Are we complicating our weight management efforts? I definitely think so, especially if you’re focusing on short-term gimmicks. By developing habits that are sustainable and that go to the root of our weight problem, I believe most people will be able to wave goodbye to the drama. These 5 weight management secrets are the type of habits I’m talking about.
As you’ll see, these strategies won’t require you to have willpower but they do require a long-term commitment. These strategies won’t give you Jillian Michaels’ 6-pack abs but they will help to keep most women’s stomachs flat. They won’t make you rail-thin but they will help most women maintain a healthy weight. Use them as part of a healthy weight management plan that goes to the root of our weight problem.
1. Source your foods better
Talk about getting to the root of our problem! The soil used in modern farming has become dirt poor, and as a result, the foods we’re eating are much lower in nutrients than they were 50 years ago. They’re lower in nutrients and often tasteless, which might explain part of the appeal of processed foods. But they’re not the answer. The last few decades of eating them have shown us that. Processed foods may be convenient and more affordable, but they make us want to eat more. They also leave our bodies starving for nutrients they desperately need. They make us feel tired and grumpy all the time.
For more nutritious more satisfying produce, shop Farmers Markets, join community garden programs and sign up for farm-to-consumer food delivery services. Just by focusing on your food source, you can eliminate a lot of your food drama. For taste, get the right flavors, spices, and tools and for convenience, get into the food prep game.
2. Periodically do a fast or restrictive eating
I’m a huge fan of juice fasts and healthy restrictive eating. I believe that our bodies and digestion benefit from them and when we do them regularly, for short periods, they’re perfectly safe. About once a month, I do restrictive eating for 2-3 days, which means I eat “clean.” I cut out sugar, wine, dairy, and grains and eat really simple foods. Annually and when I’m feeling a little backed up, I’ll go beyond clean eating and to a juice-only or green-smoothie-only fast. Restrictive eating plans will clear out your plumbing and can help you shed 1-2 pounds each time. What it really does (for me anyway) is to help create food discipline.
Instead of dieting once a year to drop 10 pounds, with this approach you’re doing 12 mini restrictive eating plans for the year. It’s a much more reliable, less stressful approach to maintaining your weight, and it’s also helpful to your digestion.
3. Drink water all the time
If you find strategies to remind yourself to drink water and to make it enjoyable, you’ll have a great weight management tool on tap. You may have to use apps or other aids to help you make the habit stick to, but it’s worth the effort. Use these drink up tips and find ways to make drinking water all the time easier for you to get into.
Here’s why it works:
- Drinking enough water help you to have regular bowel movements.
- Water helps the body better absorb and transport nutrients.
- Drinking water all the time helps to suppress your appetite.
- Being hydrated helps to uplift your mood leading to less emotional eating.
4. Do simple exercises every day
People without cars rack up more hours of incidental exercise because they walk, use public transportation and bicycles to get around. The proof is that in major cities like New York City where most residents don’t have cars, people are naturally skinny. And in cultures like Japan, they don’t have an obesity problem. Fitting in more walking into your day is one simple exercise everyone can do.
Once, while I was on vacation, I learned this lesson and never forgot it. I lost 6 pounds over the 10 days I was away and it’s mainly because I was out every day walking from one tourist spot to the next. Before that, when I was home, I was barely getting in 10 minutes of walking a day. So after my vacation I began to make more of an effort to fit in walking. By just getting off one subway stop earlier, taking the stairs at work more and making other small changes, I was walking more. And yes, the weight stayed off.
You can create a sustainable keep-fit plan that is centered around walking by first mapping out some walking opportunities you can easily take advantage of.
5. Get enough sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep or feeling refreshed when you wake up, it’s hard to stick to healthy habits. Last year when I was doing my unofficial sleep study, I discovered that my 6-hour a night sleep schedule was doing me no favors. It threw off my hormones and I gained a lot of weight. I also learned (the hard way) that when we don’t get enough sleep, we have less self-control and we’ll be less interested in exercise. And as reported by the National Institute of Health, there is research linking sleep deprivation to weight gain.
Although it will take time, awareness and a mental shift to add these weight management habits to your lifestyle, it won’t always be a struggle. It’s the rare person who can “get” a new habit right away. It’s natural to start strong and then want to give up or forget. The trick is having the commitment to whatever strategy or combination of strategies you choose. If you find yourself resisting these changes (it happens!), remind yourself that we usually have to give up something to get something better.
Know this: Consistency is mostly a mental thing. You already have it in you to do anything you set your mind to. Anything!
Christine is a Life Strategist living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and personalized methods, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for more joy and greater productivity.