Starting any new diet or exercise program can be tough for anyone, whether you’re just beginning a weight loss journey for the first time, or you’ve fallen off the fitness horse and are trying to get back on.
Getting on a weight loss program can certainly seem like a daunting task. Overhauling the way you eat and completely changing your lifestyle doesn’t seem like fun at all.
Unfortunately that’s what most “diets” ask of you, often adding in weight loss pills and heavily processed foods to get you to your weight loss goal. However, the toll that those methods can take on your health in the long run is unpredictable and often scary. The cost of losing weight just isn’t worth the risk of hurting your health.
I work with my clients to ditch those annoying diets and create realistic, lasting habits that enable them to lead more satisfying, healthy and joyful lives. If we can find ways to implement healthful practices into our everyday routines, we won’t feel deprived and like we’re constantly on one diet after another.
In the meantime, try these 7 tips to make weight loss easier that will help you on your journey to better health and dropping a few of those pesky pounds as well. Even better…none of them include exercise or totally overhauling your current diet! I want to share these tips with you so that you can see how creating positive habits can have you feeling amazing and inspired.
1. Keep a Food Journal
You may have heard this one before, but it really works. Keeping tabs on what you eat will make you aware of just how much or how little you are eating. When we lead busy lives, we often forget to eat meals or keep eating without realizing just how much we’re scarfing down. Both can be detrimental to your health, by causing your blood sugar to have severe ups and downs. This can lead to weight gain, mood swings , energy slumps and a whole bunch of other health issues. By keeping a daily log of what you eat, you will be more aware of where you need to make changes to balance your eating schedule and therefore control your blood sugar and weight.
2. Avoid Foods that Cause You Discomfort
Another great benefit to keeping a food journal is that you will start to realize which foods are causing you digestive issues. This is huge when it comes to weight loss. For the most part, digestive symptoms such as constipation, gas and bloating are a result of eating foods that our body isn’t able to properly digest. When we’re not properly digesting food, our body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs and therefore feels starved. This causes us to feel hungry even if we just ate a meal and we’re more likely to eat more, causing weight gain. In addition, if you’re eating foods that are difficult to digest, you body has to use extra energy in order to break them down. This will leave us feeling tired, taking away energy that we need to exercise and do daily tasks.
3. Drink Warm Water with Lemon Every Morning
What we have first thing in the morning sets the tone for the day. There are numerous benefits to drinking warm water with fresh lemon juice first thing upon waking up. First, warm water with lemon aids in better digestion and flushes out toxins and unwanted material from our body. The less gunk we have built up in our body, the more optimal our “machine” can operate. Lemons are also high in pectin fiber, which controls hunger cravings and they are a highly alkaline food, balancing out our bodiy’s pH levels. Studies have shown that the more alkaline your body is, the more likely you are to lose weight. Another benefit to including fresh lemon juice in your water is their high Vitamin C content This helps to boost your immune system and give you energy for your day ahead. Simply squeeze juice from ½ of a lemon into a glass of warm water and drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Make sure you’re heating up filtered water and not using warm water from the tap, which often contains harmful chemicals.
Taking a few minutes just twice a day to calm your mind and body is essential to maintaining good health. If you’re constantly stressed, your body is more likely to release the hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol leads to excess fat, especially around your midsection. Stress is also the leading factor for most major diseases out there. If you can take a just a few minutes to practice proper deep breathing, you will have an easier time shedding the pounds. If you’re new to the idea of meditation, don’t worry. You can start by finding a quiet place, clearing your mind, closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this in the morning and evening, or whenever you feel you need it and you’ll see an incredible difference in not just your mood, but your health as well.
5. Drink More Water
Most people don’t drink nearly as much water as they should. Our bodies are made up of about 80% water so it’s vital to make sure you’re properly hydrated. Drink a glass of water before every meal. This will help control your hunger and keep you from overeating. In addition, when you’re feeling hungry, grab a glass of water before snacking. Many times, being thirsty gives us the same feelings as hunger so try the water first and see how you feel before reaching for the chips.
6. Sleep More
Research shows that adults who get only 5-6 hours of sleep a night are more likely to put on weight. Sleep time is one of the most important times for detoxing and digesting. Our bodies have a prolonged time to move food through our system without distractions so we can wake up feeling refreshed and energized. When we don’t’ get enough sleep, not only are we tired, but our bodies haven’t been able to properly digest and eliminate the food and toxins from the day before, causing us to hold onto extra weight. Sleep also affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that control our hunger. When we don’t get enough sleep, leptin, which suppresses hunger, decreases, and ghrelin, which stimulates hunger increases. The better we sleep, the less hungry we feel. The stress hormone, cortisol also increases with decreased sleep, which can lead to excess fat storage.
7. Add In, Don’t Take Out
Adding in more good, nutrient dense foods into your diet will help you crowd out the less healthy foods naturally. By starting your meals with a healthy salad or soup and still keeping what you would normally eat, you will work to control your appetite and portion sizes. You will be giving your body essential nutrients that it needs and you won’t feel the need to eat as much of the heavier, less healthy main course. And believe it or not, the more healthful foods you add into your diet, the more you will begin to crave them as well. Sounds crazy? You won’t believe how many people I know that have gone from strict meat and potatoes to needing their green smoothie first thing in the morning.
Incorporate these steps into your daily routine and you’ll see just how much they can make weight loss easier and positively affect your mind & body.
Tina Paymaster is a Certified Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach in New York City. Her mission is to help women regain control of their health by realizing their true potential and finding ways to balance the various areas of their lives.