Have you been trying for years to lose weight without success or just to find after you go on a diet those pounds come back? The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make real lasting lifestyle changes that include eating a healthy diet and exercise. But with our hectic schedules and everything else we have to do on a daily basis I know this can be challenging. Stress causes us to reach for comfort foods, we are distracted sometimes and don’t even realize we are overly snacking, or we eat out of habit or boredom. Take a look at some of these easy ways to lose weight that we’ve gathered from experts that can add to real, lasting changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Make a Weight Loss Plan
I know you are busy, but take a little time before getting started to sit down and make a plan. This will insure you greater success. Take an honest look at what, how, and when you eat and exercise now. It can be helpful before starting this process to keep a written account or food and exercise journal for a week or two. Lesley Lutes, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University, recommends keeping this written account to give you a look at your eating habits which allows you to take a hard look at exactly what you eat now and when you eat so you can find potential trouble areas or changes you need to make and plan ahead for them. One study reported twice as much weight loss for those keeping a food journal versus those that didn’t. After you have taken a little time to study what, how and when you currently eat, start your plan by making simply easy to accomplish goals. In other words, have a long term goal but break it down into baby steps. Research reported in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that making one small long lasting change in diet or exercise resulted in losing two times as much belly fat, a two and a half inch difference from the waistline, and quadruple the weight loss over 4 months. Dr. Lutes explains these results as being the difference between one harder goal that you either succeed or fail with and smaller, simpler goals that you concentrate on one at a time to make healthy lifestyle changes that stick with you and reward you with a higher success rate. You also want to include some type of measurement system in your weight loss plan so that you know when you have met each of your small goals. Don’t always make your goal one that relies on seeing big number changes when you weigh yourself either. This can be discouraging and sometimes for no reason. As part of your weight loss you may be developing more muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. There are also other factors that can influence what you see on your scale such as the time of day you weigh yourself, how hydrated you are, or hormones. You may be getting healthier and actually losing fat, but it may not be reflected right away on your scale. Try finding other measurements you can use such as are other people noticing a difference in your appearance, are you more energetic, or are your clothes fitting looser? Your goals might also be more concentrated towards the eating and exercise changes you have discovered through your journal that you need to make. For example, if you typically drink a soda at lunch, start with cutting that out of your routine. That is one simple goal that you can strive for and after you have done without it at that one time of the day for a while you can count that as a lifestyle change and move on to another change.
Watch Out for Sugar and Starch
At some point in your weight loss plan you need to work towards eating less sugar and starch from carbohydrates. Insulin is the hormone mainly responsible for fat being stored in the body and sugary and starchy foods cause insulin secretion. When insulin levels are lower it is easier for the body to burn fats and for kidneys to get rid of extra water and sodium which can cause bloating and water weight gain. Just reducing significantly the foods you eat in these two categories can help you drop as much as ten pounds quickly.
Plan Your Meals
A couple of other steps up your weight loss ladder that will help you develop lifestyle changes to eat healthy is to plan your meals and start making more of your meals at home. Look back at your journal and pick out the most unhealthy foods you now eat. Pick one and start by cutting it out of your diet or if you think that will not be successful then start by eating it less times each week. Then you can gradually cut down on it more and more until you are no longer including it regularly in your diet. It may be that this will be something you can still have as an occasional treat rather than an everyday occurrence. Dr. Lute also gives the tip of picking six unhealthy foods you are now eating and cut back to only eating five of them in a week’s time while upping your intake of fruits and vegetables at the same time. You can also make steps that include working on taking food from home for lunch or cooking dinner at home instead of eating out. Nutrition consultant, Ashley Koff, RD, says this allows you to have the control over the size of the meal, the quality of the food, and cut down on sugar, salt and fat as fast food and restaurant foods tend to have more of these. As part of your meal planning look at including a lean protein, healthy fat and vegetables low in carbs into each meal. Including protein in your meals can increase your metabolism significantly to help burn off more calories and help you feel more satisfied so that you snack less and allow you to eat as much as 441 calories less each day. Good vegetables to add to your meals that are low in carbohydrates include those such as spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and celery. Healthy fats to include are those such as olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds.
