Feel Better, Sleep Better, Perform Better
Changing lifestyle habits can be challenging. But the following 7 tips simple as some of them may sound can have a profound effect over time if you incorporate them into your life:
- Exercise: Include exercise on your to-do list a few times a week. Exercise not only burns calories but also has an appetite-regulating effect on the brain. Weight training is an added boost that helps you lose weight and keep it off. By adding lean muscle mass you’ll burn calories at a faster rate even when you’re at rest.
- TV and Eating: Don’t read or watch TV while eating. Mindless eating makes you eat more. When you eat, do nothing else. Stop eating when you feel 80% full.
- Lean Protein: When you add low-fat protein to your diet, you short-circuit the appetite control mechanism (appestat) in your brain. Compared to carbs, protein causes a very gradual rise in blood sugar, which causes a gentle rise in insulin levels. Your hunger is satisfied over time. Switch red meat for chicken and fish.
- Skipping Meals: Skipping breakfast or lunch to reduce caloric intake is a bad idea. All it does is lower your blood sugar, which brings on cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie food. Eat 5 to 6 smaller meals per day rather than two big ones. This will keep your blood sugar on an even keel and will help you reduce cravings.
- Fruit and Veggies: Sneak in more fruit and veggies. Compared to calorie-dense starches, grains and processed sugars, an average piece of fruit only contains 60 to 90 calories. However, beware of dried fruit. Raisins, for example, have 260 calories in a mere half-cup.
- Natural or Processed: Processed foods contain preservatives, sugars, and fats that make us gain weight. They’re usually found in boxes, cans, packages or wrappers. Did This Food fly, swim, or walk; did it come from a tree, from a plant, or from out of the ground? If it doesn’t, it’s probably going to make you gain weight.
- 90/10 Compliance Rule: Depriving yourself from your favorite foods is a recipe for weight loss failure. It makes you obsess about food, and for some people that leads to binge eating. So be 90% compliant with whatever regime you’re following, and don’t worry so much about what you’re eating 10% of the time. No more guilt from cheating. And the pressure of perfection is off your shoulders. However, try to stay away from the “anything-goes-one-day-a-week” trap. Of course, you may prefer a structured program rather than slugging it out on your own.