Top 5: Rules for Weight loss
I had a fabulous weekend racing the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco Sunday. It was sooo much fun. I didn’t PR, but I did way better than I had anticipated. I was pretty proud of myself. And guess what? In all that racing excitement I decided to sign up for a marathon. I’ve done a marathon before, several years ago, but I’m ready to do one again. I signed up for one in April so I have plenty of time to psych myself up for it. Woo!
Now on to the reason for this post. It’s been almost a year now since I started my journey to better health and I’ve learned a lot along the way; including a lot about weight loss. Now, if you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I have very strong opinions when it comes to the topic of weight loss. I’m not for fad diets, quick fixes, or easy answers. Losing weight takes a lot of hard work, but more than that, patience. It takes time to lose the weight that took years to put on. But with that knowledge, there are 5 rules that I like to adhere to, not just for weight loss, but also better health in general.
If you’ve recently decided to take charge of your health but don’t know where to start, these 5 tips are the first place you should look. They are simple, though not necessarily easy, and will offer you results.
Here they are, my Top 5 Rules for Weight loss
See, I told you they were simple. Nothing “new-fangled” about these. But they do take effort, and they will be hard. I will never promise that your journey will be easy; only that it will be worth it.
Let me give you some short explanations for each rule.
1. Eat whole foods, only when you’re hungry
What does that mean? Vegetables, fruits, meat/fish/eggs, nuts/seeds, whole fat dairy, whole grains. That’s it. No sugar, white flour, no ding dongs, no McDonald’s, no nothing boxed, bagged, or anything with any added preservatives, artificial flavorings, etc. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store, or even better, go to your farmer’s market. And only eat when you are hungry. Not bored, not angry, not excited, or nervous. Just hungry. And stop when you are full. Sounds simple, but takes effort, patience, and practice. It is possible though. Take baby steps and you will succeed.
2. Set goals and keep track of progress
Set short term and long term goals. Your short term goals could be daily, weekly, monthly, or all 3. Your long term goals should be a bit more lofty, but no less attainable. Want to run a marathon? Long term goal. Want to eat 5 servings of veggies every day? Short term goal. Want to lose 50 lbs? Long term goal. Want to lose 10lbs this month? Short term goal. Track your progress by writing down your goals, creating an action plan to reach that goal, and then recording your progress. I’m not one to say you should or should not weigh yourself daily. I think weight is only one measurement of success and some do better with a daily number, while others do better by weighing weekly or monthly. It’s a personal preference thing. I personally do it weekly. It’s also smart to record progress through size measurements (waist, thigh, arms, etc), how you feel in your clothes, and how you feel physically and emotionally. By tracking all of these things you won’t get sidelined by a slight slow down in weight lost; when you see you lost an inch on your waist, or that your pants are baggy, or that you have more energy than every before, the scale doesn’t matter as much.
3. Move every day
This sounds lofty, but it really isn’t. It just means that you need to start shifting your mindset from a sedentary one, to an active one. Take the stairs, park at the farthest spot, stand while you’re on the phone. All these little things add up every day. An exercise routine is very important and should be utilized, but working out 30 minutes 5 times a week will mean nothing if you are sitting all the rest of the time. Add movement to as much of your day as possible. If you are new to an exercising routine and are intimidated and don’t know where to start; try walking 30 minutes every day. Do that for 1 month. After that, add my beginner’s challenge. After that, the skies the limit. Once you start moving your body every day it will become habit, in fact, you’ll feel yourself craving the activity. A body at rest stays in rest. A body in motion stays in motion.
4. Get a full night’s sleep (7-9hrs)
This is one of those “rules” that gets brushed to the wayside too often. Sleep is extremely important. It helps regulates hormones, and metabolism which can affect your stress level, cravings, hunger level, and much more. Sleep is a time for your body to recover and detox. Exercise breaks down muscles. Food fuels muscles. And sleep builds muscles. Your body needs sleep to put all those great workouts to use. And by getting enough sleep you’ll feel yourself reaching less often for simple carbohydrates and sugars and more able to handle the stresses of the day. I can not say this often enough. Sleep is very very very important to your weight loss goals. A daily sleep schedule is the best for your body (our bodies do best on a “rhythm”) so try to wake and sleep as close to the same times as possible every day. Create a routine. It will make it easier to fall asleep and wake up in time for that early morning sweat session. 🙂
5. Drink lots of water
Just as sleep helps our bodies to recover, so does water. It is the great detoxifier. It will help you regulate your hunger levels (a lot of times we misjudge thirst for hunger) and will keep your body functioning at it’s absolute best. There really is no set amount of water you should drink every day (depends on weather, activity level, your size, etc) but it is best to sip throughout the day versus chugging a huge glass every couple hours. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere and sip every few minutes; your body absorbs better this way. Filtered water is best. There are higher regulations on tap water than bottled, and a filter takes out any unwanted chemicals from the tap water. There are even bottles now that filter your water as you sip. A good way to gauge if you are well hydrated is through your urine. Clear or very light yellow is best. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are.
These rules are nothing new and you have probably heard them before, but they are important to remember as it’s very easy to get sidetracked by quick fixes and easy solutions. Weight gain took time, and so will weight loss. So eat well, move daily, get plenty of rest, drink water, and keep track of your progress; your body will take care of the rest. No it’s not easy. It’s not necessarily fun. But if you stick to these rules you will see results. There will be progress. And as you see that progress you will be more motivated to workout harder, eat better, and with that you will see more results. See? Progress creates progress. Start small and work hard and you will reach your goals. I’m proud of you and know you can do it.
Love and Joy,