To find out reasons WHY you may have had trouble with weight loss in the past, click here for an article to figure out what BARRIERS to weight loss you may have.
Some of the suggestions below may be ones you've already heard of before, but somehow it's the simple things that we forget to do. Implement what works for you, making changes slowly to be successful.
Water is essential to help transport nutrients and remove wastes from cells, and often sugar cravings (or feeling unfocused at the computer) are signs of WATER deficiency. A recent 12-week study showed that participants who drank 2 cups of water before meals lost about 15.5 pounds compared to non-water-drinking dieters who lost only 11 pounds.
Try this tip: Drink water first whenever you think you are hungry, then wait and see if you’re still “hungry” after 10 minutes. It helps digestion (and hence speeds metabolism) immensely as your body needs water to release several QUARTS of digestive juices for meals. If you are short your requirement, you will feel bloated and tired. Carry water with you everywhere!
Ways to make water more delicious: Make your own fruit-infused water by squeezing a section of lemon, lime, or orange into your water. Add a few drops citrus/orange/grapefruit essential oil to the water. My favorite: Pour bottled lemon juice into your water and add stevia/Truvia to sweeten = lemonade.
How much water do you need?
Take your body weight and divide in half; that is how many ounces of water daily you need; not to exceed 100 oz a day. So if you are 150lb, 75 ounces a day would be 9 cups of water. 2-3 quarts per day is the average requirement.
NOTE: Caffeine such as in sodas, coffee, Lipton tea, and black tea are dehydrating and require you to drink 1.5 times the same amount of water to counteract the diuretic effects.
Timing Your Weight Loss: 2 Methods
Eat during a 9-hr window of time during the day. Nothing else the other 15-16 hours. This allows your body to start burning fat after about 10-12 hours of not eating, and if you can stave off eating for another 3-5 you can really burn fat then. What this means for most people is to not eat until late in the morning, and finish supper by 7:00; OR eat at 9, noon, and 6.
If you tend to “binge” on the larger meals, in that case break up your meals into 4-5 smaller ones throughout the day to keep blood sugar up. This could mean:
7:30 An egg with salsa, 10:00 String cheese & an apple, 12:30 bowl of soup or a salad; 3:00 handful of almonds; 6:30 Chicken & green beans & small serving of potatoes.
This also is kind on your digestive tract as it doesn’t get overloaded with huge meals daily, in which it tends to store the extra as fat.
Easier portion control. Change the size of your dinner plate to a salad plate (and have a second plate for salad!).
Slow down. Give your brain 20 minutes to register “fullness” before you decide to reach for seconds. A lot of times we “think” we need seconds when—in hindsight—that was what took us “over the edge” and made us feel stuffed. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register fullness, and most people eat so fast that they overeat without realizing it. Also SIT DOWN when eating--ever notice how easy it is to overeat on the run, or standing up?
Eat real food. Ever notice how it’s easy to overeat “low-fat” junk food? That’s because our bodies need real fat and low-fat junk doesn’t cut it. Quality fats are needed to rebuild brain cells, build hormones, absorb minerals & vitamins, and provide long-lasting fuel. Whole-fat desserts like cheesecake, full-fat ice cream, and gooey, butter-laden brownies. They may have more calories but often a tiny portion of the real thing satisfies and keeps us from overeating. TIP: Chew slowly and enjoy each bite thoroughly…sometimes only a few bites are necessary!!
Adjust your plate to follow the 1/3, 2/3 rule. Protein promotes fat-BURNING while starches & sugar promote fat-STORAGE. To keep the ratio tipped in favor of protein, divide your plate into thirds and fill 1/3 with a protein such as chicken or beef, 1/3 of a healthy starch such as potatoes or beans, and 1/3 a “neutral” item such as non-starchy vegetables, i.e. broccoli, green beans, or a lettuce salad. So 1/3 can be a starch, and 2/3 should be made up of a protein and non-starchy vegetable.
Other examples include:
Salmon, lentils, and salad
Steak, baked potato, green beans
For “mixed” main dishes such as casseroles or one-dish skillet suppers, just make sure there is an equal amount of protein (meat/cheese), starch (whole wheat pasta, rice, potatoes, beans), and vegetable (tomato sauce, peppers, peas, broccoli, etc). If you want dessert really bad then either skip or eat very little of the starch at the main meal.
Snacks should be balanced also but don’t need to contain as much protein:
String cheese and an apple
Peanut butter & raisins on celery
Blue corn chips and salsa / guac
Almonds & dark chocolate.
