Successful Weight Loss & Long Term Weight Management
One of my greatest passions in the world is to inspire people to choose truly vibrant health for themselves and their loved ones. I spent 6 years personal training and writing nutritional programs for my clients, and witnessing life-changing results from increased energy & confidence to decreased (or disappearing) health conditions and everything in between. With 8 out of 10 adult Americans being overweight, there is much work to be done, and we really need to educate ourselves and take a proactive approach to our health.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not a fan of diets. Sure they are of benefit if you have an event you want to quickly shed a few pounds for, but they are not supportive of long term weight management and optimal health. Not only are most diets processed, but they are simply not sustainable over time, which is why most dieters are self-described “yo-yo” dieters.
First and foremost, I want to instill in you that it is ESSENTIAL that you decide from the very beginning that you are embarking on a life change and not a diet. This will make ALL the difference in the world.
You must not view diets as a way to LOSE weight, but as a way to GAIN health. Why set a goal where you’re trying to lose something when the goal can revolve around gaining something?
Top 10 Rules for Successful Weight Loss & Long Term Weight Management:
Shop the outer edges of the grocery store ~ this is where the whole, natural foods are. Aim to fill your basket with fruits and vegetables from all colors of the rainbow (aka. The Rainbow Diet), and if possible, choose organic, especially if the pesticides touch the part that you will be eating.
This also goes for choosing meats and fish. Choose quality over quantity. Select organic, free-range meats whenever possible.
When shopping in the aisles, minimize what you buy from a box, bag or can. READ LABELS. These items are loaded with salt and/ or sugar that will cause you to retain water, feel bloated and hold on to weight. Choose low-sodium options when you do make selections from here.
This one step alone, of eliminating processed, refined carbohydrates, sugars and unhealthy oils (ie. fried food) will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Your energy will skyrocket, your skin will look more radiant, your immunity will improve and your mind will be alert and clear.
2. Keep a food journal for 14 days.
I PROMISE, 2 weeks will not kill you! The value you will get from this process is worth FAR more than any inconvenience that accompanies this process.
The most important things to record are the time, the food, the calories, what you’re doing and your mood. Yes, this process requires reading labels, measuring portions and adding up calories! If you are eating out and don’t have the calorie count, you can find a lot of information online. Be proactive, this is YOUR health!
3. Create a plan to serve as a solution to the obstacles you discovered in your food journaling.
Did you discover that you overeat when you’re bored or reach for junk when you get home from work and are ravenous, but it’s an hour before dinner?
Solution: Munch on some veggies and hummus and then head out for a brisk walk pre-dinner.
Did you discover that you overeat because you waited too long and are ravenous, or worse, because you skipped breakfast?
Solution: First, DO NOT skip breakfast. EVER! This fires up your metabolism AND your energy ~ and studies show that people who eat breakfast consume far fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. I highly recommend planning your meals the night before or even better, on a Sunday for the entire week. Remember, this is about being PROACTIVE! Also, be sure you plan snacks ~ eating 3 meals plus 2 small, healthy snacks in between your meals will prevent these unhealthy binges.
Did you discover that you mindlessly eat when you’re watching TV?
Solution: Either make a no food in front of the TV rule, or if you know that won’t work, limit it to fruit, veggies or a handful of heart-healthy nuts. Harsh? Studies show that people eat significantly more while watching TV, particularly something that is very engaging, because your mind is distracted and misses the signal that you’re full. Not to mention the borage of advertisements on TV that signal to your brain you’re hungry even when you’re not!
4. Do NOT drink your calories (unless it’s a smoothie)!
Yes, this means no more super caramel macchiato latte extraordinaires! Do you realize those drinks are around 300 relatively empty calories? Just say no! Seriously! J And while studies show a benefit to one drink a day for women and 2 for me, if you have weight to lose you obviously need to re-think the drink!
