- Plan ahead! When you don’t have anything prepared or you’re on the go, convenience is going to mater more than what you eat. That’s why fast food is never going away. If you are on the go, pack a lunch or know of some restaurants that you can get a balanced, nutrient dense, low calorie meal. If you don’t cook every day, cook extra when you do cook and save it for meals later in the week. If you need to take it a step further, plan out a menu for the week.
- Eat every 2-4 hours. At every sitting, eat slowly until 80% full. If you eat too fast, your body won’t have long enough to get the signal that you are almost full. Eating smaller, more frequent meals should keep your metabolism going.
- Watch the sugar content of your food. Insulin is an anabolic hormone in your body that takes up sugar from your blood and stores that sugar in the form of glycogen in your muscles and liver. You can only store so much glycogen and the rest is stored as fat. Keep your insulin levels regulated by eating foods that digest slowly, avoiding any spikes in your insulin from sugary foods that digest fast.
- Inflammation in your body leads to weight gain and prevents you from losing weight. Inflammation not only leads to increased cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but it causes you to hold more water in your cells and you will feel more sluggish and bloated. Try to avoid processed food as much as possible. Even foods that are reduced calorie or low fat are processed. Eat more whole foods like vegetables, fruits and lean meats. Avoid soda and sugary drinks, drink more water. Decreasing inflammation helps your digestive track, if you have a healthy gut, you will be able to better digest your foods and get the nutrients you need. You will then have more energy and feel better. Weight loss will happen when you are healthy!
- Drink lots of water. Don’t leave the house without a bottle of water. Drink constantly throughout the day. Dehydration can increase the chance of soft tissue injuries when you are active, decrease your mood, make you feel tired and sluggish, and many other processes in the body depend on it.
The idea of calories in and calories out is only part of the picture when trying to lose weight. You should still try to have an idea of how many calories your body needs and how much you actually eat, but all of the factors mentioned above are more important than how many calories you consume. Obviously if you eat too much, you are going to gain weight and you are probably ignoring rule #2.