Carrots and hummus
Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel weak from restricting carbs, increase ratio slightly and see if you feel satisfied then. Different blood types require different ratios. Type As can handle more carbs than Type Os who need more protein/fat, for example. Type Bs need a balance of both. Check out Eat Right For Your Type book for more information.
I always shudder to think of some of the “home-cooked” meals I’ve been served—GREAT-tasting food, but WAY too high in the starches! One time I counted at least 5 starches: Rolls, corn, noodles, mashed potatoes, and dessert! Needless to say most people at the table were quite overweight.
Dealing with Cravings
Craving sugar? Try exercise instead. Exercise not only burns fat but lowers food cravings. Many times I’ve thought I was hungry, but exercised instead either at home or at the gym which totally took away my food cravings. Sugar/starch cravings are often a sign of LOW SEROTONIN, which is RAISED quite effectively by exercise.
Grab some sugar-free gum after a meal if you still have the munchies. It gives you the satisfaction of chewing on something sweet without any calories. Be sure to get the ones sweetened with xylitol at the Health Food store though—regular brands contain artificial sweeteners which can give you a headache. Try Spry or Peelu gum, both available in different flavors.
Remember the 80/20 rule: You know how when you vow to give up something it makes you fixate on it all the more? If the thought of completely cutting out doughnuts drives you to immediately eat 3, give yourself the allowance of having, say, 1 a week. Some people have had success in “rewarding” themselves for sticking by their healthy diet by indulging in 200 calories a day of their favorite food. (As long as it does not contain partially hydrogenated oils or massive amounts of sugar, and the scales show continued progress.) On the other hand sometimes even the tiniest bit of sugar causes cravings for more and sabotages efforts. Experiment and find what works for you. (Sometimes I find that just by mentally giving myself that permission, I relax and really don’t crave it after all. And I get satisfied by just a nibble or 2 once a week instead of the whole thing.)
Don’t eat after 8 p.m.
Research has found that for every 100 calories eaten after 8 p.m., people gain ¼ lb! That means a 400 calorie bedtime dessert/snack could put on 1 lb a day!
Weigh yourself daily.
Weigh in the morning, after using the restroom, so that you have a consistent gauge of how the previous days’ eating habits affected your weight. AND so you can stay on top of it quicker! (A high-sodium meal can cause water retention however which can make the scale go up 1-3 lbs the next day; in this case I usually drink a coconut water or the healthy Body Armor Lytes sports drinks for their potassium which counteracts the sodium and helps my body release the excess water.)
Tips for Dessert Cravings/Evening Snacking
Trade out the munchies in the evening.
I know someone who lost 3 lbs in the first 2 days by changing what he snacked on in the evening. Instead of corn chips (even GMO-free) or potato chips, he ate grapes and banana chips. Grapes are mostly water anyway which fills you up, and you can have a whole cup for only 120 calories. Banana chips (available in the dried fruit section of grocery stores) have a satisfying crunch, are coated with healthy coconut oil, and supply potassium to counteract high-sodium meals.
Sometimes a hot tea is all that is needed; it relaxes and is hot and filling.
Sweeten with stevia for a calorie-free indulgence.
Allow for an after-dinner indulgence.
If still craving that “something” after a meal, try snacking on some quality dark chocolate. Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips contain only 80 calories and 6 g sugar for 16 chips, and they are delicious. That with a bit of fruit or banana chips (available in the dried fruit section of Grocery stores) after a meal helps satisfy cravings.
Try Quest Protein bars
Which are AWESOME for snacks and satisfying that "dessert" craving...with tons of fiber, and sweetened with stevia, these are truly amazing and totally satisfy the sweet craving.
NOTE: About half their flavors are sweetened with artificial SUCRALOSE. Avoid those and choose these safe flavors sweetened with stevia which include: chocolate peanut butter, double chocolate chunk, banana nut muffin, coconut cashew, cinnamon roll, strawberry cheesecake, and lemon pie.
Update: Kirkland brand at Costco now has their own version of Quest bars and these are, thankfully, sweetened with stevia entirely.
A lot can be summed up in these simple premises:
Eat only when hungry.
Eat real food.
Stop when you’re full.
Somehow these seem so rational, yet when if you analyze yourself how would you rate yourself on all four of them?
You should not have to starve when dieting or implementing these changes. At your nutritional consultation we can help determine YOUR body's correct ratio of fats, protein, and carbs, to eliminate cravings and optimize energy!