1. Sleep. Make no excuses, it’s one of the most important habits you can make for yourself in regards to feeling better, performing better, improved health, not to mention your results in the fat loss department. Adequate sleep falls within the range of 7-9 hours; preferably at least 8. “Sleep has the ability to “reset” metabolism impacting hunger hormones, stress hormones, and muscle building/fat burning hormones. Sleep is a prime determinant of whether you can maintain sustained fat loss. Adequate sleep quality and quantity allows the perfect situation for lasting weight loss: lower calories and hormonal balance” – Dr. Jade Teta.
Drinking about half your body weight in ounces each day is a good rule to follow or simply aiming for 3 Liters of water a day. I don’t care if you don’t like water, if you don’t like having to go pee every hour, or if you just plain forget to drink it. This is a non-negotiable. DO IT ANYWAY. It really does help your body in so many ways. Here’s a simple calculator to determine how much water you may need: H2O Calculator
3. Exercise. Doing some sort of movement, activity daily or at least 4-5 times a week is ideal. That can be anything from walking, jogging, traditional weight lifting, yoga, pliates, CrossFit, kickboxing, running, cycling – or a combination of any of these. Basically, whatever you enjoy doing and that you’ll do consistently; DO IT. Physically moving your body, giving yourself a chance to breathe heavy, sweat, get your heart rate up, and use your body for what it was made to do: WORK. There’s no one magic exercise regime or routine. Stop analyzing what the “best” one is and just start by doing something.
4. Protein. Eating a protein with every meal is important for a number of reasons. Again, let me stress that not one protein is superior to another – they all have their place in appropriate amounts in an overall balanced diet. Protein not only helps maintain your lean muscle mass but it also increases satiety, shuts down your hunger hormone ghrelin, and it doesn’t significantly increase your insulin as compared to other macronutrients – meaning; you’ll be fuller longer and have reduced cravings.
5. Fiber. Fiber helps keep us fuller longer by slowing the secretion of certain hunger hormones after we eat, can lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and helps maintain healthy bowel movement. Eating at least 30 grams a day is a great place to start. Preferably the majority of this would come from veggies, fruits along with whole, unrefined grains, and legumes. Obviously the more you fill up on fiber from veggies, the more vitamins and minerals you will also be getting and the less you will need from outside, fortified sources.
6. Processed Foods. This one’s easy. Buy less of them daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Me telling you to stop buying them completely and going “cold turkey” would probably set you up for a bingefest later. But learning to ween yourself off sugar and packaged foods one item at a time is a fantastic place to start. Replace fresh foods (not out of a package or can) with one processed food item you typically eat, one meal a day and then increase from there each week and you’ll be making better choices before you know it!
That’s it. These are my “Non-Negotaibles” aka: “Big Rocks” that I suggest addressing BEFORE you start jumping to conclusions or overwhelm yourself with the small stuff . Once you have these habits in place and you still aren’t seeing the results you want; then I would encourage you to seek help or start implementing the next steps. Sure, there are a lot of other things I could have mentioned like, supplements and sugar intake BUT assuming that you are properly hydrating, getting adequate sleep, eating enough protein and fiber in your diet –the sugar should take care of itself. Most of us turn to sugar because we are lacking in other areas of our diet and/or life. Master these basics. Once you’re ready to take it a step further, you can start tweaking things. And when you become frustrated with your progress; refer to this list again or reach out for help. I’m always an email away.
I also love this article written by Jade Teta from Metabolic Effect: The Gray of Fat Loss.
Give it a read if you have time.