There seems to be a new message from the weight-loss industry every day. People are confused. Should you cleanse, go gluten-free or drop all grains to get the needle on the scale to go down?
After more than 12 years in the field as a nutritionist, I’ve found there are key steps that can help you achieve your goal weight quickly and healthily. Whether it’s five or 50 pounds, here are some tips to consider.
1. Water is a game changer. If you feel you’ve tried every weight-loss program and are still not losing weight, examine your water intake. Ideally, you should be drinking two litres of water each and every day. (Herbal tea counts; coffee does not.) It’s extremely hard to lose weight efficiently if your body is dehydrated.
2. Diet drinks are not so diet. I cannot tell you how many times I meet with a client who has 10 to 15 pounds to lose and is drinking two to three diet sodas per day. Research shows artificial sweeteners can promote fat storage and increase your body mass index. While some people drink diet sodas to curb a sweet tooth, it’s not a habit that will produce positive effects. Instead of drinking diet drinks, substitute water with lemon, sparkling water and sweet herbal teas, such as berry and cinnamon tea.
3. Supper is supplementary. Most people start their day off well, only to finish it not as well. In order to “hit it out of the park” with your weight-loss results, make supper your lightest meal of the day. As the saying goes, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
Of course, there will be times where you go out for dinner or enjoy a larger meal in the evening. However, keeping your evening meal on the lighter side for five days out of the week will ensure the pounds on the scale drop. Enjoy a dinner of protein and vegetables drizzled with some healthy fat.
4. One cheat does not blow the entire deal. Many feel if they cheat on their diet, they’ve blown the entire thing and may as well throw in the towel and binge. This is the opposite of what you should do! If you do have a cheat meal or drink, simply compensate by doing an extra workout, eating light the next day, dropping your grain or increasing your water intake.
5. Food and emotions go hand in hand. How you eat is a reflection of how you feel. If you’re using food to numb an emotion, soothe or self-sabotage, it’s time to make peace with it. Keeping a food journal to track your food intake and emotions will help you to discover the “why” behind what you’re eating. Until you get your behavior under control, plan out all your meals. Similar to the way you would lay your clothes out the day before, plan the food you’ll be eating and stick to it!
6. Nutrient-dense, lighter-calorie food goes a long way. When you’re hungry or on the verge of a food binge, opt for calorie-light, nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables or pureed vegetable soups. Red pepper slices, baby carrots, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes can help fill you up.
7. Follow the five-year rule. Before you join a weight-loss program, ask yourself the very important question, “Can I see myself following a version of this program for five years?” If the answer is no, don’t do it! The one thing the body hates more than being overweight is gaining and losing weight routinely. Chronic yo-yo dieting is a one-way ticket to excess weight and a sluggish metabolism. When picking your weight-loss program, make sure it’s one that can be followed long-term. If the diet is overly restrictive and impossible to follow for a long time, chances are you’ll lose the weight, only to gain it back.