With the end of Christmas and the holidays, many of us could probably stand to lose a few pounds around our midsections. Don’t make me say the “D” word (Diet). Most of take the wrong approach to weight loss. Here are 5 easy tips to help you shed those unwanted pounds and get you on your way to happier healthier lifestyle.
#1 Eat More Not less
Yes it is true that you need to monitor your caloric intake, but most people make the mistake of cutting out meals. This puts your body in a starvation mode and causes it to store calories rather than burn them. According to Mind Lab Pro, calorie restrictive diets can decrease resting metabolic rate. The goal is to boost your metabolism and keep the fire burning. Your best bet is to eat 4-5 meals a day. These are small meals not large portions. Snacking in between is allowed if you think healthy (carrot sticks and other high fiber snacks low in carbs). Studies show that an increase in your fiber intake can help with weight loss and it will improve heart, colon and digestive health.
#2 Avoid High calorie snacks and beverages (skip the smoothie bar)
High calorie snack cause insulin spikes and if you don’t burn it right away, it gets stored as fat. Try to eat foods that have a low glycemic index. This is foods that burn slow. You could compare this to paper verses coal burning in a fire. Avoid foods like white bread, white rice, sugar, etc. Cut out the smoothies too. Although they seem healthy, they are loaded with high glycemic index carbs.
#3 No Soda or Diet Drinks
A study from the University of North Carolina found that we consume 450 calories a day from beverages, nearly twice as many as 30 years ago! This increase amounts to an extra 23 pounds a year that we’re forced to work off—or carry around with us. If this is true then why not drink diet soda instead, right? Wrong! Just because diet soda is low in calories, doesn’t mean it can lead to weight loss. it’s just as important to actively drink the good stuff as it is to avoid that bad stuff. If you’re downing five or six sodas a day, that means you’re limiting your intake of healthful beverages, especially water. Other studies suggest that toxins contained in soda and diet soda can build up in our system and cause an inflammatory response which can be responsible for joint pain and other aliments. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda are known to cause side effects which include: dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, memory loss, and mood changes. Bottom line -Diet sodas do you no good, and they might just be doing you wrong.
#4 Hydrate (water the good stuff)
Today’s lifestyle of carbonated beverages, caffeinated drinks, fast foods, fatty foods, high carbohydrates, high sugars, and low nutritional content all contribute to the fact that we simply do not supply our bodies with the essential amount of water to aid in proper digestion, and keep our body’s natural health in balance. Carbonated and caffeinated drinks actually deplete the body of its vital water.
According to the July 2004 Mayo Clinic Research Report (together with the Northwestern University Nutrition Research Department), water is the most important nutrient that our bodies need to properly function. Water is essential in the natural metabolic, digestive, and cellular regeneration processes. Nearly ALL of the major systems in our body depend on water!
Water is considered an essential nutrient because it must be consumed to satisfy metabolic demand. It is the catalyst for a majority of enzymatic based functions including those involved in nutrient digestion, absorption, transport, and metabolism. Inadequate intake of water compromises cell functions by contributing to electrolyte imbalances, contractions of plasma volume, and by impairing the body’s ability to regulate body temperature. Research has found that loss of water amounting to 2% of the body weight can impair our work performance.
The Institute of Medicine, based in Washington D.C. recommends that men consume 3 liters (13 cups) of total water a day and women consume 2.2 liters (9 cups) of total water per day. These guidelines can be summarized for men and women with the “8 x 8” rule: Drink eight (8) glasses of 8 ounces of fluid a day.
#5 Stay Active (AKA Exercise)
Exercise increases your metabolic rate. The more you move about, the more calories you will burn. Walk whenever possible. It may surprise you how much research has been conducted on the health benefits of brisk walking every day for 20-30 minutes. While there are a number of excellent ways to give your body the exercise it needs, walking is the most natural and normal activity most people can do. Research has shown that walking (brisk or power walking) can be more beneficial and effective to overall health than running a marathon or extended running workouts.
Did you know that Aerobic exercise of any kind has the power to calm jangled nerves and improve bad moods. When it is done every day, it can enhance self-esteem and combat depression. Research has shown that a brisk 20 –to- 30 minute walk can have the same calming effect as a mild tranquilizer.