The Next Steps
On the previous article, What's Eating You?, I mentioned that to achieve long-term habit and lifestyle changes we need to address the issues behind the overeating and other bad eating habits that caused the extra weight. I also mentioned the advantages of hypnotherapy for weight loss and management over other available methods. On this article, I list 10 proven tips to help you in your weight loss/management process, no matter what plan or program you are currently following.
10 USEFUL TIPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS/MANAGEMENT: *
1) Make sure to eat your bigger meals at breakfast and/or lunch and your lightest meal in the evening. That can be a hard change to make, especially due to busy work schedules. A lot of people end up eating a light (and often unhealthy) lunch at their desks or on the run, and only have time to prepare and eat a good meal in the evening. However, that’s the time of the day when your body’s metabolism and digestive capacity slow down, and you won’t be using most of the calories you’re loading yourself with before bed time. This habit can also cause digestive issues and sleep trouble. In addition, by eating light or skipping meals during day, you’re depriving your body of energy when it needs it the most.
Better Idea: Try preparing your heavier meals in the evening and packing them to eat for lunch the next day. Choose lighter fares in the evenings (preferably before 6 pm; think light breakfast or light lunch kinds of meals). Start the transition slowly, maybe two to three times per week. If you feel hungry right before bed, try having just a 1/4 cup of almond milk or other milk substitute, or some tea with milk, etc, to take the edge off the hunger feeling until your body gets used to the new routine.
2) Avoid eating meat at night. Protein takes a lot of energy to digest and break down. As our metabolism slows down in the evening, the body can’t properly digest meats. That means a much longer process time, during which the meats sit in the stomach, releasing the same toxins as decomposing cadavers. As mentioned above, that can cause digestive issues and affect the quality of your sleep.
Better Idea: Avoid eating meats and other heavy foods at night. Choose lighter foods such as cereal with milk, boiled eggs, sandwiches. Check out 8 Foods That Disrupt Sleep and The Best Foods to Eat at Night.
3) No liquid during meals. This is important because digestion starts in the mouth, with the saliva helping to break down the food; so if you drink liquids while you eat, you can dilute that process. Not to mention that the liquids you ingest during your meals can expand your stomach and slow digestion. This change might be hard in the beginning, as your mouth will probably feel very dry without the help of beverages. However, if you gradually reduce the amount of beverages until you stop drinking during meals, it might take a few weeks but your salivary glands should “jump start” again and you won’t have that dry mouth feeling anymore. You’ll probably even grow to dislike having liquids with your meals after that, as the food will feel “watery” and less tasty in your mouth!
Better Idea: Ideally, it’s best to avoid drinking liquids less than 1/2 hour before or until 1/2 after a meal.
4) Cut out all sodas, including diet. Most everyone already knows that cutting out sodas is a great way to start losing weight and become healthier, as they are loaded with sugar and calories (and are very unhealthy for you in many other ways). However, do you know the importance of also cutting out diet sodas? Among other things, diet sodas lack nutritional value; can hurt your heart and be bad for your bones; are associated with headaches and depression; and can lead to an increased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Not to mention that drinking diet sodas is actually connected to weight gain rather than loss, as artificial sweeteners can lead to an increased craving for high calorie foods (see 10 Reasons to Give Up Diet Soda).
Better Idea: See 5 Best Tips to Cut Out Soda Intake.
5) Drink more water. Yes, 64 oz or about 8 glasses per day, give or take (depending on a few different factors, some people need more or less). I often hear from people that they don’t like to drink that much water because they keep having to go to the bathroom all day. But that usually happens just in the beginning of the process of consuming more water, until your body gets used to the new water intake levels. After that, your process of eliminating stabilizes. You also get to a point that you feel completely parched if you don’t drink enough water throughout the day.
Others mentioned that they forget to drink water during the day, or don’t remember how many glasses they did drink.
Better Idea: That used to be my case, too. The way I solved that problem was to buy a 32-oz BPA-free water bottle, fill it in the morning, drink it throughout the day, then fill it again; once I finished it for the second time, I knew I was done for the day and everything else after that was extra.
