A new year means new resolutions.These are often some form of health related goal, weight loss being the most common. Healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices are the keys to sustained weight loss, but this is easier said than done. Many of us suffer from a bit too much impatience and want to see results from our efforts - fast. The reality is we have put on these extra pounds over a prolonged period of time and they simply won’t fall off our bodies overnight. That being said, there are changes you can make in your daily life that will speed up your weight loss and put you on the path towards sustained, permanent weight loss. Starting a new workout routine or implementing new healthy behaviors can be difficult and overwhelming; be realistic with what you can change right now and focus on those new changes until they become habits. We are going to focus on six important keys to speed up weight loss and do our best to put us on a path of sustained weight loss.
Key #1 - Drink More Water
Humans are made up mostly of water, so it would make sense that it is extremely important to consume adequate amounts of water to help keep our bodies running in tip-top condition. If you are consuming sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, of “fu-fu” coffee drinks, simply replacing these beverages with water can eliminate their excess calories. You always need to be mindful when consuming any beverage with calories because it is even easier than normal food to overconsume. Alcohol also falls into this category; consuming alcohol only makes weight loss more difficult. Drinking water has benefits outside of weight loss as well; from improved cognitive function to better skin, hydrating your body is extremely important.
Key # 2 - Cut Out Heavily Processed Foods
In a society where everything is about efficiency, heavily processed foods have become staples in many Americans’ diets, and this is not good! Yes, these foods can be very convenient and handy in some scenarios, but heavily processed foods are engineered to be highly palatable and essentially addictive. This means that they are easier to overconsume, meaning over time we put on more weight. I say “heavily processed” because it is extremely difficult to cut out all processed foods, with so much food being processed to some extent. That being said, ask yourself, “Is this food convenient? Does it have a long shelf life?” If you answer yes to both, there is a very good chance that that food is heavily processed. Focusing on eliminating these heavily processed foods and adding in more whole foods can speed up weight loss greatly. Whole foods are more satiating, meaning they keep us fuller for longer, which leads to fewer calories consumed.
Key #3 - Ramp Up Your N.E.A.T.
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is simply a fancy way of labeling all of the movement you do throughout the day that is not part of your planned workout. This includes things like walking through the parking lot, taking the stairs, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, or taking standing breaks from your desk. All of these seem like small, little things, but the calories expended through NEAT can add up quickly, and most certainly aid in your weight loss goal. Over time, hopefully these behaviors and choices become part of your daily habits and lifestyle.
Key #4 - Sleep
You’ve probably heard it a million times; you need 8 hours of sleep every night! Yes, the amount of hours you sleep is important, but there is nothing magical about exactly 8 hours. The quality of your sleep is more important than the hours. However, unless you use some form of sleep tracking device, you most likely cannot know how deep your sleep is. That being said, you can set your body up for success through creating a nightly routine that better prepares your body for a full night’s rest. Wind down; give your mind and body some time before jumping into bed. Try turning down the lights in your room/house, turn off the screens (cell phone, laptop, tv), drink some tea, read a book, or really anything you enjoy that relaxes your mind. Outside of setting up a nightly routine, pay attention to your room’s setting. Adjust the temperature to what works best for you and what is most comfortable. Pay attention to your pillows and mattress; it is easy to forget how much these can help a night’s sleep!
Key # 5 - Work On Relationship With Foods
The thoughts you have related to food will most certainly affect your success in losing weight. Work on adding in small, obtainable steps into your daily routine. For example, add in colorful vegetables to your diet, cook at home, organize your pantry and refrigerator. Again, being realistic is important; you have been eating the way you eat right now for probably quite some time (years!), so making tons of drastic changes will only set you up for disaster and relapse in the long term. Another key component in building a healthy relationship with foods is understanding the value of food. Try to connect with what the food does for you and your body. After eating junk food, do you feel tired, lethargic, or mental brain fog? After eating a serving of vegetables, how do you feel? better digestion or more energy? Once you start to pay attention to what that food can do for you, you start to see the value in every food choice and naturally begin to make better food choices!
Key #6 - Prioritize Strength Training
If you compared 30 minutes of jogging and 30 minutes of strength training, you would burn more calories jogging. However, it is still advantageous to focus first on strength training. Although you may burn more calories performing cardio activities, if we continuously do excess amounts of cardio, the moment we stop doing that cardio we gain back those calories burned, and often put on the weight we lost. Strength training is a better method because it helps you better maintain your results and weight loss. The magic of strength training happens after, outside of the workout. When we strength train and build muscle, our metabolism increases, meaning we are burning more calories throughout the day, even at rest. Burning more calories while watching Netflix?! Sign me up! I’m not saying cardio activities and cardio exercising aren’t important, because they are. Ideally we want a nice combination of both strength and cardio training, but again, focus on that strength training first!
Using these steps will help you achieve results in a healthy, and sustainable way. For more nutrition support, click here. To learn about our in-person and virtual personal training options, click here.
Blog by: Kurt Bieniek
14 E Scranton Ave | Lake Bluff, IL 60044