Simple Tips for Weight Loss
Updated: May 14, 2018
The terms weight loss and simple may not go hand and hand, but weight loss doesn’t always have to encompass grueling low calorie diets and restrictive behaviors. There are many simple changes you can start to implement that will help you on your path to weight loss.
Some of these tips may be quite obvious to you and others may be new concepts. Used alone, each tip can be helpful for those wanting to achieve weight loss. Used in combination, these tips can become part of an actual weight loss protocol that will help you to modify your behaviors, increase your metabolism and get you closer to your weight loss goals.
My Favorite Simple Tips for Weight Loss
1. Track your calories. I am not a big fan of counting calories but I do think that tracking your calories periodically can be a helpful tool for weight loss. Most of us are disconnected to how much we really eat and how many calories we consume in a day. If you’re wanting to achieve weight loss and you’re eating 3000 calories per day you may have some problems!
Tracking becomes a great tool for understanding where you are at, so you can identify what needs to change. I encourage my weight loss clients to use a tracking app and track a few random days before they start their weight loss regime. Once we get this information, we can better asses what their actual calorie needs may be on a weight loss plan.
My favorite calorie tracking apps are My Fitness Pal, Lose It! and Cron-o-meter. These apps are very user friendly and allow you to manually enter your foods for the day so you can count your total calories, macronutrient ratios for fats, carbohydrates and proteins, vitamin and minerals. Many of them have recipes that you can down load, places to input and track your exercise and movement calories, and wide lists of packaged and popular restaurant based items in their calorie programs.
I recommend tracking 1-2 days’ worth of food consumption over a couple of weeks before you start your weight loss program, then try and track 1-2 days per week while on your program to make sure that you are hitting your calorie and macronutrient goals.
2. Increase your physical activity. This one is a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many people think they can successfully lose weight without changing their activity level. A large part weight loss is related to food and some people can lose weight pretty quickly in the beginning with diet alone. Changing your food patterns will help you lose pounds, and exercise will help to boost your metabolism and burn fat, creating a more sustainable long term solution for weight loss.
As we grow older we naturally loose muscle mass if we are not actively working on building muscle. This loss of muscle is often replaced by fat, leading to increased weight gain over time. Cardio based exercises are a great way to boost metabolism, keep your organs healthy and burn off those extra stress hormones. Weight resistance based exercise is an essential piece for actively burning fat. It helps to build muscle, which is very metabolically active, boosts human growth hormone, promoting weight loss and will help your burn fats more efficiently. A solid physical activity routine should contain a good mix of both cardio and weight resistance activities.
3. Stay away from prepared, packaged and restaurant foods. Packaged foods are usually high in calories, loaded with fillers and artificial ingredients and have little nutrient value. They offer a quick to prepare meal but often little else. If your goal is weight loss, best to avoid any food that comes in a box or bag. Stick to the perimeters of the grocery store when shopping and try to buy whole foods as much as possible.
Restaurant food obviously varies in quality, but even the best restaurants load their foods with butter, oils and rich stocks to boost flavor. That small cup of what seems to be healthy soup could easily be 600 calories and what appears to be a low calorie fish or chicken dish could be well over 1000 calories after you count the fats, marinades and sauces used to cook it.
Although I think you can eat smart when ordering at a restaurant or purchasing prepared foods at a grocery store, for the most part, these foods will be much higher in fat and calories than you think. If you are really focused on weight loss, best to completely stay away from the prepared, packaged and restaurant foods.
4. Stop snacking. We live in a snacking culture. The grocery store aisles are filled with endless temptations for snack options, both healthy and not so healthy. If you really want to lose weight you might consider ending your relationship with snacking.
Every time we eat whether it is a meal or a snack, our body produces insulin which is a storage hormone. Because we often consume many more calories, sugars and fats then we really need, constant snacking keeps insulin up and the body primed for fat storage. Experiment with eating 3 square meals a day and absolutely close the kitchen after dinner.
