Effective and sustainable weight loss shouldn’t be about crazy day diets, spending hours in the gym or popping silly pills! Although a structured exercise and nutrition strategy should be a priority when embarking on a new weight loss journey, it’s important to understand that it’s also the small changes that can make a big difference. Here’s 10 small changes that boost your weight loss. Let’s dive into number 1…
1. Drink water first thing in the morning
Do you ever feel that sensation of being thirsty in the morning? By the time you experience that, your body’s already dehydrated and it could also cause you to overeat later in the day. By choosing to drink a glass of water upon waking, you’re a lot less likely to overindulgence on fatty and sugar dense foods later in the day. You can also use a glass of water to fend of any hunger cravings you get throughout your day. You may also want to check out our 10 Reasons You Need To Drink More Water for loads more benefits!
2. Walk more
The one sounds so obvious but we couldn’t not reiterate the point here. The key to effective weight management is balancing the energy we consume with the energy we burn off. Pounding the pavement on endless runs isn’t the only we can burn more calories and be on the way to faster weight loss. In fact, you can actually burn off TWICE as much by simply increasing your activity levels throughout your day, wherever you can. Try walking more, cycling to work instead of driving, taking the dog out, a little bit of gardening, take the stairs instead of the lift etc etc, you get the point. Just focus on moving more and alongside your regular exercise routine, you’ll reap the rewards!
3. Chew more
Don’t just shovel it in and get it down your throat as quickly as possible, slow down a little bit and revise your chewing patterns. Try and chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing. It takes your brain around 20 minutes to acknowledge it’s full and flip off the hunger switch. By slowing down at meals, you’ll give your brain a chance to catch up before you delve into another serving of sticky toffee pudding.
4. Stress less
Easier said than done, we know. Consistent, chronic stress can wreak havoc on not just your body but also on your weight loss efforts. The stress hormone, cortisol will significantly affect your body’s capability to effectively mobilise and burn fat cells. In men, this can also mean a reduced productive rate of testosterone which can further slow fat loss and sometimes even break down lean muscle tissue. A few daily rituals can do wonders in combating stress and your overall health and wellbeing. Put some time aside each day to have half an hour “me” time where you can do something you enjoy (reading, spending time with the kids, walking the dog etc). Have a nice relaxing bath with some soothing music and try and get good quality sleep, a huge factor in metabolising stress hormones. Either way, by tackling stress you’re more likely to enjoy more successful weight loss and less likely to experience a whole ton of stress related symptoms!
5. Turn healthy food into fast food
Everybody’s a sucker for fast food, but running to the nearest Maccy D’s the moment you feel hungry isn’t going to be beneficial to your weight loss. By making fast food healthy, you can keep the convenience of on-the-go food without the bingo wings or heart attacks. Go to the supermarket and buy all of your favourite fruits and veggies. Cut them into bite size pieces and store them in a tupperware container, in the fridge. The next day when you’re heading out the door, grab your snacks and whenever you feel peckish, just hit the fruits and veggies. Let’s face it, it might not be as satisfying as a double whopper cheese burger, but we turn to whatever’s easy and accessible. Why not plan for that eating onslaught by always having something that’s just as easy and accessible?
6. Challenge yourself every day
Turn simple daily chores and errands into physical activities that will burn more calories. If it takes 15 minutes to walk to the bus stop, try doing it the next day in the same time but take a detour to make the walk longer. It’ll take the same amount of time but you’ll walk further and burn more energy. If you’re on the phone, try and see how many squats you can do before the conversation ends. Whatever it is, try and make whatever you’re doing more fun, active and challenging.
7. Don’t satisfy your sweet tooth
Women should limit themselves to no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, for men this should be no more than 9. Research indicates that by keeping the sweet cravings at bay and eating less sugar, you can significantly enhance your weight loss results.
8. Swap cardio for resistance
Too many people seem to be scared of the weights room at the gym! Resistance training will hour for hour, burn more calories than cardio vascular training, ultimately leading to quicker and more sustainable fat loss. When you lift weight, you burn calories. The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn, it’s as simple as that. When it comes to weight training, compound, full body movements that recruit multiple muscle groups in one will be most effective for shredding those unwanted pounds.
As far as metabolism goes, muscle mass is the “engine” of the calorie-burning machine. As you strength train and increase your muscle mass, you build a bigger, more efficient engine that burns more calories and helps you lose weight. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to maintain your weight. In fact, the higher your muscle mass, the more calories you’ll burn when you rest. For every pound of muscle you gain, your body uses about 50 extra calories a day!
9. Eat protein at every meal
Protein. We’ve all heard of it. Many of us think we know what it does, but do we? Protein isn’t just essential for building strong muscles, it’s also an essential macro nutrient that plays an essential role in the fat burning process. In fact, your body burns more calories when you eat protein than when you digest either fats or carbs.
This may explain why the fat-burning effects of eating more protein were confirmed in a study published in the American Journal of Physiology. One group was fed a high-protein diet (just over 1 gram per pound of body weight per day) while the second group consumed an amount closer to the lower recommendation of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance). The group eating the higher-protein diet burned the most fat.
10. Get motivated!
We’ve saved the simplest till last! If you ain’t motivated, you’re going to struggle to stick to your goals. Everybody responds differently to different types of motivation so it’s important to know what works for you. Maybe it’s a track that pumps you up and gets you going in the morning or a motivating quote that you can relate to.