Hit a plateau? Maybe you don't know where to start but want to lose weight. Or maybe you're just trying to achieve a healthy routine. Here are some simple, easy things you can practice to achieve your goals.
1. Get that workout in
Taking time to get an INTENSE workout in, even if only 15 minutes, will speed up your metabolism for the rest of the day. But it must be intense. You have to be breathing hard and your muscles exhausted for this to really produce weight loss and results. A 15 minute walk is good but won't get it done.
2. Change up your workout
Switching up your workout is seriously important. There might be something that you love to do, and I fully encourage that, but varying it and doing other things will help your body change. Sometimes stepping away from the thing you love for a period of time will help your body recover and see results when you go back to it.
Recently I did this. I love a weight program, Chalean Extreme, I've seen my body change incredibly from it. But I put it away for a while. I did some Piyo, which really helped my body recover from intense work, then I did some longer, lower impact cardio, then a different weight program. Now I've been increasing cardio intensity and started with Chalean again. My muscles have responded positively to starting this workout again more than if I would've kept repeating it without a significant break. Varying what you do produces results!
3. Eat slow and take less
Losing weight has so much to do with how much you eat. I personally have a bad habit of eating too fast and then I overeat....anyone else ever there? Getting seconds is easy when you eat fast because your body hasn't had time to tell you it's full.
Try this. Put ½ or ¾ of the food on your plate to start. Eat slower and sit after you finish the food. Wait 5 minutes before putting more food on your plate and see if you're actually hungry. You may put more food on and start taking a couple bites but then realize you are full and stop. You will start to realize that your stomach doesn't need as much food as you think it does.
4. Add in those veggies
When I get off track, it tends to be with vegetables. I turn to tortilla chips, an extra piece of pizza, or go for that dessert. Then I don't think about veggies and they dwindle. But when I plan my meals around my veggies, it changes everything. It's not difficult for me to plan meat or think of breads or pastas to go in a meal, but if my first thought is what vegetable I can dress-up, the rest of the meal falls into place around it.
For example, breakfast is one of my favorite meals to make. If I think about pancakes first, then my meal is focused on that as the main course. But when I think of veggies, I'm making kale, peppers, onions, a smoothie, etc and putting much better nutrients in my body. Then there isn't room for something low-nutrient, high-calorie, and blood sugar-spiking on my plate.
5. Say no to sweets
I'm all about moderation, so I'm not saying to NEVER have sweets. I'm just like anybody else and get sucked into the cravings if I allow my sweet-tooth to take command. Saying no with a goal in mind will help you get away from the cravings.
Recently I didn't have a dessert for a couple weeks and had a specific event I was looking forward to indulging in. It can be hard at first if you've been eating more sweets, but once you get passed a few days it's awesome to not crave. Do this with a friend and keep each other accountable or tell people so your goals are known.
6. Track your food
Using an app to enter your food can seriously help you gain perspective in how much you're eating. It doesn't mean you have to do this forever but it can give insight as to why you might be plateaued or help you realize you barely eat the proper food groups. It's very helpful when eating out because restaurants give so much food and have high-calorie dishes. If you check while you wait to order it can help you mentally decide to split a meal with someone or cut your plate in half and box the other half right away. This can literally save you 600 plus calories in a meal (I know cause I did this recently!). Once you track your food and understand what you're doing, you can taper off tracking.
7. Stop eating before 7
This one really helps you lose weight. Most of people's food "mistakes" happen at the end of the day. If you don't eat enough food throughout the day your body will be hungry and you'll reach for whatever you can find. I don't hear of many people steaming broccoli at 10 PM. Maybe you had high-sugar snacks/meals; your blood sugar spikes and dips causes your body to crave and signal for more sweets. We know what eating chips and candy bars in the evening does to the body....definitely does not produce results you want.
When you have more time between your last meal of the day and your first of the next day (within a certain limit) your body refuels and burns more fat. Plus, your body needs 2-3 hours to burn the meal you previously ate so it isn't turned to fat (unless it is followed with exercise). So eating at 9:30 and falling asleep 30 minutes later means that food will be stored in the body overnight, which is not helpful to weight loss. I try to stop eating before 7 and allow my body to digest and burn the food off before I fall asleep. It's a great practice to make a habit.