Late night snacking is a no-no for anyone wanting to lose weight. If you’ve been a long time snacker, this change could be difficult at first. Being hungry sometimes feels uncomfortable. Once your body adjusts, your hunger level will change and you won’t be as tempted. I don’t want you to have low blood sugar, so if you’re starving and feel like you’re going to pass out, please eat something! But if you are a long term grazer, eating every few hours, chances are you been unintentionally signally your body to store fat. Longer breaks between food consumption (i.e. no snacks) will prompt the body to burn fat instead of store it.
5. Drink more water. Dehydration can seriously interfere with weight loss. When we are properly hydrated, our cells are fluid and nutrients and wastes can easily pass in and out. Drinking an ample amount of water helps to keep things moving in the body, promoting the elimination of toxins and wastes.
If you are wanting to achieve weight loss, I often recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day. That means if you are 160 pounds, you will want to try and drink 80 oz. of water per day. I know that may seem like a lot, but there are many tricks you can implement to help.
Counting individual glasses can be tricky and it can be easy to forget how much you actually consumed. Using a large water container is one way to track how much you are really drinking. Buy a large 32 oz. water container and drink 2 of those per day and your three quarters of the way to your daily goal! Set an alarm on your phone, so you have a physical reminder to drink water or try a water tracking app like Hydro Coach or Water Logged. Water drinking apps can help you to set reminders to drink more, track your progress and help to calculate your daily water needs.
Beverages such as coffee, caffeinated tea and alcohol are dehydrating, so if you are regular consuming these drink then you will need to drink a little more to make up the difference. Try and keep the bulk of your water consumption for the morning and/or middle of the day. Drinking too many fluids at night will keep you awake with trips to the bathroom.
6. Get enough sleep. I cannot stress this one enough. Even modest disruptions in sleep can contribute to unintentional weight gain. Hormones play a huge role in maintaining proper body weight and the sleep wake cycle is regulated by a delicate balance between cortisol and melatonin. Poor sleep, mid night waking and interrupted sleep can wreak havoc on your hormones causing cortisol to rise at the wrong time, signaling your body to store fat.
If you are not sleeping at least 6-7 hours per night (7-9+ is better), and you are wanting to lose weight, then you better start trouble shooting the underlying cause of sleep disruption and start looking for solutions. Chronic stress, elevated blood sugar and cortisol, poor sleep hygiene and over stimulation will all disrupt your sleep and make it harder to lose weight.
7. Manage your stress. This is another critical piece that doesn’t get enough attention when it comes to weight loss. Remember that hormone cortisol I talked about in relation to poor sleep? Well cortisol is a stress hormone and actually a survival hormone that is meant to keep us alive in dangerous and challenging circumstances. The problem is that if you are experiencing challenging circumstances constantly, then you may be signaling your body to produce cortisol non-stop.
When cortisol is triggered, it prompts the body to liberate glucose, often from muscle, so we can have a steady source of energy to help us run from danger or fight for our life. If there is too much glucose released from a chronically stressful atmosphere, the body will begin to store that excess glucose as fat to prevent damage to the organs. Too much of that lifesaving hormone will interfere with weight loss by signaling your body to constantly store fat.
If your stress levels are chronically high, you may need to make some serious changes to your daily routine. You will want to work on stress management techniques, consider taking stress reducing herbs and supplements or work with a professional, to reduce your overall stress, lower your stress response and achieve your weight loss goals.
Do these ideas sound good to you but not sure where to start? Are you tried of diets that consistent of dramatically cutting calories only to gain back the weight once you’re done? I specialize in integrative solutions to weight loss.
What does this mean exactly? I believe that weight loss is a complex mix of emotional and physiological factors that affect people in different ways. With integrative weight loss, we take a whole person approach to finding the right set of weight loss tools for your individual needs.
I help my clients find the right diet for their health and weight loss needs. We will uncover the major roadblocks to weight loss such as inflammation, hormone imbalance and toxicity. You'll learn to address the emotional triggers that drive over eating and replace them with healthy alternatives. Integrative weight loss is a lifestyle based approach that allows people to successfully maintain their weight loss long term and make dramatic shifts to their health and emotional state at the same time. Contact me to learn more about Integrative Weight Loss Solutions and to see if it may be the right fit for your weight loss needs.