Promises, a far better word than resolutions.
Promises are goals we keep with ourselves.
We stay focussed, committed yet flexible.
How are your resolutions (promises) going?
Did you make a promise to get healthier this year? To put you first? To shift some unwanted pounds?
Do you find yourself consuming what you believe are the right foods and yet your body isn't playing ball for your overall goal!
Are you carrying too much stress?
Are you getting good quality sleep?
All of the above and more can have a big impact not just on our health, but also on our body composition?
Today, I want to share with you a few simple tips you can implement for weight loss, and which also focus on improving your current habits.
1. Hydration Station!
One popular issue I see in clinic, poor hydration.
High intakes of tea/coffee/sodas/alchohol, water.....1 or 2 glasses.
Hydration is KEY when it comes to managing weight and maintaining those high energy levels throughout the day. Adequate hydration helps our body to filter toxins, a key step in the process of fat loss, a toxic body is an inflammatory body and an inflammatory body is dysfunctional on many levels. Good hydration promotes a healthy metabolism, improves cognitive function and helps to maintain blood sugar balance. Remember, your hunger may also be a sign of thirst. There are plenty of apps available to monitor your fluid intake and to even remind you to drink. GOAL: aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of fluid each day.
2. Eat On a Schedule
It's important that you aim to eat every 3-4 hours. This helps to prevent a significant decrease in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low, or fall rapidly (especially after consuming sweet foods), your body will trigger a hormonal cascade as it sends a message to the brain that it is in a dangerous situation and blood sugar levels need to be stabilised. This is when you're likely to reach for a chocolate bar or cookie, and so the cycle continues. By consuming the right foods every 3-4 hours, blood sugar levels remain regulated, energy levels maintained and bouts of afternoon fatigue, should become a thing of the past.
3. Digest and Rest
Your body needs 10-12 hours a day without food. It has to be placed in a fasted state in order that it can maintain and repair itself. If it is busy digesting food all the time, which is a labourious task, then it won't be able to do what it actually needs to. Even good quality whole foods cause our body to work hard as it breaks down food substances and digests. You want to leave a 10-12 hour gap between your last meal (dinner) and breakfast the next morning. Some people can go 14-16 hours, this is what we refer to as intermittent fasting. Studies show this can be extremely effective, especially if it works for you and your schedule.
4. Should I take a Multi-Vitamin?
I get asked this question alot. I always say, a multi-vitamin is like paying your body the minimum wage. Their purpose is to fill in any nutritional gaps, however, the amounts contained in multi's barely scratch the surface of the body's actual needs (lets not forget, everyone's needs are different). Nutrients should come, first and foremost, from consuming a diet of whole foods. Our body knows what to do with real food and nutrients. Our bodies require vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids to properly function, including keeping our metabolism moving along. Metablism that if slow and sluggish, may contrinute to weight gain. But if, humming along, may enhance weight loss. If you want guidance on what nutrients you should be taking, and assessment of your current nutrient status and where there may be deficiencies book in for a consultation with me.
5. Mighty Macros
Excluding an entire macronutrient group for a long period of time (i.e. protein, carbohydrates or fat) is not a good idea. Sure, modify timing and quantity of specific macronutrients and ensure good quality, but please don't remove an entire group.
Your body needs carbohydrates to function, it is it's main fuel source. Instead, think about the quality of the carbohydrates you are eating. Also, consume less carbohydrates when sedentary and increase carbohydrates around and after physical activity. Your body will use those nutrients to fuel a workout and repair your muscles whilst restoring glycogen levels afterwards. Try to eat carbohydrates (fruit/starchy veggies/grains/legumes) earlier in the day. Your body should use the energy and nutrients from these foods when you are moving about. When your body has burned through the majority of its carbohydrate storage, it will then move onto burning fat. By reducing your carbohydrates as the day progresses, will allow your body to burn an increased percentage of fat as you sleep.
6. Protein Power
Your weight goals will be a battle if you're not consuming a palm full of protein at each meal. It does not matter whether it is animal protein or plant protein, you just need to ensure that you get that protein in with each meal or snack. Space your protein throughout the day as it's hard on digestion and this will also provide a feeling of satiety.
7. STOP Calorie Counting
STOP counting every calorie! Do not worry about the grams of sugar, protein, carbs or fat in your snack. At least not until you've flipped the package over and read the ingredient list! Who cares if your food is full of protein, low fat, low carb and low sugar when it consists entirely of chemicals and words you do not recognize? These strange substances can be inflammatory to the body, illicit harmful effects and make it difficult to improve health, energy, and weight. Furthermore, they displace actual nutrients your body needs.
8. Sleep and Exercise
Sleep is something we all need but don't seem to prioritise. Studies have found that poor sleep is associated with weight gain. This is because, if the body doesn't get enough rest or feel rested, cortisol levels elevate which drives cravings for sugary foods as the body looks for energy in its sleep deprived state. Implement sleep hygiene habits: Reduce stress levels through mindfulness meditation or deep breathing. Do not consume caffeine or alcohol prior to bed (late evening), large meals or high fat foods. Switch off electronics at least 1 hour before bed. Pick up a book, journal or do guided mediation.
Exercise: Exercise is a crucial component to losing weight, if that’s your goal, as well as to staying healthy. But if you’re not sleeping enough, you may not have the energy to get moving.
If these tips feel overwhelming to you, try to implement 1-2 strategies every couple of weeks. Once those strategies become second nature, incorporate the next two. You may be incredibly surprised at what you can accomplish!
If you want a more tailored approach to your health, energy and weight goals - please contact me.