I’ve always been baffled by how some people can lose weight by counting calories or following a formal diet, while others can’t. Truth is that everyone’s chemical makeup is different and we all process foods differently. Despite the popular beliefs of restricting your intake or follow a fad diet, here are some tips that will actually work:
1. Eat! Most people starve themselves and think that eating less equates to weight loss. Truth is that you’re depriving your body of nutrients and slowing down your metabolism. When you starve yourself, you also end up eating more during meals, because you’re so hungry. The key is to graze all day rather than waiting for designated times. Six small meals is better than two or three large ones. Think of your body like a fire, it will continue to burn at a good pace when you gradually add fuel to it. You will have continuous energy this way, won’t get hangry and you won’t starve.
2. Use competition in a healthy way. Most people like competition and competing against your coworkers or friends can be a good motivator for reaching your goals. Others are more inclined to be collaborative and like to boost others rather than making weight-loss a competitive sport. Decide if you would prefer competition or a support group to hold yourself accountable, rather than simply telling yourself, “I’ll lose those extra pounds someday.”
3. Tie weight loss to an event. Many use races or athletic events as extra motivation. Most people I know view health consciousness as a lifestyle. Others prefer workouts to be something to look forward to, rather than something to compete for. Like most things, it’s all about balance. Mix it up and do whatever motivates you the most. Especially on those days that you’re dragging. Making exercise a social experience has really helped me through long runs. I actually look forward to them, because they don’t seem as daunting nor do you count every step. Instead, you’re chatting with a friend the whole way!
4. Don’t avoid treats or cheat days. We’ve all seen those folks who rarely pass up on office treats or they indulge at company or family outings, they just eat it and move on right? When no food item or group is “off-limits” or “bad,” there’s no reason to feel guilty or use it as an excuse. This is a HUGE revelation for most, since we tend to banish and rediscover foods in an all-or-nothing approach. Expand your “cheat day” from time to time and I bet nothing will change. Stop feeling guilty and enjoy food!
5. Eat protein and pump iron… if you want. Muscle burns more than fat, and protein keeps you full, right? In reality, there’s a deeper realization here. Really fit people aren’t just trying to get smaller or more lean – they’re also trying to get stronger! Most people say, “I want to be a size 2” or “look great at the beach.” What you should be saying is, “I want to be stronger!” If you push yourself in terms of strength or endurance, the weight-loss and smaller clothes will come naturally.
6. Eliminate stress. All forms of stress are toxic. So stop saying things like, “My diet is ruined, pass the ice cream,” or, “I need to go run an extra 20 minutes now!” Just like number four on this list, stop feeling guilty and stop beating yourself up. It subconsciously opens the floodgate for more junk. Just stick to your regular exercise plan and no more punishing yourself, deal?
7. Don’t seek perfection. We all know those people who will gladly dump their gym bags for a last-minute happy hour or skip salad for a group lunch without remorse. They allow life to get in the way. Positive social interactions can actually help keep you healthy and thin. Get your workouts in earlier to make room for social time or try going with the flow and see what happens! You might end up having some fun, which feeds your endorphin and energy levels for the next day.
Overall, try not to over-think things or deprive yourself. Declare goals, but not “bad” or “off-limits” foods; be competitive, yet kind to yourself and allow for indulgences and life to happen. The best lesson that I have learned from other fit folks are that they aren’t preoccupied with shrinking and smaller clothes, but rather focused on growing stronger and fitter.