6) Watch for the pitfalls of low fat, low cal diets. Many programs out there claim to help you shed those pounds while you can still eat what you like. Beware of the pitfalls of such diets; they are often loaded with sugar, which can end up by causing serious health issues. A good friend of mine was having serious health issues which included swelling of the face, eyes and feet. Here’s what she recently found out and shared with me:
“I had to realize that I could not take short cuts around my health and had to take charge. My no junk food and low calorie diet of 1,200 a day that I have been doing for years was not working. I realized that my so called “healthy” food consumption was killing me (literally!). My breakfast protein bar and 8 oz soy milk were packed full of sugar. My daily lunch routine of a Lean Cuisine [meal] was packed with sugar. My afternoon snack of a small yogurt was packed with sugar. When I added up what I was eating, yes, it was low in calories and low in fat but so freaking high in hidden processed sugar (about 30 to 40 teaspoons of sugar a day)! No wonder I was so sick. My doctor said my liver was fatty and was showing signs like I was drinking [alcohol] daily!!!”
My friend had to stop her consumption of not only sugar, but also artificial sweeteners and so called “natural” sugars from processed “health” food. Her liver levels are finally back to normal and she has lost 8 pounds to date. She’s not hungry, has no cravings and feels healthy.
Better Idea: Make sure your diet is low in sugars, and has plenty of lean protein and whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, some grains, healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil), etc, as well as a minimum amount of processed foods. Read the labels of processed foods, even the “healthy” ones. Eat organic foods as much as possible (affordable sources of organic foods are: Trader Joe’s, Costco, Aldi, some local farm markets). Try replacing favorite high-sugar snacks such as fruit-flavored yogurt for healthier substitutes, such as organic whole plain yogurt with a teaspoon of fruit-sweetened fruit spread. If necessary, consult a knowledgeable nutritionist. Also remember to allow yourself an occasional treat (depending on your weight loss and management goals).
7) Choose the weight you want to achieve, rather than the number of pounds you want to lose. If you constantly remind yourself of the pounds you don’t want to have and are trying to lose, you place yourself in a resistance mode. According to the Law of Attraction, by giving your attention to what you don’t want, you just attract more of it, the same way that you attract what you do want. The Law doesn’t differentiate between the two.
Better Idea: Take a positive and self-affirming step instead; choose your target weight and keep it in mind at all times, especially during moments when you’re feeling discouraged and beating yourself up. The mind is very powerful, and will work hard to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
8) Do not weigh yourself more than once a week. Everyone who’s been on a diet knows how obsessive scale checking can become. Since our weight fluctuates throughout the day and from day to day, this can lead to a lot of disappointment, to say the least; it can also become an excuse to despair and give up. There will be ups and downs during your weight loss process, even when you’re doing everything right; and that doesn’t mean failure. However, sometimes it might indicate the need for some tweaking in the plan; it’s a learning process.
Better Idea: Try weighing yourself just once a month.
9) Cleanse at least once a year. Cleansing is a great way to detox and reboot your body, and it often helps you shed a few pounds in the process. There are countless types of cleanses available out there (herbal, juice, special diets, fasting, etc). It’s advisable that you consult with your doctor or nutritionist about the best option for you.
Better Idea: Cleanse twice a year. I got used to doing an herbal cleanse in January or February (to recover from the excesses of the holiday season and prepare for the allergy season); the other is at the end of the Summer (for similar reasons).
10) Don’t beat yourself up when you slip. That not only doesn’t help, but it also can make things worse, even causing you to give up in the middle of the process. Slips are common, and even to be expected. The important thing is to understand that you’re still in control, and you can simply pick it back up where you left off.
Better Idea: Forgive yourself for the slip(s) and stick to your goals. Seek help and support during your weight loss and management process. Remember you’re not alone, there are a lot of people going through similar challenges. Try shifting negative self-talk to constructive thoughts and trouble-shooting ideas. When things look bleak, have faith in yourself and keep your target weight in mind.
As you incorporate all or at least several of these into your life style, you’ll be well on your way to a much healthier and thinner you.
* Please check with your doctor before incorporating any of the listed tips to make sure that no health issues are present and need to be addressed, such as thyroid imbalance; and that there are no other reasons why any of the listed tips would not be advisable for you.
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 03/02/2016
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay
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