As a weight loss specialist I am constantly bombarded with questions about how to drop weight fast. My answer: you don’t want to do that. I say this because long-term, lasting weight loss cannot come from a quick fix. It takes effort, major changes, shifts in thinking, and overhaul of daily habits that have absolutely nothing to do with food.
I am much more concerned with getting my clients healthy and happy, than I am with getting them skinny.
That being said, here are five simple changes you can do today to make you healthier. Long-term, gradual weight loss may just happen along the way!
Eat Slowly (and without distractions)
Slow eating is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to your health. Eat slowly and in a relaxed state and you will experience an increased metabolism and improved digestion. You actually burn the most calories when you eat in a relaxed state. Eat without distractions and you will also learn to pay full attention to your hunger and satisfaction, meaning you will actually be able to stop when you’re full. Take a deep breath before each meal, eliminate distractions, and pay attention to your food. You might be surprised how quickly you notice you’re full.
Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is crucial to a healthy mind and body. If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, crash at 3pm daily, or get drowsy after meals, chances are you’re not getting enough quality sleep. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night, but the time is not the only factor. If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep during those hours, you risk fatigue, weight gain, and an increase in health problems. To improve your quality sleep, make sure you are sleeping in a completely dark room with no electronics on. In fact, aim to turn off your technology a few hours before bed to decrease brain stimulation. Try to let go of stress in some way before bed. This can be as simple as a few yoga poses before bed, a few deep breaths, or a 3-minute meditation. The relaxed state will help you fall, and stay asleep throughout the night.
Water plays a huge role in helping your body to develop healthy skin, improved mood, energized muscles, proper fluid balance, regular cleansing of toxins and so much more. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Filtered water is always best. I love to flavor my water with lemon or lime, as well as a splash of cranberry juice, or coconut water for some added flavor.
Ditch Processed Foods
Our supermarkets have become a display of science experiments, filled with preservatives, additives, and colorings that are bound to do some damage on your body. I challenge you to go back to basics and ditch all of the processed foods. Read the ingredient label on just about anything and you’re bound to find some words you can’t pronounce. My rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce it, or don’t know what it is don’t eat it. Stick to minimally processed foods that are found in nature. Things such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, are all without an ingredient label, and all good for you. It may be hard to give up the processed foods you have grown to love, but a couple weeks without them and your body will thank you.
Movement increases our energy levels, boosts mood, and helps to burn calories. Movement helps underneath the surface too by allowing us to release tension, relax, and center. Aim to move your body daily. This can be as simple as a walk or a yoga practice or as intense as a spin class or CrossFit.
These are simple changes, but can still be overwhelming to anyone trying to make a healthy difference in their mind, body, and life. So choose one to focus on this week - make that your week's intention and see how you feel. Then add on an intention each week until all of this is habit. Happy healthy living!
Danielle Prestejohn is an Emotional Eating and Weight Loss Specialist. She helps life-long dieters end the obsession with food so they can like the way they look and love the way they feel. For more living well advice visit her website and follow her on Twitter @DanielleGraceP.