With the new year upon us, everyone is trying to slash the weight they gained over the festive holiday months. Let’s get real – these crazy restrictive, no carb no sugar no alcohol calorie restricting diets just don’t last. You get a few weeks in, have a bad day or a social gathering and all the efforts are as good as gone. Instead of doing these crazy diet overhauls, focus on some of these underrated behaviours and variables that can yield more long lasting change.
1. Get those steps in – you crushed your morning CrossFit class but then you sit at your desk all day and veg in from of the TV at night. This isn’t only going to make your recovery suffer and body more stiff but actually make it harder to lose weight. Adding little walking breaks throughout the day can boost your output and make you feel more alert and awake preventing midday energy dips.
2. Dial up the H2O – Our bodies are 55 to 70 percent water, so getting proper hydration is one of the most important things you can do for your health—and to keep hunger at bay. Many of us do not drink enough water, so we think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. A good formula to follow is 1L per 50lbs bodyweight.
3. Prioritize those zzzz’s – Sleep deprivation is a major reason why your weight is not coming off. When you sleep for enough, your body is able to rev up the metabolism, lower stress and hunger hormone levels, and improve the functioning of fat-burning enzymes and hormones. You would lose a good amount of weight just by sleeping tight at night.
4. Carve out me time – If you have been unable to lose weight for the longest time now even by eating right and exercising, then it’s time to look into those stress levels. You may have noticed in times of stress, you tend to overeat. There’s actually a scientific reason behind this. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and when your levels are too high it can lead to issues such as low mood, trouble sleeping, memory impairment – and overeating. High sugar and high carb foods seem the most tempting in stressful situations as when cortisol levels are high. Practice breathing exercises, go for walks, exercise, listen to music, pick a hobby you like, and take time out to meditate. By de-stressing, you can see the extra pounds melting off.
5. Choose slow carb versus low carb – Focusing on “slow carbs” means sticking with the carbs that are high in fibre AND more nutrient-dense can help you control your blood sugar better preventing the need to overeat. Go for sprouted grain breads, beans, grains, lentils, and potatoes. Too little carbs can lead to cravings, binges, and overeating.
6. Fill up on plants – Whether it’s adding a few salad at lunch, stir-fry at dinner, or adding fruit for to your breakfast and snack – fruit and vegetables provide tons of volume to your meals for the least amount of calories. Whenever you are planning to eat, incorporate a fruit or vegetable on your plate.
7. You bite it, you write it – Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of food journaling for changing body composition. It can help you remember what you have eaten that day. You can also see where you can improve and where you are lacking. It will help you adjust your eating schedule because it will let you see what time of day you typically get hungry. It may help you realize if you are eating out of boredom rather than hunger
8. Understanding hunger cues – You should always keep in mind that our bodies ultimate goal is to stay alive. Skipping meals and pushing off hunger can cause your metabolism to slow down making it harder to lose weight AND can make you hungrier the next time you eat. You also want to understand when emotional stress comes into play, causing to eat our feelings instead of hunger. By working to recognize true physiological hunger signals versus emotional/stress hunger signals, AND learning to respond accordingly a person can manage their food more efficiently.
9. Stop the distracted eating – Distracted eating—working, watching TV, scrolling on your phone—can lead us to overeating without realizing it. But learning to eat mindfully can have the opposite effect. What does that mean? Mindful eating involves focusing on what you’re eating and how it makes you feel. Look at your food, pay attention to colors and aromas, put a bite in your mouth and taste it with your mind—focus on the flavors and textures, chew slowly, and swallow.Try sitting at a table and using a plate for your food (rather than eating out of a package or snack bag).
10. Stop putting pressure on the scale! Though it may sound counterintuitive – stop putting pressure on it! When weight loss is front and centre as the goal, it leads us to stop and start diets. But when you learn about nutrition, your individual medical and psychological history, rewiring your mindset, and focusing on bettering yourself as a whole, it will naturally lead to healthy, appropriate weight loss that does not just come right back.