The very best thing you can do is to drink A LOT more water than you probably are now! You should be drinking 50-75% of your body weight in ounces. (50% for a sedentary person….which should NOT be you if you are looking to lose or maintain your weight loss! 75% for an active person). If you aren’t drinking enough water, perhaps you aren’t aware of the consequences. By not drinking enough water, virtually every aspect of your physiology will suffer, including muscle tone, joints, digestion, toxicity levels, organ functioning, water retention (yep, the irony!) and inability to lose excess fat. And if you are one of the people who says water tastes bad ~ my best advice is to add lemon, mint, or even cayenne pepper depending on your palette ~ all three of those will actually aid in regular elimination (which is also an essential component of successful weight loss). I use a gentle cleanse that is safe and effective for daily use, which again, I believe is much better than sudden jolts to the system. Harmony and homestasis within the body are very good things! J
Now to be super savvy about your liquid intake, I highly suggest juicing or blending a meal a day. You get SO much goodness in one meal! You can create highly nutritious meals for less calories that will be more filling ~ and they taste delicious! Even my husband who is unfortunately very resistant to fruit LOVES smoothies (even with hidden spinach!) 😉
Omega 3’s have been shown to not only nourish and protect your brain and nervous system, but to also decrease inflammation and help control diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, but have also been shown to inhibit tumor growth. Great options are salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts and herring, but I believe we should all be taking a high quality Omega 3 supplement as part of our daily health plan. While I am a huge fan of quality fish, the truth is our oceans are increasingly polluted and to get sufficient Omega 3’s really requires supplementation.
In terms of weight loss, a study in the International Journal of Obesity reported that the number of fat calories burned was 26% higher in those on an Omega 3 fish oil supplement than those not on it. Apparently the insulin levels were 50% lower in those using the fish oils, and insulin is a hormone that reduces the use of fat for fuel while also promoting fat storage.
6. Never forget that you can’t out exercise bad nutrition.
Your workouts are 20-30% of the fat loss equation and nutrition is 70-80%! If you’re exercising regularly and not seeing fat loss results, you must make an adjustment to your nutrition. However, in regards to exercise, it is worth noting that exercise is about a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, not just a workout at the gym. If you can’t get to a gym, put on some music and dance with your kid, spouse or friends, take the dog for a walk and enjoy the beauty of spring coming to life or just get busy around the house!
For your cardio interval training, do short bursts of higher activity than you would normally do (30-60 sec.) alternating with an easier recovery (60-90 sec.). You can work out for ½ the amount of time and get twice the workout!
I also HIGHLY recommend strength training ~ not only because a pound of muscles burns TWICE as many calories as a pound of fat (which alone is hugely significant!), but also, starting at the age of 30 we lose about .05% muscle mass each year, and that rate doubles to 1% around age 60, and doubles every 10 years thereafter! Are those dumbbells starting to look more appealing yet?
Of course, cardio & strength training intervals add a great dynamic to the mix for those of you more advanced!
8. An “off day” (aka. Cheat Day) is absolutely essential to the fat loss equation.
Finally, right! Can I hear a WOO HOO! Yes my friends, it is A VERY good thing to take one day out of the week and eat whatever you like (without gorging yourself of course). It will not only give you a metabolism boost but it is a great mental break on the path to long term weight management! I’m more of a fan of the 90/10 rule than the 80/20 rule ~ but do what will work for you, LONG TERM.
You must know your REASON ~ this is your competitive edge ~ your internal motivation and driving force. Is it to be active for your children? To be AROUND for your children? To hike Machu Picchu?
Always use positive language and don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall off track. Definitely don’t ever give up! It is NOT going to throw you off to have a weekend off ~ when people say they gained 5 lbs. in a weekend that is just crazy talk! You would have to eat around 30 big macs BEYOND your caloric needs to gain 5 lbs (to gain 1 lb., you have to consume an extra 3500 calories)!
A great way to stay focused on what IS working is to put a reward system in place. I’ve written about this in past blog posts, because I think we are too hard on ourselves as a society….and the more reasons to CELEBRATE, the better!
10. Find a support system. Whether that be a buddy, a group or an online community, it almost doubles the rate at which you will see fat loss results that last.
The truth is, you have to think of fat loss as a game between you and the outside world. Whether on purpose or not, the truth is, everyone from family to friends to co-workers to restaurant owners to TV advertisers is conspiring against you to make you eat more and exercise less. We are a society that gathers around food, and the temptation will ALWAYS be there. So focus on getting social support and setting up routines to overcome the myriad of obstacles thrown at you!
Let them know your specific goals, and together create an accountability program that works for everyone involved. Personally, I have a community I plug people in to that is free and fabulous, and I’m happy to chat about it with you anytime. So if you are looking to lose weight or learn more about keeping the weight off, then definitely get in touch with me! Connect with me on facebook (there is a link at the top in the right sidebar) or send me a message through the Partner with Beth section and we’ll go from there!
I hope this information has been insightful, and if you feel it would benefit anyone you know, please Retweet and share on Facebook. This is truly one of my greatest passions, and I’m here to help however I can!