Weight loss and weight management is not a one-size fits all. Bio-individuality is the concept that what works for one person may not work for another. After all, all of those fad diets came into existence because they worked for someone, somewhere. Does that mean that you should eat nothing but cabbage soup though, please no!
That being said, there are certain measures we can all take that will not only benefit our weight loss efforts, but also our overall health and wellness.
- Drink Water- Hunger is often confused with dehydration. Try and drink 8 glasses of water per day. This will help you feel fuller and also slow down your “auto-pilot” mode when you normally reach for a snack. Additionally, a glass of water before a meal or snack will help you eat less. Drink up!
- Eat Carbs- Real Carbs- Carbs have mistakenly become the enemy. We need carbs in our diet. Our body uses it for energy and fuel. However, not all carbs are created equal. Replace refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, pretzels, etc. with complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Complex carbs are high in fiber, which slows digestions and promotes stable blood sugar levels.
- Choose Healthy Fats- A common misconception is that fats make you fat. In reality, we cannot live without fat. The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, healthy hair, skin, and nails, vitamin absorption, and normal every day bodily functions. Choose good fats, like avocados, nuts, and seeds, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Emphasize Lean Protein- Our bodies require protein to continuously renew and replenish our cells, stabilize blood sugar levels, and give us energy. The richest sources of protein include animal products (meat, eggs, and fish) and plant sources (beans, nuts, and seeds). You can be a vegetarian and get ample amounts of protein, but you also don’t have to be! If choosing animal proteins choose learner proteins, like chicken, fish, and turkey, rather than red meat.
- Eat Breakfast- I know so many people who skip breakfast. They’re not hungry, don't have time, the list goes on and on. Ditch the excuses. Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast will give your metabolism a jumpstart and help you better control cravings throughout the day. When we miss our first fuel opportunity of the day, by mid-morning we are hungry and more likely to engage in mindless nibbling, snacking, overeating, and over compensating for any calories “saved” by breakfast.
- Eat More Frequently- Try and balance your food intake throughout the day by eating smaller main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and supplementing with healthy snacks. Don’t forget to eat until you’re no longer hungry rather than eating until you’re full. There’s a huge difference! Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs and we take HUGE portions at mealtime. Eating regularly throughout the day will help cut down on mealtime portion size.
- Exercise your Body and Mind- Exercise has enormous benefits for your mind and body. Decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, and endorphins to boost your mood- all results of exercise! We’re all busy so exercise smart and efficiently rather than spending hours in the gym.
- Catch Some Zzz’s- Did you know that according to research, those who sleep five hours or less weight five pounds more than those getting at least seven h ours of sleep per night! Lack of sleep can lead to irregular energy balance, metabolism and appetite. Sleep more, eat and weigh less- awesome!
- Cook- Again, I know we’re busy and or you simply may hate cooking. It feels tedious and requires clean up. But isn’t it worth it if you can control portion sizes, quality of ingredients, and cut back on your intake of sodium, fat, and calories. Check out some of super fast recipes for more tips, but get cooking in the kitchen!
- Keep Track of what you Eat- Be a label detective! Regularly check labels. My rule of thumb is if I can’t pronounce it, I probably shouldn’t be eating it. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended- whole and unprocessed. When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on an apple or stalk of celery? Additionally aim for foods with lower sugar content. Read more about sugar here and try and stay away from foods with no sugar, or 5 grams or less.