When it comes to losing weight, I often encourage my clients to first take a look at your everyday habits. To look at weight loss as a “diet” makes the association in your mind that this is going to be a chore. Weight loss doesn't have to be viewed like that. In fact, when we think about making small changes in our everyday habits it can all kind of fall into place a lot less painfully. Here are a 10 habits you can implement that will almost automatically help you lose 10 to 15 pounds, the right way.
1. Drink more water
It is proven over and over again that the more we stay hydrated the less likely we will feel the need to nosh or snack. Studies show that even slight dehydration can lead us to overeat by 300 calories! A good sign you are adequately hydrated is how often you use the bathroom and what your urine looks like when you go. The clearer, the better! If you notice any kind of darker color or a haze, you are dehydrated and need to drink up! Staying hydrated throughout the day will also help with fighting fatigue which may also lead to sugary quick fixes as snacks especially in the afternoon post lunch.
2. Workout at least 4-5x a week
Breaking a sweat on a weekly basis helps when trying to lose weight. You have to be careful though not to over-do it and to change your program up at least every 6-8 weeks. The body is extremely good at adapting and if we stay on the same program for longer than 6 weeks without changing anything, results will become stagnant. Making sure you work up a good sweat 4-5x a week is essential to losing weight and also developing long term healthy habits.
3. Get more sleep
Rest, both between your weekly workouts, as well as your sleep at night, is vital for proper muscular recovery and hormonal balance. Not getting adequate amount of sleep can definitely hinder results and prevent weight loss from happening. How has your sleep been? You should be aiming for 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. When we get less then that, our cortisol (stress hormone) increases and makes us feel bloated and overall pretty crappy.
4. Prep your meals!
I am such a believer in preparing your food for the week in advance. It allows you to make healthy food options, even when you are in a rush. Check out my food prep tips here. If you know you will be having a wild weekend at a friends bbq or birthday boozy brunch, try to hold yourself accountable the days leading up before so you can enjoy yourself. Life is all about balance!
5. Cut down or cut out booze entirely
Drinking sugary drinks and beer is one of the fastest ways you can gain weight. In the summer you can lose track of what you drink, and may end up drinking all your calories. When you are out drinking, take note of what mixers you are adding. Try a white wine spritzer, alcohol with no mixer or light beer. I opt for tequila on the rocks and sip it slowly. Whenever possible, skip the sugary drinks and stick to the hard liquor, and drink water between each drink. If you want to lose weight, cutting out alcohol entirely won’t be the worst idea either.
6. Stick to a schedule
Obviously, the more consistent we are and the closer you adhere to your nutrition and workout schedule, the more rapidly you’ll see results. It’s not about perfectionism more than it is about consistency so staying consistent for 8-12 weeks is key to starting to see that hard work pay off! Change doesn't happen overnight so being able to stick to a weekly schedule is key when wanting to lose weight.
7. Don’t demonize or restrict specific food groups
When we tell ourselves certain food groups are evil, we most likely crave that food group more so and end up binging on it at some point. There is no such thing as “good foods” and “bad foods”. There are only macronutrients and figuring out what our daily caloric intake should be. Then, it’s similar to fitting a puzzle together. You can have foods as long as they “fit” into your daily caloric and macronutrient expenditure. We have to train our brains to understand this concept and learn that we need protein, fats and carbs to function at our most optimal levels. Within those categories, we can then choose higher quality macronutrients than others. But the most important thing to lose weight for anyone is to stay within a specific calorie range optimal for YOU to lose about 1-1.5lb per week on a weekly basis.
8. Tell your friends/have a support system
When we have a good support system, we are always more likely to stick to our desired plan. Telling your friends or family what you plan on doing is like buying insurance for your new car. You are making sure these people who love you and want you to succeed are checking up on you and to some extent holding you accountable. When we verbalize things to other people, it also always has a different effect on our brains and most likely ensures that we will follow through with what we say.
9. Measure progress week to week
I love taking pictures to measure progress bi-weekly as well as taking circumference measurements. Things like the scale are an OK tool to use to measure progress, however if you are working out and building muscle, sometimes the scale may not move much! In this case, it can be extremely discouraging for someone working hard to lose weight. If this person goes y the scale only, they are not seeing any progress. The scale does not pick up on if you have replaced fat with muscle and therefore your numbers may not vary much. This is why taking pictures and taking your circumference measurements is so important.
10. Re-evaluate your goals on a weekly basis
I encourage people to set new goals every week or at least re-affirm old ones for the upcoming week. When we start our week with certain goals in mind, we are much more likely to follow through with them. I like to focus on strength goals. For example, “Last week I was able to do 4 chinups, this week I’m going to get 5!” Making weekly strength training goals in the gym help with staying focused and motivated. When we don’t obsess about losing weight and instead focus on the journey many times the weight loss just happens naturally. It all starts in the mind and getting our head right and staying positive is often times more than half the battle.