When it comes to weight loss, we all know what we should be doing but we don’t really like following it. For instance, there’s been labels on our foods for a long time, yet how many of us actually read the macro count, and make sure we follow the recommended 2000 calorie recommendations? What makes it hard is no one wants to spend their days counting macros and weighing their food out. And for the most part, unless you’re a bodybuilder or trying to get to sub 10% bodyfat, it isn’t really needed. You can very much reach as low as 10/11% body fat without having to track every gram of protein, carbs, and fats you eat.
Here are my five suggestions for streamlining weight loss and keeping the rules very simple.
Drink More Water
People mistake thirst and dehydration for being hungry. The next time you think you’re hungry try drinking 20 ounces first, and waiting 20 minutes, and see if you are still hungry. You might be surprised to see how not hungry you actually are. People also spend too much of their liquid intake leaning towards sugary or flavored drinks. Obviously eliminating any high sugar drinks alone is going to play a big factor in weight loss. I’ve had clients drop the weight they wanted simply doing that! But even the sugar free drinks can be bad for you. People make the excuse that because their drink no longer has calories that means you can eat more food. The other benefit of drinking lots of water is it’ll keep your skin hydrated. Clients mention looking younger the moment they pay attention to their water intake and drink more than they thought.
Change HOW you eat
I’ll admit it. I become a robot if I try eating while watching tv or on my phone. I don’t even realize how much I was consuming. Even with high quality foods. If it’s chips, forget it. I’ll clear a bag without even thinking. How we eat can become so mindless. We need to spend more time paying attention to our satiety and how our body is responding. Don’t worry about measuring or weighing the food. Just be present. How do you react to certain foods? How about a whole meal? Have you ever tried seeing how you feel after a pizza vs after some salmon and rice?
Even pay attention to how often you are onto the next bite before you even finish eating the first one. Try using a smaller plate if you find you overeat and need help controlling it.
Add Protein and Veggies
When working with clients I try to give them an INCLUSION diet. We’re so quick in the fitness industry to tell people what NOT to eat. The problem with that is the moment you take something away from someone it’s all they think about. Instead try adding protein and vegetables. It changes your mindset towards the diet, and ideally, it’ll get you eating less of the processed crap because of how satiating it is. You get the high volume and minerals from the vegetables without the calorie load, and the satiety from protein. Protein uses 30% of its calories just to break down. Fat nor carbs do that.
These are probably the two most grossly under consumed foods as well. You need more protein not just for building muscle, but nearly every enzymatic process in the body requires it to function optimally. The fiber from veggies will help the bacteria in the gut and the good flora thrive.
Improving the Quality of Your Sleep
Research shows not getting enough sleep caused people to consume an extra 300 calories a day! Think about that. You could be totally on point with your workouts and nutrition, and simply not getting enough sleep could cause cortisol spikes, and the hunger hormone ghrelin to be out of whack, causing you to crave more food. The reason ghrelin increases your hunger is evolutionarily, we were born to survive. If you weren’t getting enough sleep it was because you were still searching for food. So the hormone responds to help you keep searching.
There is also the common myth of not eating past 6 or you’ll gain fat. Now scientifically speaking, there is no difference eating past 6. But we’re humans and we’re emotional. We are tired at the end of the day and nutritionally speaking, no good decisions are made past 6. Think about all the foods you tend to eat at that time. Beer, pizza, really any quick and easy to eat food that doesn’t involve cooking from scratch. On top of that, we go right to bed or sit around watching TV. We aren’t exactly doing energy expending activities to burn off that whole pizza we just ate. I don’t think I’ve ever had a client whose meal plan looked great at night. It’s everyone’s biggest weakness.
Create a routine for yourself leading up to bed. Biggest thing to note is we want at least 3 hours from whenever we are going to bed to allow our bodies enough time to digest and break down our last meal. So let that be the guideline for when you should consume your last meal.
Eliminating Processed Foods
Chips, bars, anything in a box. They are very palatable, and very easy to eat the whole box. This is the problem. You can easily eat a bag of chips just watching TV. A bag of chips is equal to 5 potatoes. Trying eating 5 potatoes though. You’d probably get sick of it. Also, the chips are loaded up with fats to make it tastier so it’s twice as many calories as the 5 potatoes. That’s why extreme diets like the potato diet got so popular. It was to show people eating whole foods will increase satiety. But more importantly, it teaches you what true hunger feels like. The simple fact that you wouldn’t be able to eat those five potatoes without feeling full proves that.
It goes back to rule number 2. Being more aware of what you’re eating and the effect they have on your body will take you much farther on your journey in terms of knowing what and how to eat long term. By following these approaches and slowly adding them into your life you will find the body fat comes off a lot easier than worrying about every gram of carb you eat. Your body will reset to a body fat and weight that’s more appropriate, and your energy will most likely increase as well.