For many folks, weight loss was their stated New Year's resolution. If that’s you, then how’s it going now that the novelty of it has worn off and you’re in the daily grind of it? Have you seen the results you were expecting by now?
If not, don’t get discouraged. Keep at it and bear in mind that there are some roadblocks that typically get in the way of sustainable weight management. In fact, there are many aspects that can interfere with successful and maintained weight loss, but here are a few steps you can take to help keep your weight-loss momentum.
Eat real foods—those that are as close to nature as possible. I’ve always said that you need to eat to live and not live to eat, but it’s crucial that you eat the right kinds of foods—foods that are grown as close to nature as possible—with the least processing and without pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, GMOs and much more.
The truth is that whole, unprocessed foods are what we’re designed to eat and what speak our bodies’ love language. Food is more than just energy and calories. It actually contains hidden information that communicates to your genes, directly affecting your metabolism, weight, appetite and much more. So, eat real foods—just enough and not too much.
Along this same line, you’ll need to avoid processed foods. They’re packed with unhealthy fats, sugars, sodium, carbs and other unhealthy ingredients. Likewise, they’re very low in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. They speak negatively to your body, making your metabolism sluggish, increasing your weight and appetite, allowing you to retain excess fluids and visceral fat as well as unhealthy cholesterol and insulin levels. Some particiularly unhealthy processed foods' ingredients to avoid are high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, sodium, etc. They can keep the pounds packed on and compromise your health.
Eat every three to five hours. Keeping your insulin levels in balance is important for weight management, and eating every three to five hours helps keep a steady stream of glucose in your system—thereby keeping energy and metabolism levels up as well. In turn, this helps keep your weight under control. By contrast, starchy or refined carbs and other processed foods cause insulin and glucose levels to spike, increasing later hunger and the total amount of food consumed at your next meal. Have healthy snacks on hand to help you maintain eating every three to five hours. (While I'm on this topic, I have been looking further into the timing of eating and weight management. I'll keep you updated on that as I uncover some findings.)
Get regular exercise. Adding regular exercise you enjoy can not only burn calories, but it can also build muscle, which burns more calories than fat does—helping to keep you leaner than you would otherwise be. Thirty minutes to an hour of exercise five days a week should be adequate.
Get enough sleep, but not too much. People who sleep fewer than six hours per night have higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite—especially for high-carb, high-calorie foods. Lack of sleep also raises cortisol levels, and cortisol is a stress hormone that can pave the way to weight gain. By the same token, getting too much sleep—more than eight hours per night—can put on the pounds, too.
So, how’s it going with your weight management plan? If it’s not going so well, stay encouraged and remain on track—and be sure to implement these weight-loss momentum tactics.