Look – I get it.
It’s like prancing through food heaven and choosing all of your favorite things — than being told you can’t eat them. Or touch them. Or look at them.
The indecency. It’s just….inhumane.
But – it’s nearly summer. And summer means the beach, BBQs with friends, and…. swimming suits.
So, for those of us that want to feel good in our swimwear, this means dedication and sacrifice.
The happy news is that if you focus on consistency in a few key areas, you just may be surprised how relatively easy it is to accomplish weight loss — without something as rigorous as a 3-day military diet. To get you started, here are a few tried and true tips to help shed 10 pounds:
You may have heard that you need to drink water to lose weight before, but have you actually implemented it? Start now! When you begin the day with a tall glass of water, you may just be more inclined to go for a healthier breakfast or even hit the gym. Plus, morning hydration can also help you stay regular.
Drinking water is important for all cellular functions and hydration aids in weight loss. It’s common to suffer from that 3 p.m. slump due to dehydration alone, and many people confuse thirst for hunger.
So, up to your energy in the afternoon and skip the chips by staying hydrated all day. Aim for 64 ounces a day (it’s a good goal for all of us, even if specific needs vary) and of course, skip the soda.
- Protein. Protein. Protein.
Protein is needed to build and repair muscles, for blood clotting and it also helps us to stay satisfied. Studies show that eating protein for breakfast may help increase your satiety (how satisfied you feel) throughout the day and help prevent nighttime noshing. Ever wonder why on the days you skip breakfast, you can’t stop eating cookies at night? Lack of adequate protein may be to blame.
Protein aids in satiety by affecting the hormones which control hunger and the rate at which food empties from our stomachs. It also has the highest thermal effect of food (TEF), meaning it burns the most calories during digestion, versus carbs and fat. At a loss of where to begin in the morning? Try these high-protein breakfast options and remember to choose lean protein sources.
- Make Greens Your Friend…
Green veggies get five gold stars. They are packed with fiber and water volume, both of which help you to stay full and regular. They’re also loaded with antioxidants which help fight disease and inflammation, and, of course, they’re low in calories.
Fighting inflammation with antioxidants can aid in weight loss. Foods that are high in the antioxidants vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene may help reduce fat storage by regulating your body’s use of the hormone insulin. Greens are an excellent source, but you can also find these compounds in citrus fruits, almonds, and sweet potatoes.
My favorite greens are broccoli rabe and spinach, and I recommend getting in greens at least twice a day. During meals, fill up on greens first, and you’ll find that you naturally begin to eat less of the perhaps more “unhealthy” parts of your plate.
- And Make Fat Your BFF!
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat (overeating anything, of course, will cause you to gain weight). Actually, it can help make you thin. Fat tastes good and helps to keep you satisfied. It also helps you burn fat by taking fat out of your cells, so you can use it for energy.
As with any food, portion control is key, but be sure to get fat inconsistently throughout the day (about 30 percent of your calories should come from fat). Instead of having a big apple for a snack, have a small apple with two teaspoons of almond butter. And, instead of sugar-laden, fat-free salad dressing go for olive oil and vinegar mixed with herbs and spices.
- Your Body Is Talking To You – LISTEN!
Listening to your body is key when it comes to losing weight. Focusing on whole, real foods packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber, and antioxidants is crucial (and I’d rather you overeat these foods than chips and dip, and cupcakes) but learning how much to eat by listening to your body is going to be key when it comes to losing weight.
I teach my clients to rate their hunger using the “hunger quotient.” This is the number (related to a feeling) to describe how hungry you truly are. You want to aim to be between a 6 and a 4 at the beginning and end of your meals and snacks. A 6 is “slightly hungry” and a 4 is “slightly satisfied.” When meals and snacks are skipped during the day, HQ gets thrown off and it is easy to end up making poor food choices and overeating.
- What’s Your Mantra? End Your Night With Meditation.
Stress affects every aspect of your health, including your weight. Even exercise probably won’t do the trick if stress is throwing your hormones out of whack. Prolonged excess stress not only causes an imbalance in your hormones which leads to weight in the mid-section, but it also increases free radicals (think inflammation), and it can increase emotional eating.
Managing your stress can have a huge effect on your weight-loss efforts. Meditation, even if for five minutes, has been shown to reduce anxiety with every session practiced. So while adding a new fitness routine is vital to your weight-loss goals and chugging water is too, add a stress management tool for maximum effectiveness.
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Don Patrick is an amateur writer and sports enthusiast. He loves reading books, listening to the Huberman Lab Podcast, and spending time with his family and friends. Don is also a personal trainer and youth hockey coach.