“Oh sure I’ll have one more, it’s the holidays!”
Does that sound familiar?
Although it was fun while it lasted, now it’s January. Many people might be happy to return to a healthier routine, so comes the season of setting goals! And a common goal is weight loss, but how to get back on track?
#1 Nix the negative self-talk
The holiday season is a fun time of celebration and you may have indulged more than usual. Do not beat yourself up about it. Now the festive season has passed and you can move forward.
One of the worst things you can do for your motivation is put yourself down. This can zap all of your productive energy, which may otherwise be the driver in accepting your new, healthy routine as an enjoyable change – and hopefully a long lasting one! When you have these self-deprecating thoughts, think of at least two things you really enjoy about yourself or that you’ve done well on recently.
#2 Building muscle boosts metabolism
Increasing your muscle mass is the main way of increasing your resting metabolic rate. That means your body will burn more calories in general, even while resting. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So don’t skip the strength training in your exercise routine. People who just opt to do cardio are doing themselves a disservice because the cardio will help burn calories during the exercise but strength training will help you start to burn more calories throughout the rest of your day. Do both and revel in those endorphins!
#3 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” (Hippocrates)
Have you ever heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen”? Even though your exercise routine can help you burn more calories as well as build muscle tone, an equally important factor is diet. Someone could have the best six-pack around but it’s hidden under an insulating layer of abdominal fat. Consider starting with these suggestions.
Cut out sugar and processed carbs
Spikes in blood sugar stimulate insulin, which signals your body to store fat. These blood sugar spikes are also met with a counter mechanism in the body to help lower blood sugar again, but this can drive blood sugar lower than before. This cycle of spikes and dips will not only pack on pounds but it will wreck havoc on energy levels. Additionally, it might make you reach for more food or another sugary snack to bring your energy levels back up.
So for example, if you’re going to have a grain, make sure it’s a whole grain. The fiber will slow down the absorption of your food, allowing blood sugar not to spike. Fiber and other nutrients in whole grains will also sustain you for longer and keep energy levels more balanced.
Emphasize veggies, protein, and healthy fats – in that order
Vegetables are another great source of fiber, along with so many other nutritious compounds. Any dietary plan should emphasize vegetables as the largest portion on your plate.
Fiber, protein, and smaller portions of healthy fats are what will satisfy your hunger more quickly and for longer periods of time.
Protein at every meal is also a common recommendation within weight loss. Spreading protein throughout the day not only helps sustain you but it allows for more effective utilization of the amino acids to build muscle and boost metabolism. Don’t assume protein = meat either. A well-balanced vegetarian diet (not the carbatarians) is associated with a lower BMI and lower incidence of certain chronic diseases.
Other things to consider
Remember guidelines are great but to make long lasting change consider employing something like a 80:20 rule where 80% of the time you’re fantastic and do all the right things, but 20% of the time you allow yourself that favourite piece of dessert or other item that’s not so weight-friendly. Also while tracking your progress, it’s important to reward yourself with non-food rewards!
Working on these foundational aspects are so import. It’s not a miracle cure but it allows you to shed the ways of life that have potentially brought you to where you are. If you would like to change there is no better way about it besides becoming that change!
If you’re thinking that you do all of the above recommendations and are still struggling with weight management, consider looking deeper into other causes such as hormonal imbalances, toxic burden, and digestive issues. These are some of the areas in which naturopathic doctors can help you. See your naturopathic doctor for more information and treatment options.
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