Maybe the first resolution you made was to lose those pesky few pounds you’ve been pouting about every time you look in the mirror; or was it as seemingly simple as eating right and joining a gym? Most resolutions have something to do with health and weight loss, and while we have every intention of staying strong and following through, let’s face it… most of us have abandoned ship by day 32. Don’t let a small hiccup disrupt your entire year. Instead, begin small. These five habits that are simple to implement in any routine are sure to keep you on track for 2016.
WATER: Up to 60% of your body is water. Your heart and brain are 73% water and your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to regulate temperature and simply maintain other functions you take for granted. Don’t neglect your body this year. Drinking water clears your complexion, flushes toxins and aids in brain function, clearing your head and alleviating stress. As a plus, drinking a large glass of water before every meal places your body in a position to enjoy your food comfortably without overeating. If you’re looking for ways to consume more water, check out my article from September titled “The H2O Hack.”
SNACKING: You’re always hearing doctors and nutritionists talking about the importance of snacking. Have you ever stopped to listen, though? Snacking is vital to weight loss and weight maintenance because of the way your body functions. When your blood sugar falls below a normal state, your liver is forced to produce sugar by turning glycogen into glucose. Weight gain is a byproduct of this process as your body begins to store excess fat from food in preparation for the next time it has to make its own sugar. Snacking every two to three hours helps to regulate your body’s natural sugar, in turn keeping your liver from over producing glucose.
INDULGE: There’s a difference between indulging and binging, don’t get confused. Cutting out any food cold turkey is never a good idea. While it may seem responsible to give up your secret vice of chocolate or that “bad for you” food, this only leads to poor decisions and regret at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s later on. Curb your appetite with natural alternatives like a small piece of dark chocolate or products containing raw sugar to avoid over-indulgence down the road.
“poor decisions and regret at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s”
SEE A DIETICIAN: If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are, you’ve tried before and it hasn’t worked out. Seek help. This is a lifestyle change not a diet, and big changes take time and require accountability. Everybody’s body is different and a dietician will help determine the type of metabolism you have and what may be the best way for you to reach that healthy state you’ve been working so hard for.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP: Our society seems to be the society that never sleeps. Put the chips and device down after 9PM to allow your body time to feel tired naturally. When you don’t allow your body to sleep, you lose less weight and disrupt your body’s natural schedule. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine proved the impact sleep has on weight loss when the study put two groups of dieters on different sleep schedules. The study found that the group that slept seven to eight hours each night lost significantly more weight than the group that slept less, even though their diets were identical. The University of Chicago also found that inadequate sleep actually changes your fat cells. After only four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to correctly utilize insulin becomes completely disrupted and insulin sensitivity in your body drops by 30%.
It’s worse than it sounds: A healthy body’s fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream to prevent fat storage. In an unhealthy, sleep deprived, insulin resistant body however, lipids roam free, circulating in your blood to create more insulin. The Excess insulin doesn’t know what to do in the body so it stores extra fat in all the wrong places, like your liver.
If losing weight really is your top priority this year, logout of twitter and log some hours on that sleep number.
STAY OFF THE SCALE: If you’re like me when you start a new diet, the first thing you want to do every morning is check your progress. This is the complete opposite of what you should do. Step away from the scale. I repeat, STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALE. Because weight fluctuates from day to day, checking your progress daily only leads to discouragement and a sense of failure when you see your weight rise half the time. Studies also show that on average, Wednesday is the day weight fluctuates the least, so weigh yourself first thing every Wednesday morning to get the most accurate reading of your progress.
Fun Fact: A new study determined how much weight the average person needs to lose before people around him or her begin to notice. If you’re of average height, (5’4” if you’re a woman and 5’10” if you’re male) you need to lose eight pounds, Babe, or nine pounds if you’re a bro before people start asking that glorious and slightly awkward question, “have you lost weight?” The study also determined that you’ll need to lose 14 pounds if you’re a lady and 18 pounds for you gents before people begin to find you more attractive. So don’t fret if you’re feeling discouraged because no one’s noticed yet. Eight pounds is a milestone well worth the work. And remember to talk with your doctor before starting any new diet change or exercise regime.