Aiming to lose weight, we often jump into short term radical diets all at once. Although it might work for some people, the common feedback is a quick weight loss followed by a quick weight gain, also known as a yo-yo effect. One thing that many don’t realize is that when you put back the weight you lost, you might actually have increased your fat mass. This happens because if you restrict too much calories, your body will not just burn fat, but also use your muscles as fuel, and when you gain weight back quickly, you gain it in the form of fat, so at the end your weight is the same as before, however your lean mass has decreased and your fat mass increased.
Little changes in your lifestyle and smart choices can have a powerful effect on your weight loss, and also work as a preparation phase to implementing long term lifestyle changes further on.
- Introduce healthy foods before eliminating unhealthy ones–at the beginning, instead of restricting your diet with foods that you love but know it is not helping, like that ice cream or burgers, start to introduce healthy foods first. Replenishes your body with nutrients, slowly change your taste and them you start to lose the interest or desperate need to unhealthy foods. Much easier!
- Juice vegetables–Since the fiber is removed by the juicing process, it is possible to ingest a much bigger amount of food compared to what you would eat if you have to chew it. Consequently a tremendous amount of nutrients and phytochemicals is quickly delivered to your body, which is essential to all your body functions, promoting repair, hormone balance and energy boost. This is an easy way to inject nutrition into your diet while you are still working to swap unhealthy foods to better choices. Beware of juicing fruits; the sugar content is too high and despite the good amount of micro-nutrients and phytochemicals, it can be harmful to your health. If needed, use a maximum of one apple to sweeten your green veggie juice. Choose cucumber and /or celery as a base, and add green leaves such as lettuce, spinach and kale. You can also spice it up using herbs and spices such as mint and ginger. By well nourishing your body, you feel less hungry and tend to decrease cravings, so that unhealthy snacking habit along the day or sweet tooth evening craving tend to disappear, facilitating weight loss.
- Choose a physical activity that you like –if you choose something that you like, the chances that you will stick to the new activity are higher, avoid relapse after a short period of time and consequently gaining back the weight you lost. In addition, when you exercise, you release endorphins, a “feeling good” brain chemical, which reduces stress and is also a natural antidepressant. At the end you not just burn calories and strength your health, but you feel emotionally good about it.
- Sleep –what could be more effortless than sleep for weight loss? The effect of a good night of sleep is often underestimated considering weight loss, but in fact it is an essential element. When you sleep well and during enough hours for night (most of people need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night), your body is replenished, allowing hormonal balance to take place, consequently you feel generally better and less prone to be hungry all the time. Lack of sleep increases your body’s cravings for high carb and high energy foods, because a poor sleep disrupts hormones such as ghrelin an leptin, that are respectively responsible to tell your brain when it is time to eat and when it is time to stop. Remember that exercising helps you to better quality of sleep, so take advantage of the previous tip of choosing an activity that you like and improve your sleep quality.
- Breathe –well, i guess this one we all do, but no in a mindful way, and this is what make a difference. You can do it anywhere, for no cost, right? So let’s try it! Stop, try not to get carried away by your busy mind thoughts and focus on your breathe. Taking a single, slow, full deep breathe expanding your belly, decrease stress, anxiety, and improve concentration and clarity. Perhaps you can try about 5 deep breathes, pausing between inhaling and exhaling, or take few deep breathes for a set period of time, let’s say 3 – 5 minutes. You will become more aware of your emotions and cravings, and also rebalance your hormones; consequently this practice supports weight loss and overall wellness. Because breathing is so simple and we do so mindless, it is easy to forget about its powerful benefits. Set your alarm to practice mindful breathing few times a day wherever you are for a couple of weeks, and record in as a little note or journal how you feel, and also what you eat and your cravings. You might be surprised with the results!
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