No matter what your weight loss goals are, losing weight seems like an impossible journey to take, even though it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, it has been proven that weight loss is best achieved when you make small changes to your existing lifestyle. Sure, fad diets may seem like the easiest way to drop a dress size, but they are pretty much bound to fail in the long run. Here are some simple things you can do to aid in your weight loss efforts.
- High protein breakfast: Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. What you eat for breakfast can determine if you are satisfied until lunch, or if you’ll be looking for a mid-morning snack. A breakfast high in protein may help curb cravings, which is great for weight loss. Protein has also been shown to lower levels of ghrelin, aka the hunger hormone, which is responsible for increasing your appetite.
- Water, water, water: A glass of water or two is an easy way to enhance weight loss. Water increases your energy expenditure (number of calories your body burns) for around an hour. Often, what we think is a hunger pang is actually your body letting you know it is thirsty. This hunger feeling can cause you to think you need a snack when really you don’t. Try drinking a glass of water next time you have this feeling!
- Sunshine: Believe it or not, according to the National Institutes of Health, exposure to even moderate levels of light at certain times of the day can have an influence on weight. Sunlight exposure is also a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Some studies have found that reaching your daily vitamin D requirements may with weight loss and even prevent weight gain.
- Exercise: Physical activity, especially first thing in the morning, can help boost weight loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in the United States have significantly increased in recent years. Exercise alongside a healthy diet is an effective way to drop the pounds than relying on lowering your calorie intake.
- Meal plan: When you cook your own food, it is easier for you to control the number of calories your intake. One study showed that eating home-cooked meals more frequently was associated with improved diet quality and a decreased risk of excess body fat. You should also be conscious of the choices you’re making when snacking. Try to mindfully eat, rather than snacking with no purpose. Often, when you are on a weight loss journey, it is the perfect time to reflect on your relationship with food.
- Portion control: Speaking of food, you should definitely be aware of how much you are eating. If you look at the same amount of food on a little plate compared to food on a larger one, your eyes may just be convinced that the smaller dish has more food on it.
- Track what you eat: Your weight loss journey does not have to be a mystery and though it takes time to adjust, journaling your food intake provides you with a detailed view of your habits. It can help you find the areas specific to you and your lifestyle that could use some small tweaking, like cutting back on sugary coffee drugs or eating something healthier next time your go out to eat.
- Get some sleep: It’s hard to stick to a sleep schedule, especially when technology has made it so easy to become distracted from actually sleeping. Sleep is important and without getting an adequate amount, the appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin) become unbalanced, which can cause an appetite increase. Creating a healthy sleep schedule is an important part of weight loss, right alongside eating well and exercising. To get the best results, try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
- Add, don’t remove: Instead of taking away things from your diet, try adding more healthier options. When you deny yourself of food you like, generally food deemed unhealthy, you are more likely to binge later on. Adding more vegetables to your meals can help bulk them up and more importantly provide your body with much needed nutrients, including fiber, which helps make you feel foolish.
- Be mindful: The idea of “mindfulness” is a concept that involves you being fully focused on the present moment and bringing awareness to all your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can help you make better eating choices, as well as enhance your weight loss. With the hecticness of life, being able to focus on your goals is important.
Remember, losing weight healthily will always involve some trial and error. The point is to learn how to be kind to your body and provide it with proper nutrition. Making a few small changes here and there to your daily habits can be an easy and effective way to support weight loss.