According to the World Health Organization, 1.4 billion adults were overweight or obese in 2011. That is over one sixth of the world’s population. The combination of sedentary lifestyles and limited understanding of how to truly nourish our bodies is literally killing us.
Those of us who have the luxury of access to plenty of food also have the responsibility of choosing wisely what and when we eat. It is not always easy, but it is possible to make choices that will get you to a healthy and sustainable size.
If you need to let go of excess weight, these tricks can help you reach your goals.
1. Boost Your Metabolism
How quickly and thoroughly you digest food is based on your metabolic rate. Someone with a fast metabolism is burning fat whenever they are awake, while someone with a depressed metabolism can literally gain weight just from looking at a treat.
There are many ways to boost your metabolism. These include exercise, eating small meals throughout the day, and getting plenty of rest. Always be sure to eat a nourishing breakfast that includes protein as soon as possible after waking.
2. Drink More Water
Drinking plenty of pure water helps maintain health. Being well hydrated inspires rejuvenation of all the cells. And consuming water increases the rate at which you burn calories.
3. Eat Food that Truly Nourishes You
Starving yourself will not help you loose weight in the long run, When the body does not get enough calories, it goes into conservation mode and stops burning fat. The key is not to obsess about calorie count, but rather focus on eating wholesome food so your body always feels nourished.
Fill your belly with fresh organic vegetables, fruit that is not too sweet, and lean protein. Learn to make plant-based meals you enjoy. Avoid processed, refined food products, saturated or hydrogenated oils, and sugar. Eat nuts and seeds in moderation.
Most importantly, strive to make every time you eat an enjoyable experience. Revel in the textures, colors, and smells of your food. Focus on eating food that truly nourishes your body and spirit, and you won’t have to worry as much about the numbers.
4. Write It Down
Keeping a food journal is a crucial component of weight loss success. According to WebMD, writing down what you eat helps you be accountable to yourself. You are less likely to pig out on junk food if you know you will need to record it.
Keeping a food journal encourages awareness. In addition to writing what you ate and when, note how you felt before you ate that food. You might start to see a pattern, such as boredom or anger triggering a sugar binge, loneliness causing you to crave fats, etc. Awareness of our triggers is the first step to making healthier choices.
5. Move It to Lose It
You have probably heard it before, but it’s worth reminding you that consistent exercise is required for weight loss. Exercise burns fat and calories during the workout, and boosts the metabolism so you keep burning calories for hours after.
For the best results engage in vigorous interval-type workouts 4-5 days per week, and moderate movement 2-3 days. Include strength training at least twice a week.
6. Eat with Friends
Many of us sabotage the best weight loss efforts with emotional eating habits. Transform this by shifting the way you think about mealtime. Always eat sitting down at a table, never standing in your kitchen. Do not eat out of boredom or habit. Are you eating as you read this? Put the food down or step away from the computer.
And share as many of your meals as possible with friends and family. Make mealtime about connection, joy, and celebration. We tend to eat less when we are enjoying pleasurable company and conversation.
7. Get Plenty of Rest
When we do not get enough quality sleep, stress hormones are released into the blood stream to give us the energy to get through the day. This depresses the metabolism and digestive system, and raises triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, which can lead to weight gain. Sleep loss also increases appetite and fat storage.
8. Cultivate a New Understanding of Treating Yourself
Find sweetness in experiences that do not involve eating. Dancing, exercising, cuddling, and creating art all release some of the same brain chemicals as eating sugar and chocolate. Give yourself experiences that you enjoy as rewards, rather than food.
9. Enjoy the Long Road
Understand that loosing weight and keeping it off takes time. It is possible to go on a crash diet and loose several pounds quickly. But the jolt to your metabolism and endocrine system that kind of weight loss causes means that you will probably gain it all back – if not more.
Set healthy goals for your self. Loosing one to three pounds per week is a realistic goal for most people, if they eat mindfully and exercise frequently.
Measure your progress by how you feel, not just by numbers. A pound is 3,500 calories, and the average workout session only burns 200-600 calories at most. But these lifestyle shifts will make you feel better. You will probably feel healthier and happier inside before changes are obvious on the outside.
The truth is, there is no actual trick to sustainable weight loss. It takes time, effort, and a commitment to your health that is stronger than your need for immediate gratification. But with persistence and a lot of self-love, everyone can reach a healthy weight and maintain it.