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4 Healthy Ways to Lose Your Excess Weight Without Losing Your Mind

4 Healthy Ways to Lose Your Excess Weight Without Losing Your Mind

Take a step down any magazine aisle or bookstore and one of the first things you will notice is a wealth of literature containing weight loss tips and tricks. For the past few decades, Americans have become obsessed with trying to find the newest and most effective fast track to weight loss; be it a super food, magic pill, a sweat-inducing workout video or even surgery. However, everyone’s body is different.

How many different ways can there really be to “melt fat” and attain the physique we desire? Forget everything you thought you knew and learn the truth behind what’s hindering us from realizing our goals.

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1. Clearly outline your lifestyle change so that you can accurately track and monitor your compliance.

If we don’t set rules and guidelines, it will prove difficult to stay committed to a plan for more than a few days or so. This causes constant “failures” which can be discouraging and lead to abandoning the regimen altogether. Know what foods you will allow yourself to eat freely, regularly, moderately, and sparingly.

We’ve all heard it before, but it’s worth repeating; don’t quit your favorite foods cold turkey. By allowing yourself a “cheat meal” or two throughout the week, not only are you satiating your craving,s but the occasional curve ball to your metabolism can actually contribute to more optimal function

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2. Know the right foods to eat and which to eliminate.

Don’t fall for fad diets or any other weight loss plan that aren’t sustainable. Even if you are lucky enough to lose a few pounds, you will likely gain them back once you inevitably succumb to temptation. Recent research is finding multiple flaws in conventional thinking revealing that fat is not the enemy and that carbohydrates really are the biggest contributor to obesity and other health conditions. Fat does not store in the body as fat, it actually metabolizes relatively easily. Carbohydrates however; cannot be broken down by the body to be used as fuel readily. Your body must produce insulin in order to convert those carbs into glucose (sugar) for energy, but when our body cannot burn the sugar quickly enough, it stores them for later use. The problem is, when it is stored it doesn’t make us feel full, so we typically eat again and again constantly storing more and more as fat while burning less and less. This is more evident when we eat Chinese food and feel hungry 30 minutes later.

This spike in our blood sugar level leads to overproduction of insulin and more fat being stored. This perpetual cycle not only causes weight gain, but also creates insulin resistance; our cell’s resistance to storing glucose. Our bodies respond to this by producing more insulin to combat this resistance, often causing type 2 diabetes. Limit your carbs, especially those higher on the glycemic index. Be wary of foods labeled as “fat free” because fat free often means it may be rich in carbs and/or sugars which turn into fat in our bodies.The best way to feel full quicker and to stay full longer is to balance each and every meal. Try to include a fat, protein, dairy, fiber rich whole grains (not whole wheat) and as much “color” (fruits and vegetables) as you wish.

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By adding all of these foods to every meal, we feel full quicker. Our stomachs tell our brain we are full either when we have eaten a lot of calories, or when we eat a large volume of food. When we eat a lot of calories, we become full with less food in our stomach. This is great for reducing hunger pains quickly, but because there is little food to process, just empty calories, we’ll be going back for more before long. When we actually fill our stomachs with food by eating lower calorie or higher nutritionally dense foods such as vegetables, berries, nuts, and proteins, we will sustain that fullness for a longer time.

3. Learn to accept fat

Limit carbs everything else becomes common sense. By reading nutrition labels for sugar and carbohydrate content, our decisions can be made much simpler. The surest way to lose weight and enhance your health is to eat as raw as possible. The more processed a food is, the more expensive and unhealthy it usually becomes.

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Shop primarily from the perimeter of a grocery store, those are the perishable items which typically means fresher and less processed. This way, we are stocking our kitchen with the best our grocery stores have to offer and ridding our freezers and pantries of processed packaged meals.

4. Finally, remember that you are human

We all make mistakes and occasionally relax our standards to some degree. If you cheat, listen to your inner New Yorker and forget about it. Remember how you great you felt the day before and move on. The war is won over the long term and a few slips here and there won’t sabotage your agenda unless you allow it to and give up.

Losing weight can feel out of reach for many of us, but if we invest some consideration, accountability and abandon hopes of a miracle pill, it can be within reach. By utilizing some of the advice within this article paired with common sense – a slimmer waistline may be  just one good call away.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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