5 steps to changing your body. Struggling to stay on track?
Losing weight can get complicated with so much info out there but it really comes down to these 5 things. Before getting started on that there is something that you’ll need that isn’t on the list that is going to make the biggest difference and that’s getting in the right headspace to take on the following steps. Defining what success looks like and then taking the appropriate steps to move forward. Yes, it will be uncomfortable but change is necessary if you want to hit your goals.
- Are you eating whole foods that have nutritional value and density instead of processed food? Things like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, wild caught fish, organic chicken, grass fed beef, eggs, lentils, nuts instead of most of the food we generally gravitate to that’s salty and sweet. The easiest way to ensure you get the proper food is to prepare your meals ahead of time. If you can’t do that I’d recommend a meal prep service but those can get expensive. Eating whole foods is where we start with our members,
with the goal of making small changes towards a more nutritionally dense menu.
- Calories and energy expenditure. This is why we exercise and need activity, so we can sneak in some extra foods we enjoy, pizza, beer chips without paying the price of putting on weight. If you’re highly active, you have a little more margin to enjoy some of these especially if you’re consistent with your meals 5 days a week. To lose weight you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories to burn a 1lb. of fat. Think about this for a second. If you need to lose 15lbs that’s 52,500 calories. So creating a daily deficit of 250 calories adds up to 1750 calories a week. SO you will burn a pound of fat in 2 weeks. Now add some activity to that 4-5 days a week and you’re speeding up the process and well on your way. Think about that infomercial that promises you’ll lose 6-10 lbs. in 4-6weeks. Not easy but doable IF your nutrition is on point. Exercise alone will not get those results.
Now, I don’t like counting calories because it is tedious but I highly recommend keeping a food log so you can at least guesstimate what you have to adjust if you’re not seeing the results you want. Keeping a food journal is an underrated tool but something that I highly recommend if your progress has stalled so you have a ballpark of calories going in and creating an overall weekly deficit. A note to add as well that not all calories are created equal which is why we want to eat whole nutritious foods.
- Minimizing sugar intake. This goes well with the number one and two. If you have a sweet tooth you’ll have to find alternative. Dark chocolate or certain fruits can curb a sweet tooth without adding too many calories. Worst case there are protein bars now that taste better than ever that help with that. My favorite is Quest S’mores when I’m craving something sweet. Figure out what you need to substitute is you have sugar cravings. Chances are you’re sneaking in calories and sabotaging your weight loss goals.
- Sleeping 7-8 hours. You can eat well exercise 5 days a week or more and then blow it all up by getting 6 hours of sleep or less. This is the sneaky one that most people don’t realize they are missing out on and sabotaging their progress. Lack of sleep can affect hormones such as cortisol. One bad night of sleep can increase your cravings for junk food. Sleep is necessary for recovery, productivity, reducing inflammation and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re trying to lose weight or increase muscle you must prioritize sleep.
- This one is the hardest to do for many people and it is a more advanced technique but once you get over the hump it can be great tool for helping you reset if you’ve had too much too eat over a weekend. Intermittent fasting is another tool in which you have an 8 hour window to get a certain amount of your daily calories in followed by a 12-16hour fast. I would start with 14-16 hour fast and work up to a 24hour fast. The frequency can vary for the 24 hour fast. Some can do once a week while others once a month. Just remember if you intermittently fast daily, to keep your calories in check. Most people will go off hunger and eat more than they normally do.
We tend to overcomplicate this but if you can hit at least 3-4 of these you’re doing great. The process is simple but not easy. Taking action every day or even doing 1% more every day will add up. If you like setting smaller goals this approach works well.
If you’re focused on the bigger picture and can handle doing 2-3 things per week, prioritize getting sleep with consistent meal prep/ appropriate portions, sprinkling in some activity and that combo will take you closer to the getting the results you want.