You’ve been watching what you eat for weeks, but you can’t seem to get the scale to budge.
To rev up your metabolism and get the process started of losing weight, you might want to take a better look at what you’re putting in your mouth.
But it’s not all about the food.
Let’s dive in and help you shed those unwanted pounds…shall we?
It’s time to get clean
While we’ve all been told to check the labels, foods that require labels are processed, and processed foods can be poison to a diet plan. While low-fat granola bars and fuel-packed protein bars might have their place in an emergency (like hiking the Appalachian Trail, where there’s not a salad bar in sight), in the real world eating “clean” is the way to go.
That means eating foods as close to their natural state as possible is the best for losing weight – fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats and healthy fats. Keep the empty calories of processed foods out of the shopping cart. Instead, opt for foods in their natural state and not in a wrapper.
Get Off the Couch
Are you a couch potato, crashing after a day of work with a marathon session of your favorite TV show rather than a walk around the block?
The key to successful weight loss is torching more calories than you take in, so couch potatoes will have a tougher time dropping pounds.That’s not to say you need to channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger…hmmm, bad example, to successfully lose weight. You just need to recognize that exercise is a great way to burn extra calories and will help you have a better shot at seeing the numbers on the scale drop.
Take a walk, head to the park for a game of Frisbee or revisit your childhood and tune up that bike so you can hit the road for a burst of cardio your body will appreciate. The biggest perk is that the added activity will likely lead you to try new forms of exercise, and could inspire you to hit the gym to bust some weightlifting moves that will give your metabolism an added boost.
Keep Your Cool
Living on the edge with high stress levels and a constant anxiety can wreak havoc on even the best of diets and your process of losing weight.
Stress results in a flood of cortisol rushing through your system, an age-old response that began in the cave man era, when our bodies warned us of life-threatening dangers with the flight-or-flight response we now know as stress. The thing is, we now see rush-hour traffic and cranky co-workers in the same way as deadly cougar attacks, and we’re not fleeing the scene to reap the benefits of the response.
Those elevated cortisol levels lead to attacks on muscles, reduced insulin resistance, and the storage of unwanted fat (just in case that cougar blocks our path to the grocery store for a few weeks).
Time Your Meals
An effective way to build the healthy eating habit is to time your meals. Predetermined the day before exactly what time you will be eating. Schedule them roughly four hours apart. So for example; 8am, noon, 4pm, and 8pm would be your meal times for the day. This will keep you metabolism running high, blood sugar stable so your body can stay primed for buying stored fat as fuel, and satisfied to stave off any cravings. Prepare meals ahead of time so that you are ready to roll.
Dieting is Outdated
Really what it all comes down to is lifestyle changes — and seeing a healthy lifestyle as a choice that makes living an adventure.
If you eat right, you have the energy to head to the hills for a hike, hop on the mountain bike and tackle that challenging new trail or take the dog for a walk around a bigger block. And that opens the door for the life you want to live, not a life you only have the energy to dream about.
It’s just a matter of making slow, easy-to-manage changes that reflect a new found attention to a healthy way of living, like trading water for soda or a more nutrient-packed veggie place of mashed potatoes.
(Photo credit: Mature Woman on Scale via Shutterstock)