With all the diet advice out there, it's extremely overwhelming to determine what path is guaranteed to work for you. Even here at Healthy Brown Girl where we recommend intermittent fasting to help you reach your weight loss goals, that path is still not for everyone. Finding the right option for you should not be an overnight decision and should always include your primary care physician, especially if you have a medical condition. Despite all the things you should consider when deciding on a weight loss plan, there are some evidence based things you can start today to kick start you weight loss journey.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
This is goes beyond the average "no more cookies and cake" promise that you tell yourself when your favorite pair of jeans don't button anymore. Even when we call ourselves cutting the sugar, we are not aware of all the hidden sugars there are in so many of the foods we eat. Being aware of the amount of sugar you are eating daily will help you to better manage your caloric intake. It's important to read the food labels in order to make informed decisions when it comes to how much sugar you choose to eat. A doughnut paired with your favorite large gourmet coffee in the morning can easily add 1000+ calories to your daily intake before lunch. All those additional calories each day is the easiest way to pack on the lbs without realizing what you've done. You don't need to go sugar free for life, just read the labels and opt for choices that contain less processed sugar. These changes can be small. Instead of soda at every meal, drink water, have fruit for desert instead of cake, or sweeten your coffee with natural sweeteners such as agave or stevia instead of sugar. Being aware and making the little changes in this area go a long way.
Drink More Water
If you're like me, this one is much harder than it sounds. Water is boring, tasteless, and unfortunately vital to our survival as humans. Not to mention, this tip is probably one of the most effective things you can do to manage your weight because it helps in so many areas. Drinking water over sugary drinks not only helps reduce your caloric intake but its also been shown to boost metabolism. According to a study conducted at Humboldt-University, drinking only 500 ml of water was shown to increase the subjects metabolism by 30%. Drinking water before meals can also help with portion control. There are some things you can do to make water more enjoyable, like add fruit, lemon, or cucumber. You can increase your water intake would be to increase your fruit and veggie intake. So trade that glass of tea for a glass of water if you want to drop a few pounds.
If you haven't read my blog where I share tips on How to Stay Consistent With Exercising, make sure you check it out. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy, and while it will not melt the lbs away on it's own, it will definitely help when paired with a balanced diet. If losing inches in your waistline is important to you, cardio exercise is best for reducing belly fat. Simple exercises like walking or jogging are great options as long as they are done consistently and in conjunction with a balanced diet.
There are a host of other things you can do to jump start your weight loss journey. With whatever you choose, it's important to understand that consistency is key to seeing the results you desire.
We've all made the new years resolution to lose weight and get fit. We usually show our commitment by ridding our refrigerator and pantry of all the things our taste buds love and replace them with anything green, low fat, and tasteless. Then we run to the nearest gym to sign up for a gym membership because we've convinced ourselves that this new monthly bill will drag our butt's to the gym no matter how unmotivated we are. After that we set our workout schedule and we are pumped, but by the end of January, all that motivation is gone. Sticking to the schedule and making it to the gym feels like torture. By the end of March, we talk ourselves into believing that life is really busy and that even though we are stuck paying for a membership, there are much more pressing things to attend to...like...kids...work...binge watching Insecure.
One of the biggest struggles with losing weight is staying consistent with exercise. Most of us do not enjoy voluntarily doing something things that cause pain, makes us tired, and makes us sweat. Exercise does all of those and doesn't offer immediate results to reward us for all the hard work. Now before I get into my tips for overcoming this frustrating cycle. You may even hate exercise so much, that you try to lose weight without it. I won't lie, it is possible, but you will likely need to be on a drastic diet that will not be sustainable in the long run. Not only that, but you will be depriving your body of all the benefits that exercise has to offer, such as reduced risk of breast cancer, regulation of blood sugar levels, and stress and anxiety relief just to name a few. Ill just say, losing weight without exercise is like buying a mansion, but only living out of 1 room. You are limiting your body's full potential.
But unlocking this potential doesn't have to be difficult...and here's how:
SET REALISTIC GOALS:
Your goal may be to look like Taneya Taylor, and sis, I get it because mama is fine, but I can guarantee it will take some serious hard work and dedication to even begin to see those results. While its okay to aspire to be like her, you have to know that those results will not happen overnight. A more realistic goal would be something that is more personal to you. Maybe the goal is to just be consistent for 30 days, or to lose 5lbs. Whatever the goal, make it realistic and attainable. The small wins will motivate you to keep going.
KEEP IT SIMPLE:
It's easy to feel like you gotta go hard when you go in the gym and see a room full of gym rats who workout like they actually enjoy it. Maybe your favorite fitness guru on Youtube says you should strive to workout 4 times a week and rotate between weights and cardio days where you run at least 1 mile. It sounds good, but when you actually try to put that routine in motion, it way to hard and you end up getting frustrated giving up pretty quickly. Your workout routine should be challenging, but something you enjoy. For me that is running, for you that may be walking, or swimming, or dancing. You don't have do spend hours at a gym to see results. Your workout can be as simple as a 30 minute walk 3 times a week. Once you are consistent with that, you can gradually incorporate other things, but even on the days where you are less motivated, you know you can at least walk. Learning how to exercise is a gradual process. Start simple and add on as you go.
SET A RITUALISTIC SCHEDULE:
As busy as life is sometimes, we are still able to make time for the things that we enjoy. So anytime you make the excuse that you cant workout, just know, it's an excuse. You can avoid the excuse by planning ahead. Be specific, down to the time you will start, and the length of your workout. Schedule your workout around other responsibilities in your day to make it more ritualistic. For example, wake up, eat breakfast, workout, shower, then go to work. If you make it a ritual, it makes it easier to stay consistent. Once you have your ritual in mind, schedule it on you planner, set recurring reminder in your phone and block of the time so nothing else takes precedence.
DON'T WORKOUT TO LOSE WEIGHT:
While this one sounds a little counterproductive, trust me its not. While your goal is to lose weight, you have to know ahead of time that working out will not help you do this alone. There are several other factors that go into successfully losing weight. This is just a tool in your toolkit to help you be successful in losing and keeping the weight off. Exercise has so many other benefits that make it worth your time, losing weight is just an added positive side-effect. If you focus on your weight, and don't see the pounds coming off like you want, it's easy to ditch the exercise. But if you look at exercise as something you need do to help keep stress low, reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, it becomes much more valuable.
For more information about the benefits of exercising, and how you can maximize your weight loss by incorporating intermittent fasting check out my blog on Exercise and Intermittent Fasting.