It's that time of year! New Year's Resolutions are upon us, and though many people tire of the resolution trend and may completely buck it altogether, studies have shown that if you have a goal, just the process of having a goal makes it more likely that you'll be closer to your goal than if you didn't have a goal at all.*
With this in mind, many people's goal is to lose weight in the new year, either due to health reasons or gaining a few pounds during the holiday season. These are 10 tips I've found helpful in my weight loss journey. (And I just lost 25 pounds using them!)
1. Track your food.
I know people will hate this tip. It does take effort! But seriously, if you were budgeting money, how would you be able to budget and have a goal for a specific outcome unless you knew how much money you had coming in every month and how much you were spending? Whether you use Weight Watchers or some other system, (I prefer using the Carb Manager app), tracking your food and knowing how much you need to eat is key. (To calculate this, use a TDEE calculator here. It will tell you your exact calorie needs based on your activity level!
2. Set your macros.
Macros are the nutrient balance of your fat, protein, and carbs. But calories from these sources of fuel are not all the same! As you can see in the graphic above, fat has a lot more calories per gram than carbs and protein. So, it's also a good idea to track this if you're having a difficult time staying on track with your weight loss. I was having trouble loosing fat and discovered I was eating too much fat and not enough protein by taking a look at my app!
For myself, I use a macros balance of 30% carbs, 40% protein, and 30% fat to keep myself feeling full and giving myself what my body needs as someone who lifts weights.
3. Eat nutrient-dense food.
Eating nutrient-dense food is another tip to keep yourself feeling full and making it easier to loose weight. Cruciferous vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories, and so I do not actually track them in my app. Those free calories are awesome! And they help to keep you feeling full and the fiber helps to clean the toxins out. A few vegetables on my free list includes cauliflower, (I eat lots of cauliflower rice), broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini and summer squash.
Foods that are lacking in nutrition but high in calories include sugary and fatty foods like cakes, cookies, sweets, potato chips and more. Avoid these foods whenever possible; eliminate them if you can! (I have replaced my cookie cravings with things like these Ratio keto bars. They taste like cookies to me, and only have 1 gram of sugar per serving!)
Along with this tip could be to use supplements to help your body function at its best. If you're deficient in vitamins and minerals, that is going to impact your hunger! I take a multivitamin, vitamin D, alpha lipoic acid (for its fat burning capabilities among other things) and BioMS turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Though some people take supplements with caffeine to help with fat loss, I find caffeine's effect on the nervous system not worth it for me, especially having just recovered from long haul.
4. Prioritize protein.
Protein is what feeds our muscles and tissues, and it's a super important part of our diet! The trouble is, we tend not to get enough of it, and instead we eat too many carbs and too much fat. According to the Mayo Clinic, sedentary people should have a goal to consume .8 grams of protein per kilogram or .36 grams per pound. That would be 54 grams for a 150-pound person. However, if you're lifting weights, the protein requirement becomes much higher, as much as .6 to .8 grams per pound of body weight. That's 120 grams for a 150-pound person.
I drink a vegan protein drink I like a lot called Orgain that has pea protein. Costco will often have extra discount on this, and I'll buy it in bulk. In addition, one of my favorite amino supplements is Perfect Amino. This protein source is 99% utilized by the body! Use promo code ITCOULDHELP20 to save 20%.
5. Drink lots of water.
Many times when we think we're hungry, we're actually thirsty. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men is an adequate water intake, while about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women is ideal. If you're doing a lot of intense exercise, you'll want to drink more water, and consider supplementing with electrolytes.
6. Cut out the allergens.
Sadly there are many allergens in our world, and though allergens in food are top of mind, other allergens exist such as household cleaners and detergents, beauty products with artificial fragrances and dyes, and environmental pollution in our air and soil. That's a topic for another day, but tackling any food allergens is important for weight loss because consuming allergens will lead to fluid retention among other problems.
Many people have become allergic or sensitive to wheat and dairy due to the way these food products are processed. They may be better off avoiding dairy or switching to vegan alternatives for dairy, and if sensitive to wheat, picking other grain sources such as rice and quinoa. The paleo diet is a great one for removing allergens. In this one, you only eat hormone-free meats, fresh-caught fish, organic vegetables, and healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.
Exercise is important for anyone, even if it's just a daily walk! Exercise has tons of benefits and can help you feel your best. For myself, I've found weightlifting to be the best ROI in terms of time spent and effort, but I also do a bit of daily walking a stretching. You have to find what works for you!
8. Full up your soul with things besides food.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do more of that! It's likely that being around an encouraging friend, reading an awesome book or going to a church service is a good full-up for the soul. For myself, I love to hike in the mountains on a sunny day and spend time with our pups. Make time for the things that refresh you!
9. Engage a support system.
Having supportive relationships can help us in life and make it more likely to reach our goals. The University of Buffalo has some tips for developing good connections and the benefits of a support system here.
10. Stick to your plan.
The most important thing for weight loss is not exactly which plan you choose, but sticking to the plan that works for you. As one of my favorite health gurus says, "Consistency beats perfection." Sticking to a weight loss plan requires a lot of patience and discipline. But, if you can stick to it more often than not, you'll see big results!
Download my free eBook, 22 Things That Helped Me with Long Haul here.