1. Avoid Extremes – First and foremost, for long term fat loss, avoid any diet or cleanse that involves ultra low calories, completely eliminating one macro nutrient (carbs, fat or protein), consuming only liquids, or that doesn’t allow occasional treats. In a nutshell, these extremes hardly ever lead to your fat staying off for good. The only way to achieve permanent fat loss is to slowly but surely change your life… the way you eat, the way you drink, the way you move, the way you sleep, and, most importantly, the way you think. The next 8 tips will elaborate on this. Here goes!
2. Keep Track of What Does and Doesn’t Work for You – For example, Jeff and I love sweets. Having a pie, cake, cookies or candy out on the kitchen counter does not work for us. Having treats out where we can see them several times a day means we will want to eat them several times a day. That will never change. So, we do our best to keep all treats out of plain sight so that we have to seek them out when we really, really want them. Another example is making a plan to workout that is unrealistic. If you hate hitting the gym after work, perhaps fitting in that workout before work or during your lunch break is a better plan. Be observant of your lifestyle and make changes as necessary.
3. Pack Snacks Before You Leave the House Every. Single. Day – Doing this will help tremendously in so many ways, such as:
- Keep your energy up throughout the day.
- Keep your moods on the happy and positive side of things.
- Prevent over eating at mealtime.
My favorite portable snacks are plain salted popcorn with a small handful of nuts tossed in, a sliced apple or a banana.
4. Make Sleep a Priority – When you don’t get enough sleep you are more likely to crave carbs. Reason being, your body tries to find ways to increase energy and it knows it will get it from carby snacks, especially the simple type like cupcakes, pretzels and such. It’s also hard to make good decisions about your meals and health in general when you’re tired. You’re more likely to skip a workout and eat larger portions if you haven’t had enough sleep. Besides this, less sleep means less growth hormone production, which is the body’s natural fat burning and anti-aging source. During sleep is also the time when your body makes most of its muscle repairs after a workout. Make sleep a priority. This is really, really important. Also – if you have ten minutes to take a nap during the day, do it. You’ll feel like you just had a cup of coffee.
5. Be Honest With Yourself About Alcohol – I see it all the time; people work out five to six days a week and follow a strict healthy eating plan but then end most days with one to three alcoholic beverages. They then ask why in the world they aren’t losing any fat, feeling very energetic or getting any stronger in the gym. (Sigh…) I wish I could press a magical button and make that alcohol not count. After all, it can help relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed after a long day, right? I hear you. But the truth is, it does count. The calories really add up and the alcohol itself disrupts your sleep cycles, leaving you feeling less rested the next day, even if it initially helps you fall asleep faster. Feeling less rested leads to more snacking. Sorry, I wish it weren’t so!
6. Carry Water with You Wherever You Go – And take sips all throughout the day! Our bodies often confuse the feeling of being thirsty with hunger. They feel very similar, so sometimes we choose to put food in our bodies when really all we need is a big glass of water. We are also more likely to feel lethargic and get headaches if we haven’t had enough water. Many people don’t enjoy drinking the stuff, but like other healthy habits, it can take some time to get used to. Start by adding some citrus fruit slices or mint leaves to it, if that helps. Lastly, never rely on anyone else to provide water for you. Carry it around in a reusable bottle wherever you go.
7. Keep it simple – Here are some healthy and simple foods to focus on: Roasted vegetables made with a light drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper, chopped avocado, steamed grains like brown rice, sliced fruit, a scoop or two of almond butter or hummus, oatmeal with cinnamon and coconut sugar added, lentil soup, baked sweet potatoes, a square or two of dark chocolate, crunchy flavorful salads with berries, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette added… these are all simple, straight from nature, delicious foods that are satisfying and good for achieving not only fat loss goals, but most health-related goals in general (such as lowering cholesterol or reversing type 2 diabetes.) Prep food in large quantities to last you a few days. Keeping it simple means using up less of your precious time, which is always a good thing.
8. Put your workouts on the calendar – Every Saturday morning, take a look at your calendar for the upcoming week and figure out the best days and times for workouts. Once you’ve got that decided, write or type those workouts in and treat them like you would an important work meeting or doctor’s appointment. Having a plan in writing drastically increases the likelihood of you following through and completing your workouts.
9. Be patient but persistent – And take it one day at a time. The truth is, there will be many times when you’ll want to quit and give up on your fat loss goal. Be prepared for that. It may happen every day, in fact. When those moments come up, think to yourself, “Yep, this happens to everyone, but I’m not going to quit. This moment of feeling this way is temporary; it will pass and I will be thankful that I kept going.”