You do a juice cleanse, you get super into spinning, you, uh, then eat a lot of cheese and feel like a failure. Or you add acai berries and spirulina to everything you eat, but aren’t feeling your clothes fitting any better. The fit life struggle –amIrite? The good news: losing weight is hard for everyone and, while it is pretty easy to get swept up in the ‘Diet of the Day’ or ‘Next Big Thing in Exercise’ trends, there are some smart things you can be doing to really get on the healthy train.
What You Eat Matters
You can run all the miles, lift all the weights, do squats for days, but you’re never going to see that real change unless you do the right thing by your belly and start eating clean. We’re talking low fat, low sugar, plenty of proteins, nothing processed, and maybe saying no to those Waffle Wednesdays at work.
It might not be the most fun but trust us – as you get more and more used to eating clean, your cravings for junk food, for the sugars and the fats will – we promise – go down. You might even be one of those crazy people saying things like: “I could really go for a smoothie bowl!” and mean it, especially since your jeans are lookingso good on you.
Consistency is Key
Just like rolling out of bed the same time every morning, just like your hair wash schedule, just like how you always get the annoying expense reports done first thing in the morning, you gotta make a schedule and stick to it.
There’s no one-size-fits-all fitness calendar for everyone. Maybe your magic schedule is Leg Day Mondays and Cardio Wednesdays or Core Tuesdays and Arms/Shoulders Fridays. Maybe it’s a standing 12pm gym appointment that works for you!
Prioritize Proteins and Vegetables
Repeat after us: I will not even give myself thechance to order takeout at work! I willnot go in with the marketing department and carb out with a bunch of pizza.
What youwill do instead: spend some time Sunday afternoons cooking up some veggies and a low-fat protein, like a chicken breast, and parceling out your lunches for the week. Having a healthy meal that is already made and paid for will help you stick to your plan. A diet that is low in protein will actually prevent you from losing weight, as protein actually aids your body in blood sugar management and thyroid hormone management to help trim you down.
When it comes to losing weight, the first thing most everyone’s minds jump to is cutting out fat and buying all those foods that practically shout: “FAT FREE” and “LOWFAT RIGHT HERE!” Spoiler alert: Those fat free foods are hiding a dark secret, namely that, in order to have the fat cut but not the flavor or the body, they are usually pumped full of way more sugars than you would want in your body in a day.
And guess what else? Your body does need some fat. For one, fat fills you up, so if you cut it all out, you are gonna be eating way more and more (usually sugars and carbs) to feel full. Also, fats (natural fats, that is) are part of a balanced diet and can contain some important vitamins – like A, D, E, and K.
Water, Water Should be Everywhere
It is important – oh, so important – to stay hydrated. Water keeps your body in balance, it keeps you from overeating (who here hasn’t probably confused water for hunger and grabbed a Pop Tart when really our body just wanted something to drink?) and it keeps those false cues tamped down.
The first thing people will sometimes cut when trying to lose weight, too, is water, and they dehydrate themselves. The few pounds that are shed are actually just water weight, and so when there is no more progress, it can be frustrating and lead to dangerous behaviors. Drink up!
Sleep is the Ultimate Weight Loss Hack
Guess what, fellow sleepaholics? Being in love with the ZZZs doesn’t make you lazy, it actually helps you lose weight! Hitting that sweet seven-hour mark of rest not only cuts down on your time to be thinking about food (dreaming about it, well, that’s another story) but it helps keep your hunger cravings under control.
A solid night’s sleep actually increases leptin that is released into your body, which controls hunger cravings. Plus, lack of sleep leaves you more disoriented and not functioning at peak performance, which means your workout most likely will not be at its full potential – or you may be more inclined to skip it altogether.
Cheat Days Pull Double Duty
If you’re gonna be dieting to lose weight, you have probably heard of the concept of a cheat day: a day where you are freed from your diet’s restrictions and can allow yourself to eat whatever you want. We often think about the psychological benefits of this, of course: it keeps you from feeling stuck in a boring cycle of never eating cake and prevents you from binge eating.
But guess what else it does? It keeps on kick starting your metabolism into its full potential. When you take in fewer calories, your metabolism adjusts and slows down, so as you eat less, your metabolism matches that and burns less. Having a day a week where you go crazy with your food keeps your body tricked into maintaining its current metabolic rate to keep your weight loss thriving.