By now, we think that we can all agree that there’s no magic pill or simple trick to losing weight and keeping it off. Despite this, we often get caught up in the various food trends or fad diets that pop up on TV, our social media feeds and magazines. If it’s not the latest fashionable diet that is tangling us up in all of these weight loss faux pas, it’s the dozens of new “scientific theories” that come out regularly without concrete evidence. This is probably why there are so many people who fail at their weight loss journeys and then resign themselves to whatever sad state of health they’re currently. Here’s the good news though: no matter how many trendy diets or so-called magical weight loss solutions come out, there are a handful of simple ideas and truths that, when followed, will give you a solid foundation to build your fitness and nutritional plans on. Here are three rules that you obey for successful weight loss.
Rule 1: Practice Mindful Eating
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re one of those people who have found yourself enjoying your favorite show on TV or Netflix only to discover that you’ve practically inhaled that jumbo bag of cheesy chips that you pulled out of the cupboard. It’s also possible that you’ve gone to the movies with your buddies and end up going through an entire bucket of popcorn as you gasp and wonder what plot twist is coming up next. The truth of the matter is that people who eat mindlessly are far more likely to over eat than those who set some time aside to sit down and really focus on their meal and the food their consuming. Studies published in the Physiology and Behavior journal have even concluded that those who eat while watching television are likely to consume up to 71% more calories than they usually would away from the TV screen. The same can be said about people who are accustomed to the practice of eating on the run or grabbing a meal on the go. In these cases, chances are that your body and mind will see these meals as snacks and you’ll eventually feel hungry again quite quickly.
The solution to this rampant problem, which is responsible for the weight gain of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe, is to practice mindful eating. This could be interpreted as many different things, but mindful eating can be something as simple as sitting down at the dining table for a meal. Mindful eating is all about focusing on your meal and the food that you’re putting into your body for the purpose of avoiding over eating. It’s also about appreciating the food that you are eating. If you’re tuning in to your shows and you start craving for a snack, perhaps you can reach for low-calorie and nutrient dense snacks like fruit, vegetable sticks, baked chips or air-popped popcorn. It’s also a good idea to portion your snacks out instead of bringing the whole bag back to the couch.
Rule 2: Stop Drinking Your Calories
We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but it’s necessary to say it again: sugary beverages are amongst the worst things you can consume when you’re working towards a healthier lifestyle. Most beverages, apart from water and tea, will flood your system with empty calories and enough sugar to send your system into a crazy rollercoaster ride of energy. These rollercoaster rides, unfortunately, almost always end in a horrible crash and have the tendency to trigger cravings and hunger pangs as well. These beverages aren’t just restricted to sodas though. Most juices also have unnecessary amounts of sugar added to them and bottled coffee drinks will almost always have too much sugar and fat. Apart from this, drinking your beverages also takes away the physical pleasure you get from eating and chewing, so you’re likely to still be hungry even after ingesting cans and bottles of these drinks. Once you start replacing these beverages with nature’s perfect hydrating beverage, water, you’ll see a huge change in your energy levels. Cutting out sodas, juices and other unnecessary beverages from your diet will also result in weight loss to jumpstart your journey.
Rule 3: Choose Your Food and Schedule Carefully
Trust us when we say that nutrition is king. You can lift as many weight as you want or go on hour long runs in the morning and evening, but the fact of the matter is that poor eating habits will almost always render your workouts useless. Here’s the truth: What you eat, how you eat it and when you eat it is 90% of your weight loss battle, so choosing your food carefully is definitely an unbreakable rule for successful weight loss. When we say choose your food carefully, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely deprive yourself of a certain food group. It’s more about choosing nutrient dense food and balancing that with other food groups. As a rule of thumb, vegetables should make up 60% of diet followed by fruits, beans and legumes. Seeds, nuts and other sources of heart healthy fat come next alongside complex carbohydrates. In contrast, meat, sweets, processed food and dairy should be a very small part of our diet for a successful fitness transformation.
Cooking methods are equally important with baking, steaming and grilling being great options for optimal weight loss. Frying of any sorts is strongly discouraged of course as the oil contains huge amounts of calories that are completely unnecessary. When it comes to how often you should eat, a general rule of thumb to follow is that you should never allow your stomach to completely empty. Eating small and frequent meals that are composed of nutritious and low-calorie ingredients is the key to busting cravings and keeping yourself on track. Being careful with your food and eating schedule doesn’t mean that your food has to get boring though. Experiment with your ingredients, recipes and cooking methods to find what works best for your body while also keeping your taste buds happy.