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Yep. It’s that time of year again. We break out the workout clothes, dust off the scale, and hold our aching stomachs as we dump the last of the almond bark-covered treats in the trash.
New Year’s resolutions have begun.
I’ll be honest with you. I never make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I don’t like putting a date on when I’ll ‘finally be perfectly-on-plan’ . . . because let’s face it – we never are. No matter how hard we try to start the year off by promising ourselves we won’t even lick the spoon – it rarely, if ever, happens.
What does happen is life.
The Only Two Things Needed to Lose Weight
Over the years I’ve tried new things to stay in shape. If a new diet or fad came out, I was checking it out on the internet. If an exercise machine had raving reviews and successful before and after pictures, I would consider it.
But for all the things I tried, I finally realized that I kept coming back to the same conclusion. There are really only two things needed to stay in shape – and one very important way to do them.
1. Eat healthy
And it needs to be done constistently.
Go ahead and groan, but let me be frank. Anything worth achieving takes work.
We’ve heard those two rules over and over, yet we still read the ‘magic pill’ articles in the magazines, hoping we can lose weight in half the time and without any effort. I’m sorry if I burst your bubble, but let me repeat this: anything worth achieving takes work. There are no magic pills.
When you look at the human body there are two very obvious facts. First, if we don’t eat, we’ll die. And second, we were made to move.
This is what we’ve got to work with.
5 Healthy Weight Loss Tips
Eat healthy. It sounds so simple, yet we all struggle with it.
I don’t think there’s a secret formula or a trick to healthy eating, but there are tips I feel really do add to weight loss – in a good, old-fashioned kind of way. ;) Before I share them though, let me say that if you’re dealing with thyroid, diabetes, or other health concerns that make staying in shape more difficult or requires a specific diet plan, please take that into consideration and follow your health care professional’s advice.
1.) Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods contain a lot of additives that cause intense food cravings. And it’s not just, “Hmm, I want a piece of pie” cravings but the kind of cravings that make you start a bag of chips and finish them all in one sitting – and then want more.
New York Times reporter Michael Moss says, “I was totally surprised. I spent time with the top scientists at the largest companies in this country and it’s amazing how much math and science and regression analysis and energy they put into finding the very perfect amount of salt, sugar and fat in their products that will send us over the moon, and will send their products flying off the shelves and have us buy more, eat more and…make more money for them.”
He went on to say, “Top scientists in the U.S. say that yes, for some people, the most highly loaded salty, sugary, fatty foods are every bit as addictive as some narcotics.” (source)
These food additives are also suspected to mess with your metabolism.
Renowned metabolism scientist, Barbara Corkey says, “I don’t believe that overeating causes obesity. During my lifetime I have seen tremendous differences in food preparation and food packaging….When that novelty is associated with an increase in obesity and diabetes, is it rocket science to ask whether these things are related?” (source)
Food corporations know what make their products sell, and unfortunately their bottom line is profit. It doesn’t really matter what it does to us – it can cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and a host of problems, but if it sells, they’re happy. Don’t get sucked into playing their games. Avoid processed foods and you’ll feel better, be healthier, and lose that unwanted weight.
(Note: I didn’t say *never* eat processed foods. We all know there are times we end up using them for convenience sake or because that’s the only choice before us. The key word is avoid. Make wise choices whenever you can and don’t sweat the small stuff.)
2.) Don’t do extreme dieting.
These are the diets that have you juicing for 10 days to lose 10 lbs. or eating less than 1200 calories (this also messes with your metabolism). These kinds of diets may start out with a big weight loss, but nine times out of ten it’s water weight that disappears, not the weight that you really need to lose. The more you do these extreme diets, the more confused your metabolism becomes until it’s not working at all. Extreme diets end up causing you to gain weight instead of losing it.
3.) Don’t ‘start over’ with a militant diet.
We’ve all been there. We’re five days into a super strict I-will-not-cheat-again mindset and it happens. An unexpected dinner invitation, a child offering a cookie, a little box of Valentine’s chocolates from the one we love. . . There’s always the unexpected that will tempt us into saying, “Well, I’ll just go ahead and enjoy myself today/this weekend/this vacation and I’ll start my diet again on Monday/next week/after we get home.”
It’s called binge eating. I know because it’s something I struggle with. I’d start out strong – not even a taste of something I shouldn’t have – and I could keep it up for weeks. But then I’d allow myself that one little treat and I’d crumble. My little treat would become several days or a full week of pitching it all to the wind because, after all, I’m not following my perfect plan anymore so I might as well enjoy myself one last time before I start. . . “for real this time”.
It’s a dangerous and unhealthy road to be on. Instead, follow tip #4.
4.) Do practice moderation and self-control. (Gulp!)
Ditch the diets. Forget all the fancy packaged freezer meals. Throw away the calorie counting. Then how do you ‘diet’? With a consistent lifestyle of moderation and self-control.
When you’re home, eat what you know is healthy and eat it in moderation – don’t stuff yourself just because you’re eating healthy food. Eat until your satisfied and don’t go back for more. And remember, additives in processed don’t do a thing to help you control your eating. The more out of control you are, the better they like it.
Does this mean you can never have a treat again? Absolutely not! Save that small slice of wedding cake or the modest scoop of ice cream for those special occasions that only come around once in a while. Make note of that coming event and when you get there, allow yourself a small slice. Enjoy it, be done, and go back to a healthy lifestyle.
And please – don’t hear me saying that people who are out of shape don’t have any self-control. Thyroid, diabetes, etc. are health issues that may make it harder to lose weight. This is absolutely a valid issue – just don’t make it your excuse.
5.) Do eat more protein, less carbs, and include healthy fats.
This tip is my personal favorite. I can’t say everyone will like this suggestion, but in my own experience I find that a diet (lifestyle) higher in meat, eggs, some dairy like homemade yogurt and raw milk, and healthy fats like coconut oil (which also boosts your metabolism) fills me up and I can go much longer before I’m hungry again.
I’ve also found I do better when I eat fewer carbs. Those I do eat consist of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, lettuce, etc. Starchy carbs like grains and dry beans have been soured (sourdough bread) or soaked first – and those are somewhat limited because of candida.
These healthy eating tips eliminate a lot of sugar, carbs, and food additives – the things that make you crave more. They help your metabolism run at maximum levels. It’s healthy weight loss at it’s best!
So the next time you head to the cupboard for a bag of Doritos, stop and think about these five tips and begin a lifestyle that will give you a healthy and steady weight loss. Keep an eye out next week for Favorite Weight Loss Tools: Part 1.