Weight loss and weight management may be easier than you think. I’m going to share 5 habits that are sustainable and so easy for most people to stick to. These are weight management secrets you should know.
The key to maintaining any habit is consistency so as I do every time I talk about change, I must mention the mental component. The caveat here is that you must be willing to change. What might make it easier for you to commit is that these don’t rely on willpower. These secrets focus on making a single change that once done, makes keeping the weight off easier. They won’t give you a Jillian Michaels 6-pack abs but will keep most women’s stomachs flat. They won’t make you rail-thin but will help most women maintain a healthy weight. In a nutshell, it’s about following a healthy weight management approach you can stick to.
So, drumroll, please… here are my top 5 sustainable secrets to managing your weight for life:
1. Source your foods better
Our soil has become dirt poor so the foods we’re eating are much lower in nutrients than they were 50 years ago. Because we’re not getting the nutrients from a tomato that we should, our bodies are starved and wants to eat more. Another way our food supply has changed for the worse is with the convenience and affordability of processed foods. They’ve become our primary food source (boxed cereals, donuts, TV dinners) and they suck nutritionally. To lengthen their shelf lives, preservatives and addictive ingredients have been added to processed foods.
For more nutritious more satisfying produce, shop Farmers Markets, join community garden programs and sign up for farm-to-consumer delivery services. Because convenience is still important, get into the food prep game. By making and storing ingredients ahead of time, you can prepare most meals in 5 minutes or less. Just by focusing on your food source, you can eliminate a lot of your food drama.
2. Periodically do a special diet/fast
I’m all for routinely doing juice fasts and healthy restrictive eating. I think our bodies and digestion benefit from them and when we do regularly for a very short period, they are safe. How often? I recommend a period of 2-3 days about once every month. You can do a liquid diet, eat vegetarian, go clean for a weekend, or do a similar plan. Whatever you do, you must routinely follow it. For my “clean” plan, I cut out sugar, wine, dairy, and grains. If I’m feeling a little backed up, I’ll do smoothies/juices only. Restrictive eating plans will clear out your plumbing, can help you shed 1-2 pounds each time and create food discipline. Compared to dieting once a year to drop 10 pounds, this approach is more dependable and less stressful.
3. Drink water all the time
We live in a distracted time and unless we remind ourselves, use apps or other aids, drinking water can be a hard habit to stick to. So don’t rely on yourself to drink more water. Use these drink up tips and find ways to make drinking water all the time easier for you. It is one of the best weight management secrets:
- Drinking enough water help you have regular bowel movements.
- It helps the body better absorb and transport nutrients.
- Drinking water all the time helps to suppress your appetite.
- It helps to uplift your mood leading to less emotional eating.
4. Do simple exercises every day
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. What both these groups have in common is that they do more walking. People without cars rack up more hours of incidental exercise because they walk, use public transportation and bicycles to get around.
I learned how helpful it was to walk more when I once went on vacation and lost 6 pounds. On vacation, I was out every day going to museums and taking in the sights. Before that, I was barely getting in 10 minutes of walking a day. My vacation lesson was to make more of an effort when I got home, which I did. By just getting off one subway stop earlier, taking the stairs at work more and making other small efforts to walk more, the weight stayed off.
Another consistency tip is to do a little something every day. The fitness industry recommends that we exercise 3x a week but I find that for most people, exercise consistency is easier if they do a little something every day. A former client of mine keeps the weight off with incidental walking and a daily 10-minute routine. I walk for about 30 minutes a day and do a spin class 2x a week. You can create a sustainable keep-fit plan that is centered around walking.
5. Get adequate 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 learned (the hard way) that when we don’t get enough sleep, we have less self-control and interest 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. Take sleep, for example, it’s about working out any sleep issues you have and getting into the habit of 7-8 hours sleep a night. Once you do, you’ll find you have more self-control and fewer food cravings. If you find yourself resisting these changes (it happens!), keep in mind that we usually have to give up something to get something better.