Seven simple steps to help you lose weight and make permanent healthy lifestyle changes.
Skip the Sugar and Get More Sleep
The next time you’re sitting in front of the TV and your sweet tooth kicks in, try getting some shut-eye instead. Chances are your body is craving sugar because it is looking for a cheap and easy energy source. More than likely, you aren’t actually hungry but, rather, you are tired. Go to bed and thank me in the morning. You have nothing to lose other than a few hundred empty calories.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
This one is pretty self-explanatory but when you drink your calories they don’t register in your system like food. As a result, it takes a lot more to feel satisfied and you wind up consuming more calories than you realize. I’m looking at you, Caramel Macchiato.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables with Every Meal:
We are usually pretty good about grabbing a salad for lunch or serving green beans with dinner but I challenge you to incorporate fruits or vegetable (or both!) into every meal and snack. They are low calorie, packed with vitamins and full of fiber which takes your body longer to digest thus helping you feel fuller, longer. Additionally, when you’re eating a fruit or vegetable you’re not eating processed white flour so the more they are part of your diet, the less room will be available for empty carbs. Added bonus: try to eat the rainbow every day including dark, leafy greens and vibrant berries
Don’t Be Afraid Speak Up:
No one is going to worry about your health more than you. That being said, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. If you’re dining out, don’t be embarrassed to ask for a healthier substitution or modification. After 10+ years in the hospitality business I can assure you, restaurants aim to please and these special requests give them the opportunity to “wow” you. Similarly, if you typically meet your friends for drinks or have them over for pizza nights try switching it up. Suggest a non-food activity such as trying out a new kickboxing class together or going for a walk. Instead of going out to eat, get together in the kitchen and cook a healthy meal together. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to speak up. Likely, they will be glad you did.
Quality over Quantity:
Deprivation is the surest way to guarantee failure. I love authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, crusty whole grain bread and rich, dark chocolate. By choosing high quality ingredients instead of their cheaper counterparts, you can get away with using less. It takes just a teaspoon or two of a grassy, extra-virgin olive oil to give any dish a decadent flavor vs. a lower quality oil that doesn’t provide the same mouthfeel and richness.
Increase Water Consumption:
For one day, keep track of how much water you consume. The next day, drink 8 ounces more than that. Everyone requires a different amount of water so most experts suggest using potty breaks as a guideline. I hate to say this but the goal is light yellow urine. I’m sorry that you had to read the word urine on a food blog (twice!) but it’s the only way to be sure you’re consuming enough fluids. Water is vital for your body to work properly and drinking enough of it helps ensure that you are eating out of hunger, not thirst. Plus, it keeps your mouth busy throughout the day. If you have trouble drinking plain water, try throwing in lemon slices, cucumber or orange wedges. My family teases me because I literally never leave the house without my Camelbak. Even my two year old has one!
The Apple Test:
The next time you reach for a snack, ask yourself this: “Does an apple sound good right now?” If it doesn’t, chances are you are eating out of boredom (or loneliness or sadness), not hunger. To be clear, I am a HUGE fan of snacking. In fact, I wrote an entire post about snacking! However, I believe that when we tune into our body and listen to the signals we will discover that we often eat out of habit, not actual hunger. By simply listening to our body we can easily cut out several hundred calories a day without actually doing anything.
Giant Disclaimer: I am not a health professional or a doctor. This is not intended to be medical advice or a guarantee that you will lose 50 pounds by spring break. I am simply sharing what has worked for me in the past during my personal weight loss journey in hopes that it can help you reach your healthy living goals.