Weight gain anyone? Join the club! All of us have experienced that sinking feeling of stepping on the scales to discover that we have gained a few unwanted pounds. If stress and mental exertion could help us stay slim and fit, we’d all be on the cover of Health Magazine. Unfortunately, life happens – our bodies change and our metabolisms slow down.
Perhaps life is too busy or you never feel motivated to work out. Believe me, you are not alone! However, taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle can motivate you to continue to improve this important area of your life.
Regardless of your situation, you can start to implement the following steps into your daily life.
1.) Drink Lots of Water
Start chugging some H2O! You should be drinking an 8-oz glass of water at least eight times a day (2 liters). Water helps to boost your metabolism and cleanses your body of unwanted toxins. Drinking a cup of water immediately before a meal will act as an appetite suppressant, discouraging you from eating unnecessary amounts of food.
Take this 2-week challenge! Drink a minimum of 2 liters of water a day. I guarantee you 100% that your body will respond positively. You may take more trips to the bathroom, but it will be worth it!
2.) Say “No!” To Bread
Hey, don’t get upset! I’m not talking about cutting out 100% of this deliciousness. I’m talking about moderation and portion control. (The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests having 6 oz. of grains per day).
This was a difficult step for me because I absolutely LOVED bread. But let me define the term “bread” in my vocabulary. Anything with starches: bread, pasta, chips, muffins, cookies, etc. Since my career required a sedentary lifestyle, I started to notice a change in my body. A toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and cookie for dessert started to take a toll on my physique. I gained 5 lbs, then 10, and then 20. What was happening to me?! My body was absorbing the starch, causing my blood sugar to rise. My blood-sugar levels would then crash, causing additional cravings. Then I would repeat the cycle. Voilà! A perfect scenario for weight gain! I started replacing my starchy snacks with fruit, nuts, healthy popcorn, and vegetables. Sliced apples and peanut butter became my new best friend. This step alone halted my weight gain.
3.) Get More Sleep
Sleep is one of the most overlooked necessities of life. Did you know that you can only live about 11 days without sleep? Lack of sleep causes chronic fatigue, headaches, weight gain, confusion, heart problems, and depression. Sleep is essential for a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. When your body is sleep-deprived, it released a stress hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone’s job is to provide energy for your body during the extra hours you are awake. This significantly affects your metabolism, causing your body to hold on to excess weight.
Change up your evening schedule and make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Anything less should be considered a short-term necessity.
4.) Eat At The Same Time Every Day
Did you know your body has an internal body clock that thrives on your routines? In fact, eating meals at irregular times can lead to high blood pressure and weight gain. I try to eat breakfast at 6:30 a.m., lunch around 1:00 p.m., and dinner at 6:30 p.m. If I feel hungry between these meals, I eat a nutritional snack. Although our busy lives often make it difficult to stick to a perfect meal schedule, try to remain as consistent as possible. If you know you will be late for a meal, give your body a small snack. I have almonds and nutrition bars in my desk at all times!
5.) Go For A Walk
Walking can be a very enjoyable experience! Unless it is hot, you don’t get sweaty or tired. It also is a moderate form of exercise, burning a few calories and preventing muscle loss. Walking is also one of the successful ways to relive stress, another factor that impacts your weight. A simple walk gets your blood moving and releases endorphins – a “feel good” chemical that can improve your mood and relieve stress. If a simple 15-30 minute walk can improve your life, why not give it a try!
6.) Don’t Go Shopping While Hungry
I remember getting this suggestion from a friend and thinking it was humorous! Then I decided to test out the theory. IT WAS SO TRUE! When I shopped while hungry, I picked up way more unnecessary and unhealthy food items than I initially would have. I didn’t even follow my shopping list and was tempted to buy a few chocolate bars at the checkout area. BAD HABIT! Eat a nutritional meal before shopping and be mindful of the food items you purchase. Not only will you make healthier food choices, but you will also save some money on the side.
7.) Don’t Buy Sugary Snacks
How many of you binge eat delicious snacks in the house? My hand is raised! Several years ago, I made this a rule for myself. I was not allowed to buy any sugary snacks at the store: cookies, cakes, ice-cream, pies, Little Debbie Cakes, etc. You get the point! If I wanted a sweet treat, I would have to put in the effort to make it myself. Of course, I cheat every once in a while, but determining that I would have to bake all my own treats cut back on my consumption of sugar.
8.) Stop Drinking Soda
I loved soda! I thought I was doing just fine because I only bought the small 90 calorie cans. But I was gaining weight, slowly but surely. Once again, I had to cut out another guilty pleasure.
Sodas contribute to a host of health problems – diabetes, dehydration, and obesity to name a few. Stop drinking your calories; it is the easiest way to gain weight! It will be difficult, but start making an effort to drink as much water as possible. Your waist line will thank you!
9.) Say “No!” To The Enablers
We all have enablers in our lives. Perhaps your best friend or co-worker is always bringing you calorie-packed snacks or beverages. Let them know you are very intentional about losing your weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Make it a personal challenge to say, “No!” when they offer you an unhealthy snack. They may be in the same position you are, but unwilling to take the steps to prevent further weight gain. The old saying is very true, “Misery loves company.” Stay strong and be persistent!
We all know we should eat more vegetables and cut back on the calorie-laden snacks! That could be an article all by itself! But being intentional with your fitness goals and taking the first steps to achieving them is a HUGE VICTORY!
What is your favorite weight loss hack? Let us know in the comments below. We’d LOVE to know!
If you have any questions about this article, just let us know in the comment section below! We’d be happy to help you out!