calories overall without feeling hungry. For the average American eating one fifth fewer calories a day equates to a loss of 50+ pounds over the course of a year.

And even if you’re not concerned about losing that much weight, soup can be a successful way to break a plateau or shed those holiday pounds.

Plus it’s a great way to include more veggies in your diet; and you know you don’t get the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and veggies a day. Right? A well crafted soup can give you three or four servings of vegetables in just one serving.

So, warm up in the chilliest of nights and lose weight too with a nice bowl of homemade soup.

Reach Mary Schoepe at fitnessconcepts001@yahoo.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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