What is your goal? Is it to lose weight? Or is it to get in better shape? How about to be healthy? Maybe all of the above.
I named this article “My Rules for Weight Loss”, but really it is more about changing your habits and decisions throughout the day leading to a healthier lifestyle. I know many want to lose weight, and I understand that. But, I am much more interested in helping you to become healthy. There are so many more positives to being healthy than forcing weight off your body. I would much rather teach you how to be healthy and let weight loss be a by-product of your new healthy lifestyle, than recommend some diet pill or get skinny quick schemes that wreak havoc on your body.
With that in mind, here are my rules for weight loss. This is a major step in changing your mindset and how you treat yourself throughout the day. There are going to be many articles with suggestions to help get you on the right track, but I recommend this be your first read. I also recommend you occasionally reread this article to make sure you are following the rules. These rules will help support you while you work on other items you have read on this site. As always, be proud of yourself for putting in the work to learn these new ways, for every positive decision you make, and every time you follow one of these rules when you felt like cheating. Positivity!!!
1. Water, Water, Water
I am sure you have heard this one before. Water is what your body is primary made of, it is critical for so many functions, it aids in weight loss… the thing is, it is all true. Proper hydration is probably the single most important thing you can do. It assists with toxin removal which aids your body with running optimally. It improves your energy and reduces fatigue which assists with weight loss. I could be wrong here, but how does it go when you want to work out; but are tired, lifeless, and lethargic? I know it rarely works out for me. Water boosts your immune system helping you to avoid getting sick and again, feeling better as a whole. These are the typical things you learn about when you research the importance of water. I tend to speak in what I have experienced and how changes have either benefited or harmed me. The biggest benefit of water for me is helping me to avoid consuming unnecessary calories. In its simplest form, weight loss is calories burnt versus calories consumed. Often, dehydration presents itself in the form of hunger. You then find foods to satisfy this craving, but are not really resolving the problem and may feel hungry again shortly. This all ends with calories consumed that did not resolve the root problem and adds to your total caloric intake making it hard to burn more than you consumed. Increasing your overall water intake and drinking a glass of water when hunger starts to set in, can reduce or eliminate these cravings in many situations (before you were not really hungry). I am not saying this will resolve every hunger situation, but it can really help to avoid all of those unnecessary snacking episodes that set you back over and over again. How much water to drink? Hard to say as everyone is different. Do some research and see what you think is best, but overall, I would just say drink more. Experiment with what works for you and set goals with how much water you are going to drink in a day. Keep water nearby so it does not seem like a chore every time (keeping a large jug with you). Most importantly, stick to it! Don’t do this for three days and then fade back to the old way. Make this your new way and keep your water intake high.
2. Do Not Eat Within Three Hours of Going to Bed
Meaning, if you go to bed at 10:00, you are not going to eat anything after 7:00. Personally, when I stick to this rules I notice many benefits. The most important one is that I seem to get a better quality of sleep. Second, I don’t wake up starving. I know this seems a little bit backwards, but when I stuff my face before going to bed, I wake up hungrier. I don’t know the reason why but I have a feeling it has to do with blood sugar levels. It also helps me with weight loss. When you are sleeping you are burning far fewer calories than when you are active. Your body also needs to focus on healing and restoration. When it has to dedicate resources to digestion, it diminishes the healing and restoration activities. I hope I don’t have to explain this, but this also does not mean to ram food down your throat at t-minus three hours. Ideally you are eating a healthy dinner and either stopping there, or having a very healthy snack before the three-hour mark.
3. Chew Your Food Better
The digestion process actually begins with chewing your food. Enzymes are released that help to break down the food and alter it so that it is more easily digested. The breakdown of sugars and fats is started here. Also, chewing your food longer breaks down the food into smaller pieces resulting in increased surface area. This makes the later stages of digestion easier, can improve flatulence, and improve nutrient absorption. It also results in you taking longer to eat your meal, which leads me to…
4. Slow Down and Take Your Time Eating
I am going to try to keep this short, as I have a feeling I could blabber on for a while. These days, we tend to eat meals that are void of nutrition. When our bodies crave nutrition, they tell us to eat more, hoping for food with nutrition they can extract. We get into this cycle of always feeling hungry, eating poor quality foods, and then going back for more. This over-eating process leads to a stretching of one’s stomach, which makes it hard to feel full or satisfied, and results in even more calories being consumed. By slowing downing while one eats, they provide their body with time to begin digesting and realizing it is full. This results in eating less and a shrinking of the stomach (to normal levels). A normal sized stomach then helps to consume less unnecessary calories, assists with feeling full sooner, and helps one not to feel incorrectly hungry. Including healthy nutrient rich foods can also be a major step in the right direction towards feeling hungry less often and helping to not over-eat.
