Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight -- whether they met with success or failure -- knows how difficult it can be. But, it doesn't have to be nearly as complicated as we seem to want to make it. Yes, losing weight, and keeping it off, requires hard work and dedication but following a few basic principles will make it seem a whole lot easier!
Follow these 10 tips and you'll go a long way to preventing that dreaded yo-yoing weight scenario!
1. Eat real food.
Processed food is just not real food. Any package you see that has a list of ingredients as long as your arm is not real food. Real food is the key to managing your weight. Eating real food, like the kind found in the outer aisles of the supermarket, can reduce inflammation and help your hormones balance which will automatically allow your body to let go of fat it doesn't need. It can help you get leaner without too much effort!
2. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're 80% full.
You know how it is. You really enjoy what you are eating so you go back for seconds and maybe even thirds. You're loving it. Until about a half hour later when you feel bloated as can be. You don't need to eat until you feel full. By listening to your body, you can learn to eat when you are truly hungry and not when you are stressed or anxious. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full. Slow down, and stop eating before you think you're there. If you find yourself eating when you are stressed out, try some deep breathing or meditation to distract you and reduce those stress levels.
3. Be mindful and love what you eat.
Most of us spend our days going through the motions and not really thinking about things. This can be a diet disaster. It is incredibly easy to overeat when you are not paying attention. To prevent overeating, turn off the technology. Don't watch television or work at your computer. When you sit down to eat, pay attention to how your body feels with each bite you take. Slowing down in this manner allows you to develop a deeper love for what you are eating which can lead to a healthier relationship to food.
4. Workout less, move more.
Our bodies are meant to move. Just get up and move around. The little things make all the difference when you consider that we spend the majority of our days sitting down. Take the stairs at work, walk around the block at lunch or on your coffee break. Get up out of your chair every hour or two and do some stretches. This will keep your muscles strong and keep your metabolism running.
5. Build muscle, ditch long cardio.
Our bodies can been seen as a furnace that burns calories all day long. While it is true that working out accelerates our calories burn, it isn't that simple. Exercise is only responsible for 15% of your calories burned. 70% comes down to your basal metabolic rate. Building muscle is the only way to increase this metabolic rate. Try adding some strength training and body weight exercises to your routine.
6. Set up your environment to win.
If your goal is to not eat junk food, the junk food shouldn't be in your home. Set yourself up for success by filling your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The same can be said about your social life. If you are surrounded by unhealthy, toxic people, you are likely to emulate their behaviours. Find like-minded, supportive people who will encourage you toward your goals!
7. Strive for progress, not perfection.
You aren't perfect. No one is. But with each step you take toward progress, the easier that progress becomes. If you've messed up and eaten something you shouldn't have, forgive yourself and move on. Sometimes things just don't go as planned. Don't waste more time by beating yourself up over it. You just tripped, you didn't fall. Straighten yourself up, and keep right on going.
8. Be consistent.
Master the small habits that will set you up for success. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, spend time with the people you love, pack clean lunches for work, go for a walk in the evenings. Do the little things that will build you up. Healthy habits beget other healthy habits. Your changes don't have to be major ones but they do need to be changes you can stick with. Doing these little things every day can be just as powerful as doing those major shifts you give up on after a few weeks.
9. Keep learning.
Your mind needs loving too. Make sure you feed it properly. Learn more about what motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle. Read books about healthy living, watch interesting documentaries on food and lifestyle, attend wellness lectures and talks. Stop filling your mind space with junk like reality television. Obviously you don't have to give up those guilty pleasures completely but it is important to make sure you are including things that will help you maintain healthy behaviours.
10. Be grateful and happy.
Being happy and grateful is the key to finding all good things in life. No matter where you are right now, in this moment, you have so much to be grateful for! Don't forget this in the midst of your daily stresses. It might take some effort but shift your thoughts toward good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal, write thank you cards. Do whatever it is that will keep you in touch with the good in your life. You get what you put out into the world. If you put good, happy vibes out there, you will get more of that in return!
Are you following any of these tips? What impact have they had on your life?