Everybody is quick to start the newest and trendiest diet. There’s most likely no one reading this who hasn’t tried Atkins, Weight Watchers, Herbalife, Keto diet, or a good ole juice cleanse and detox. Not going to lie, I’m guilty of trying some crazy diets back in the day. I think I spent 3 days eating only apples with promises of losing 10 pounds in 7 days. We’re all guilty of trying these fad diets because they all advertise the same thing… “quick and fast results”. Unfortunately, if you lose weight in a quick and unsustainable way, then those results will also be unsustainable and quick to disappear.
If your goal is to lose weight and keep that weight off permanently then you need to focus on developing sustainable habits for you and your lifestyle . Now if you hate carbs, then eat keto for the rest of your life, but c'mon who really wants to give up bread and cookies?
You don't have to give up any specific foods because no one food makes you gain weight. It’s a combination of eating too many calories, getting minimal activity during the day, and sleeping like crap etc. So stop all the fad diets, and start cutting out these bad habits and create some POSITIVE BEHAVIORS.
I’ve listed 5 easy steps to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Once you build these positive behaviors and healthy habits into your daily routine, the weight loss will follow.
1. PRIORITIZE PROTEIN
You hear me talk a lot about protein. That’s because it’s such an important macronutrient. Protein helps fill you up AND keep you full which can help reduce overeating or mindless snacking throughout the day. Protein also helps maintain and build muscle mass; muscle actually burns calories, so the more muscle you build the better!
Make sure that you get a serving of protein with every meal. A serving size can look different for different people, but 25-30g of protein with each meal is a good place to start. I also recommend eating your protein first in a meal. This will allow you to fill up on good quality protein and reduce chances of overeating on too many fats or carbs.
For example, if you are having grilled chicken with french fries; I would eat the grilled chicken first, and then dig into the french fries. If you finish it all, that’s OKAY! But you may realize after eating the grilled chicken and half of the french fries that you are satiated and satisfied.
2. CUT DOWN ON BAD HABITS
We all have bad habits and let’s be honest, we all know what they are! Maybe you drink a couple glasses of wine every night after work, or you tend to eat take out most nights for dinner, or you go overboard on sweets at night. I’ve been guilty of all of these at some point in my life! Unfortunately, all of these habits will make it really difficult to lose weight.
The goal here is not to completely eliminate this habit, because we want to be sustainable right.
If you’re drinking 6 nights a week, try to only drink 3 nights a week. If you’re eating out 5 nights a week, try to eat out only 3 nights a week. You’ll be surprised how these small changes can make a big difference as long as you stay consistent.
3. BECOME AWARE OF WHAT YOU'RE EATING
This is a huge one! I recommend you download MyFitnessPal or any one of those food tracking apps and start tracking your food. Don’t worry about hitting a calorie goal or macro goal, just record your daily food and drinks to become more aware of what you’re putting into your body. Once you spend some time tracking, you will start to learn more about food, calories, and nutrients.
Remember, at the end of the day you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. When you start tracking your food you may realize that avocado toast you eat every morning actually has 700 calories! Or that smoothie you love has no protein and is filled with sugar. This can be eye opening and help guide you to making better food choices.
4. TAKE A 10 MINUTE WALK AFTER MEALS
Walking is the most underrated form of exercise and has countless health benefits. But for the purpose of this article, I’ll stick to just a few. In this day and age we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs. Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in work, that we end up spending the entire day sitting. Walking after a meal is a guaranteed way to help you get movement in throughout the day. I also find that it can be easier to go on 3-4 quick 10 minute walks throughout the day, instead of having to commit to a full 30-45 minute walk. I know you can find 10 minutes after a meal to go do a lap around your neighborhood or office building.
Walking, or any exercise at that matter also improves the body’s ability to circulate oxygen and creates a chemical release of endorphins. This can actually give you a boost of energy and help keep you more active throughout the day. This can bring you closer to reaching a calorie deficit and ultimately help you with your weight loss goal. If you’re not convinced yet, walking after meals has also been shown to help promote improved digestion and blood sugar regulation. So if you’re not currently walking everyday, put that phone down after you eat and get that booty moving!
5. DRINK YOUR WATER!
Did you know the human body is made up of 60% water? This is why it’s so important that we get adequate hydration everyday. Dehydration can lead to a slew of health problems you don’t want to deal with.
It sounds counter-intuitive but drinking plenty of water can actually help reduce bloating and water retention. So if you’re feeling bloated after a dinner out or eating lots of sweets, increase your water intake and you will see a reduction in bloating. Dehydration can also impair your brain function. However, if you drink sufficient water you will notice improved mental clarity and even improved energy levels & mood. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant. Water can take up space in your stomach; and when your stomach feels full it sends signals to your brain to stop eating. Your body may also sometimes mistake hunger for thirst.
They say you should drink 8 glasses of water a day, which averages out to be around 64 oz of water. However, I recommend that most active individuals, or those that are on a weight loss journey drink closer to a gallon or 128 oz of water a day. If you have health conditions such as congestive heart failure or kidney disease, consult your doctor before increasing water intake.
Don’t forget… losing weight is achieved when you stay in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. A calorie deficit means you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. These 5 steps all promote creating a calorie deficit in a healthy and sustainable way.
If you need additional guidance, knowledge, or accountability check out the different coaching services I provide here!