5. Completely Avoid Bad Sugars
This may be the most obvious item in the list and at the same time the hardest. There are different ways to be healthy and lose weight, but generally speaking I am a proponent of healthy balanced eating. This means having your daily calories being roughly 40 percent protein, 30 percent from fats, and 30 percent sugars. I am okay with the carbohydrates being a little higher if they are all from natural sources, but not too much higher. As I am trying to provide a list of rules I personally follow and not provide a lecture on each item, I will spare you all the details. In short, bad sugars are absorbed quickly and spike blood sugar levels. The body has to react to this which often results in an over-reaction and blood sugars going to low. You then crave sugars again and eat more. Extra sugar is converted to fat which impacts the body internally and externally. Extra fat effects effect insulin which can make these sugar swings even more unpredictable and effect the body in other negative ways. Common sugar swings like this impact resting sugar levels and cause additional problem. Yadda yadda yadda, it is bad for you and does you no favors. Long story short, I recommend that you avoid processed sugars altogether. Try to get all carbohydrates from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This means no pop, juices, and anything with sugar like ingredients such as corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, crystallinefructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, and malt syrup.
6. Drink Shakeology for Your Health
Here are a few things we know. The typical American diet has many flaws. It seriously lacks quality ingredients, has horrible low nutrition levels, is high in fat and sugar, is low in protein, and the fats and sugars it contains are heavily on the unhealthy side. In my opinion, nothing beats eating quality meals, made at home with organic products. The catch is, this is extremely difficult. If you eat three meals a day, have a job that has you away for 9 hours or more a day, and the other typical activities of life; eating solely whole, produce based meals like this all day is extremely difficult. This is where Shakeology comes in. It is a balanced, nutrient dense shake, that provides more nutrition and nutritional sources that you can realistically eat in a day. Maybe even more importantly, it is easy. Now instead of having to come up with three whole based meals a day, you only need two. I plan to write dedicated articles about Shakeology because it is something I am passionate about, but here is the long and short of it:
In one shake, you probably get more nutrition than you normally do in a day or more.
It is very easy, tastes great, and gives you time back.
Don’t freak about the cost. Replace an existing meal and compare how much you would have spent for that meal. Chances are, you will actually spend less on a monthly basis.
As mentioned, drink Shakeology to replace a meal. Have two or three hard-boiled eggs with it to bump protein and help you stay full longer.
I recommend mixing it with coconut milk. For more taste, use Silk. For a better calorie count and still good taste, use So Delicious Coconut Milk.
7. Keep Portions Small
Simply put, we eat way too much. Our bodies get used to this expecting more food during meals and snacking in-between. This becomes hard to beat and as the hunger and sugar cravings become somewhat overwhelming. Frequent meals and over-eating lead a stretching of the stomach which exaggerates the problem. All of this results in an abundance of calories taken in that are not going to be burned and you know what that means. Consuming healthier foods, slowing down while you eat, and forcing yourself to stop eating earlier will eventually result in your stomach shrinking and a recalibration of the body. I am not going to lie to you. This is not easy and your body will fight you, but in the long run it is very worth it. Stick to it, and after a couple weeks you should notice things getting easier.
8. Yes, You Need Your Exercise
I know everyone already knows this, but sometimes we need a little extra motivation. I hope you follow all of my other rules as they have worked well for me. The thing is, depending on your situation, progress can really be slow without exercise. This can zap your motivation when you don’t see the results you expected and next thing you know; you are back to the old ways. If exercise helps you burn an extra 300 to 400 calories a day, this can really hustle progress. Not to mention all of the other positive impacts it has on your body. If you struggle with exercise, start small. Go for a 30-minute walk. The only real things I recommend is that you exercise 5 days a week, and that you do what you know you can do and keep pushing yourself just a little bit harder. Furthermore, try to find exercise options that you like. Don’t force options on yourself that you hate. I for example, loving biking so I mix a lot of that in. I still do other exercises to mix things up, but I make sure a large portion is exercise options I enjoy.
Good luck, stick to it, and recognize every achievement!