We all know that weight loss is only sustainable with a lifestyle change. Try to incorporate these tips into your daily habits, and watch the pounds melt away.
1. Weight vs. fat: know the difference!
Remember that while a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same, muscle takes up a lot less room in your clothes. Don’t be afraid to gain muscle weight. Adding more muscle will also raise your metabolism and keep your body-fat percentage low.
2. Throw out the scales.
Don’t be so attached to a number. Instead, measure your BMI and take measurements with measuring tape. Scales can often be deceiving. For example, if you are dehydrated, you may see the numbers drop, but you haven’t really lost any fat. Instead, base your success on measurements and how well your clothes fit.
3.Check progress weekly rather than daily.
Weekly check-ins provide a more accurate picture of your actual progress. If you check your weight or measurements daily, you may become discouraged at the lack of progress. Set weekly instead of daily weight-loss goals to keep on track.
4. Not all calories are created equal.
You will lose more weight if you eat three 70-calorie eggs instead of a candy bar, even if the calorie count is the same. The eggs will regulate insulin and not cause your blood sugar to spike. The extra protein will also help keep you feel full longer. The candy bar will do the exact opposite and can cause you to pack on the pounds. It’s not just calories in and calories out, it’s the kind of calories you put in and how your body processes them that helps you reach your weight-loss goals.
5. Understand the science of metabolism.
Realize that our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) are different when it comes down to the numbers. Your BMR is truly your metabolic rate if you just slept all day. Your RMR is your metabolic rate if you laid in bed, but ate meals, and had small activities like moving around your home. Calculating your RMR is probably a more realistic base platform when you’re trying to look at calories burned. Once you have this information, you can better calculate your total caloric loss when adding in exercise and meal plan information.
6. Apps can help you keep track of food intake.
Many apps help you manage your meal plans and exercise. These apps also help you network with other people and create accountability. My personal favorite is myfitnesspal, simply due to its ease of use. Also, the fact that you can scan the UPC codes of items that you are eating to automatically pull them up is quite handy. However, there are many apps out there. Just find one that works best for you, and use it as a tool to manage your diet.
7. Buddy up!
Having someone else keep you on track is key. It can be a trainer, family, or friends. Just knowing that someone else is going to ask you about your meal plan or exercise goals often helps you to resist temptations and procrastination. Even better, having a workout partner who will meet and work out with you will further ensure success.
8. Intensity matters more than time.
Slogging away on that treadmill for an hour at an easy walk may not be your best option for losing weight. One study found that obesity odds decreased by 5% for women and 2% for men for every additional minute of high-intensity exertion.
9. Eat whole foods over processed food.
Your body understands the chemistry of real food and utilizes it much better. However, when you add processed foods into the mix, you usually are adding more sugar, sodium, chemicals, and refined carbohydrates. Keep your diet to whole, unprocessed foods, and you should see a huge difference in your waistline.
10. Reduce your sugar intake.
Eating too much sugar impacts upon your insulin levels. Insulin unlocks your cells to allow sugar to enter. However, if more sugar enters your cells than is needed, the excess energy accumulates as fat.
11. Don’t drink your calories.
Carbonated beverages are often loaded with sugar. Those “empty” calories can add up quickly, without giving you the satisfaction of being full.
12. Don’t neglect weight training.
Adding muscle, through activities such as weight training, increases your metabolism and fights fat. Lifting weights also helps to strengthen your bones, improve balance, and regulate your blood sugar.
13. Remember small habits, and small plates, add up.
Smaller plates often equal smaller portion sizes, thus reducing your daily caloric intake. Try swapping out your regular dinner plates for a smaller design.
14. Get plenty of sleep.
If you don’t feel rested, you may be tempted to turn to sugary snacks to get your through the day. There is a strong connection between sleeping disorders and weight gain. So make sure to turn in at a decent time and make sleep a priority if you are trying to drop pounds.
15. Reduce stress.
During stressful periods, many people turn to food to help them cope. Try to use other forms of stress reduction, such as exercise or meditation, to help you manage life’s difficulties.
16. Always have healthy snacks available.
If “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” this could not be more true than in the case of diet regulation. Not having healthy snacks around can certainly cause the pounds to pile on. Most refined foods also have that extra perk of being convenient: you just open a box or bag. Plan ahead and have healthy snacks available to reach for instead of junk food when you don’t feel like putting energy into food prep.
17. Reduce how often you eat out, and eat at home more.
Average American households spend 40% of their food budget on eating out. One study found that each meal or snack eaten outside of the home increases the caloric intake by 134 calories. While it is possible to eat out and stay healthy, most people do not choose healthy foods when they eat their meals outside of the home.
18. Allow yourself a cheat day.
If you feel constantly deprived, you may give up on your goals. It’s OK to cheat every now and then if it helps you stick to your healthy lifestyle for the long term. Moderation is key.
19. Reward yourself with activities or clothes instead of food.
While you may have grown up getting ice cream as a reward, you can move away from that now. Instead, get a pedicure, buy yourself a present, or go out with friends. You don’t have to add extra calories to your day to celebrate.
20. Cut out commercials; they make you want junk food.
Time in front of the TV usually doesn’t include a lot of calorie burning, unless you put it in front of a treadmill or are doing an exercise video. Food commercials are everywhere, and they are designed to make you want to eat. If you limit your TV time, you will find your snacking will often be limited along with it.
21. Don’t have junk food accessible.
If it’s not in your house, it takes a lot more effort to go get it. Clean out your cupboard, fridge, and freezer of all the foods that will sabotage your weight-loss goals.
22. Don’t be afraid of healthy fat.
Contrary to the low-fat movements of the past, healthy fats do not cause weight gain. Don’t be afraid to eat coconuts, avocados, or nuts. Eating whole, natural foods in their raw form will help fill you up without adding on the pounds.
23. Have heart-to-hearts with your saboteurs.
Do you have that friend who brings you donuts on a bad day? Does you spouse bring a potato chip bag to bed? Get them on board with your weight-loss goals, and tell them to bring you an apple instead.
24. Write down your goals.
Sometimes, just the act of writing down your goals helps you maintain them. Make sure to put your goals in a place where you can see them every day. It will help you stay committed during the weight-loss journey.
25. Stay hydrated.
Often, our body will send signals that we are hungry when we are actually dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel less hungry throughout the day. If you do get hit with a snack attack, try drinking a large glass of water first and waiting about 30 minutes. You may find all your body needed was a little hydration.
Featured photo credit: Siora Photography via unsplash.com