Resistance and Cardio Exercise
Exercise is a key in weight loss and can help you deal with stress that often leads to weight gain. At some point in your weight loss plan you will need to look at the amount of activity you have now and work on increasing it. Going to a gym is a good solution for some people as it gives them motivation and accountability to get their money’s worth, but some people just can’t get away from family responsibilities or make the extra time to get to a gym. Find what works for you with your schedule and responsibilities and make goals that include getting more exercise. If you have kids you need to get home to instead of stopping by the gym, go for a family walk or jog or a bike ride with them. If you work long hours look for ways to increase your walking at work. How about while watching TV in the evening? Get up off that couch and run in place during the commercials and for a two hour watching period you can burn off 270 calories. That can be 28 pounds a year. At work you can at least stand instead of sit which research shows for an eight hour day can help you use up 163 more calories. The best types of exercise to help with weight loss are resistance exercise such as weight lifting, exercises that use a weight band, squats or pushups, or cardio exercise such as walking, running, or swimming. Geralyn Coopersmith from Equinox Fitness says to aim for any type of movement that will increase your heart rate and leave you a little breathless. That could include dancing, taking the stairs, or walking at a brisk pace. You might include as one of your goals looking for ways to walk places instead of driving. It is reported that in the U.S. we drive our cars for around two-thirds of trips we take that are less than a mile away and use them 89% of the time for trips up to two miles. Plan your exercise walking around errands that you need to do and can walk to. If you have several places to go, look for a central place to drive to and park that would put you within walking distance of the places you need to go. Adding daily walking to your health plan can help you lose up to 17 extra pounds a year.
This means primarily water, but can also include teas. Thirty minutes before eating, drink water and you’ll find you eat less and can increase your weight loss by 44% with just this simple tip. In addition to what you do drink, pay attention to what drinks will add weight. Soda drinks can add 240 extra calories and as much as 65 grams of sugar and fancy coffee drinks can leave you with 239 more calories to deal with which can add up to 18 pounds a year if you have one every day. If you are a coffee drinker, go for plain coffee with maybe a little milk and very little sugar if you have to and you can cut that 239 calories down to around 63. If you just have to have that fancy coffee drink then start cutting down by getting a smaller size, having low-fat or fat-free milk and no syrup or whip cream. Many fruit juices can also have added sugar so get your fruit calories from the fruit itself and you’ll feel fuller and get the extra fiber without any additional sugars.
Supplement Your Weight Loss Plan
While working your way through your weight loss plan and increasing the amount of raw and healthy foods you eat, you may find it helpful to start increasing the amount of healthy nutrients you feed your body by adding whole food supplements to your diet. Especially if you currently eat a lot of processed, canned and overcooked foods that lack enzymes. These types of foods add to weight gain as they overstimulate the endocrine system and don’t give you the enzymes needed to help break them down into components the body can use. Research done at Tufts University School of Medicine found that people who are overweight often don’t have enough of the enzyme lipase that digests fat. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement before eating can help you get the necessary enzymes to break down foods so the body can use them up rather than storing them. Probiotics are another important supplement that can help your digestive system process foods you eat for the body to use and move waste out of the body. And while you are increasing your healthy food consumption, you can get a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients to help with digestion, assimilation, and metabolizing to help in losing weight by taking high quality AFA bluegreen algae supplements. AFA bluegreen algae is especially good at these tasks because of the high amounts of chlorophyll it contains that give your intestinal lining a boost in digestion and assimilation so that body cells are better nourished which helps decrease food cravings. The fiber found in AFA bluegreen algae adds to the process of removing toxic waste from the body that often comes with weight loss and changing eating habits and serves to reduce absorption of fats. To make getting all this wholefood supplementation even easier, probiotics, enzymes and two forms of bluegreen algae are available in daily packets of supplements easy to grab on the go or take when traveling. This algae CoQ10 supplement is another supplement to consider adding as you get not only the nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, but also ubiquinol, the active form of conenzyme Q10, that is a critical antioxidant cells need to function properly to provide energy. Having increased energy levels can help you implement your weight loss plan by giving you the extra boost to get more exercise and reduce food cravings.
When you’re ready to get serious about losing weight, take the time to make a plan. Think about the areas we’ve talked about here, keep it simple, use small steps, and work towards making lasting healthy lifestyle changes that will help you keep the weight off and improve your overall health for a lifetime.
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Abrams, Karl J., Algae to the Rescue