The average dieter spends years counting calories and worrying about what they should and shouldn’t eat. Some spend decades feeling bad about their bodies and have a difficult time keeping the weight off. But no part of living your best life should include poor body image and food obsessions.
So, let’s look at how can we change that. The first thing to keep in mind is that…
Habits are everything!
We know that, for the most part, the body we have is the result of how we live—what we eat and how often we move. For most people then, the answer to losing and keeping the weight off is to change their lifestyle. But if you’re most people you’re used to reading “10 tips to lose weight” articles and have developed a “quick” results mindset. The diet industry has brainwashed you into thinking that losing weight should be easy and you shouldn’t have to give up anything.
But if you want permanent change, you have to change how you live. You have to change the habits that are making you fat and that means giving up something. Whether you’re consuming too many sugary foods and sodas, eating a lot of empty calories on the go, stress eating, rarely exercising or doing any number of things that are making you fat, you’ll have to change it. If you don’t, there is a 100% chance that you will gain back the weight you lose.
Changing our behaviors doesn’t have to be scary or hard. You don’t have to fear change and I believe, you should be running toward it!! Okay, I am a personal development ambassador so that’s easy for me to say. I’ve seen firsthand though that giving up the resistance to change brought people the happiness that eluded them. Change, I know, is what will give you the body and confidence you want.
Here then are my three simple tips to lose and keep the weight off. Notice I said “simple,” not easy. To paraphrase a popular quote: I didn’t say it would be easy. I said it would be worth it!
IT WILL BE WORTH IT, I SWEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. Put the focus on nutrition
When your goal is to lose 10, 20, 100 pounds, losing that set number of pounds IS your focus. Put the focus on nutrition instead and day by day, habit by habit, you’ll get healthier and leaner.
Eating nutritiously doesn’t mean you can NEVER have McDonald’s fries. What it means is that you rarely will think about McDonald’s fries when you associate them with lower nutrients. You will look for substitutes like tasty sweet potato fries instead and your taste buds will change to prefer them to McDonald’s fries. You will begin to include food prep into your weekly schedule and learn to balance convenience, taste, and nutrition. Basically, you will start to adopt healthy eating habits and start thinking like a nutritionist when you focus on nutrition.
Eat like this…
- 20% healthy naturally-sourced fats like the fats you get from extra virgin olive oil, avocado, salmon, and eggs.
- 40% lean proteins, including proteins from non-animal sources.
- 40% healthy carbs from grains and plant-based foods. Nix most bread and definitely white bread.
Adopt helpful nutrition tips:
- Learn to use herbs, spices, ethnic seasonings, and other tricks to make real food tasty and satisfying.
- Keep processed foods out of your kitchen. Out of sight out of mind.
- Always have several quick delicious and healthy treats like apple and almond butter handy.
- Follow nutritionists and healthy people on social media who you can relate to.
- Keep at it! When you slip up, don’t be hard on yourself. Just do better tomorrow.
- Learn your food triggers and plan for them. Common ones are loneliness, stress, skipping meals and not having nutritious foods on hand.
2. Time your meals right
Your body has an internal clock and when you work with it, everything, including your metabolism works better. Exactly what time you should eat isn’t clear or the same for everyone but this is what we know:
- Studies have shown that people who eat lunch after 3 p.m. found it harder to lose weight.
- They’ve also found that those who don’t eat breakfast experience more food cravings.
- Weight loss experts recommend we eat some type of breakfast about an hour after getting up and have lunch about 3.5 to 4 hours later.
- We know that a longer overnight fast increases fat loss because the body has time to reach a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body has used up stored carbs and starts using fat for energy instead. This means your last meal of the day should be at least 2.5 hours before bed (longer if you have digestive complaints).
- Eating at regular intervals and at the same time every day manages blood sugar and keeps metabolism sharp.
To time your meals right, follow some sort of eating timetable and stick with it. If we were to put these food timing tips together here’s what the schedule of my 4-meal a day plan and a 6-small-meals a day plan might look like.
Me: I get up at 7 and go to bed at 11. The 4-meals a day plan works perfectly for my lifestyle in many ways.
- 8 am Breakfast
- 12 pm Lunch
- 4 pm Small healthy snack
- 8 pm Dinner
You: The following uses the 6x a day plan. If you’re like most people however and eat 3x a day, your intervals might be 4.5 hours between breakfast and lunch and 5.5 hours between lunch and dinner.
- 7:30 am Small breakfast
- 10 am Small meal
- 12:30 pm Small meal
- 3 pm Small meal
- 5:30 pm Small meal
- 8 pm Small dinner
3. Move more (at least 3 miles a day)
Department of Health and Human Services used to recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week but that is now considered inadequate. Due to our ultra-convenient lifestyle, we now have a parking spot by the door, shop online, and rarely need to move a muscle if we don’t want to. That’s why the new recommendation is at least 3 miles a day.
When it comes to exercise, one new habit is what everyone should be focused on: walking more! Walking is the easiest way for nearly everyone to consistently get in the exercise we need. Get an app, Fitbit or another tracker to track how many steps you take per day and aim to walk a minimum of 3 miles.
Walking habits to get you into the routine
- Walk after meals, especially lunch and dinner. This aids digestion too.
- When you can, park further away from your destination.
- Shop in stores more often. Do less online shopping or keep to when you really need it.
- Work it in at work. Go to see a co-worker instead of sending an email, take the stairs when you’re doing 1-3 flights, book the walking desk for an hour a week and make more opportunities to walk.
- Aim to do all three of these weight loss habits, but focus on perfecting only one a time.
- Start with the easiest or most foundational habit. In this case, it would be timing your meals right.
- Next, work on the habit that’s easier for you to master. So, if you’ve failed at diets a lot, make exercise your next focus.
- Consider coaching.
Now that you have a more simplified plan, I hope you feel more confident that you can do this. Of course, you can! You can definitely learn to eat nutritiously, time your meals right and move more.
Can coaching help you?
One of the first things I suggested you do is to lose the “quick results” mindset. But it’s not the only unhealthy belief that drives our poor choices. In the past, you might have been on diets or health improvement plans, right? Do you remember what happened to throw you off your game? Do you remember why you stopped? I don’t believe that we’re “damaged” and need fixing but all of us based on old thought patterns, false or limiting beliefs and unconscious triggers are operating on an unseen level that we can’t see. Getting to know ourselves is a big part of the change process and it’s why most people (not all), do better with coaching. Coaching is how someone looks in from the outside to see what you’re too close to see.
This is a good and simplified guide that most people would benefit from following but if you need support and don’t have it or if you have too many blind spots and triggers that cause you to give up and think you can’t accomplish a reasonable goal like this one, consider coaching.
Losing weight is, on the face of it, an exterior goal but it often requires an internal transformation too. The trick is for you to be aware so you can spot the signs.
Take care of yourself.