Lose weight. That’s what most of us want to do in the New Year. Personally, I think “gain health” should be the mantra, but that’s just not as snappy as telling it like it is: get rid of the extra weight through the belly, or the inches on the thighs. When we look at a resolution, particularly in the New Year, it’s often accompanied with an overwhelming responsibility to stick with it for 365 days, or a lifetime. There is no end in sight. Without putting a stopping point, or a goal date on a resolution, it’s easier throw in the towel before we actually realize the potential we have.
Have a *Simple* Plan
Creating a plan to stick with does NOT need to be complicated. In fact, it’s so much easier than you probably think (see below). That said, having some set of guidelines, and sticking with them is the key to success.
Shorten Your Resolution
Telling yourself that you will absolutely stick with a goal, come hell or high water, for a full year or longer takes a lot of conviction – perhaps too much. If you’ve had weight to lose for more than a year, it’s likely that you need to alter some deep-seeded lifestyle habits. Some studies suggest that people can begin shift lifestyle habits in about 40 days, or right around six weeks. What’s more, by around six weeks, you should see some noticeable change in your body.
Pick 3 Choices and Stick to It for Six Weeks!
When I work with new clients who want to lose weight, I always look at the food journal first. From there, I have them make three changes, usually determined by their body type (Apples, Pears, Babyfaces and Athletes). Not everyone is the same. I don’t believe any two people should eat the exact same foods. Below are ten tips – some work for ALL body types, and some work for specific body types. Choose three that you think you might be able to stick with for six weeks.
1) Drink Water 5 Times a Day: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it a million times, but so many of you aren’t drinking enough! End of story. Drink it first thing in the morning, before breakfast, and then 15 minutes before every meal or snack. If you’re not already drinking enough, I promise this will make a change.
2) Cut Back (or cut out) Fruit: This may sound like bad advice at first, but the phrase “eat your fruits and veggies” is often translated as “I can eat as much fruit as I want” for some people on a healthy diet. Fruit's primary form of sugar is fructose. Fructose is preferentially stored as fat if your energy needs have already been met. The bottom line is if you’re eating fruit on a full stomach (after a meal, for instance) it’s probable that the extra serving of grapes, or the big delicious apple will get stored as fat. Don’t add in other junk food, rather go for veggies instead.
3) Cut out Fructose: See point 2 about fructose from fruit. Fructose is also in loads of other foods, specifically candy, juice, soda. Even if they’re “light” foods, your body is likely to store it rather than use it.
4) Increase Fiber: I recently mentioned on my Facebook wall that every gram of fiber contains 4 calories (fiber is a carb). For every gram of fiber you eat, your body eliminates roughly 7 calories. Slowly building your fiber intake up to about 35 grams a day (from the 12 grams most people eat) could yield a significant weight loss over time. Turn to veggies for your primary source.
5) Eat High Quality Snacks ONLY: It’s easy to gain weight snacking…very easy. Chips, energy bars, sports drinks, juices, cookies, a nibble of something here, a nibble of something there. Snacking is not necessarily bad, but unhealthy snacking is. Any of the snacks I mentioned above are dead mostly dead calories your body won’t really use for much. Instead, eat nothing buy high quality snacks (just about anything that doesn’t have a label on it) and you’ll see a change.
6) Stop Eating After Dinner: Some of us are terrible when it comes to snacking in front of the TV after dinner is done. Eating after dinner - even if it’s a healthy snack – is the slow and steady path to weight gain that’s hard to shake off. Have a cup of herbal tea, or a glass of water, stay out of the kitchen and head to bed until the habit is broken.
7) Easy off Caffeine: If you’re gaining weight through your tummy, you might want to consider cutting out caffeine. This means coffee, tea and soda…all the primary culprits. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, then switch to green tea for a little while to avoid a caffeine withdrawal headache.
8) Cut out Wheat: You might be surprised by the results you get if you cut out wheat, particularly if you have a lot of inflammation. If you’ve got achy joints, or problems with inflammatory responses in the body (eczema, allergies, swelling) your body will not be able to lose weight until you get the inflammation under control. Wheat is notorious for triggering inflammation, so it’s worth trying. This means cutting out all bread, pasta, cookies, brownies, etc.
9) Say No to Cheese: This doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone, but if you’ve got weight that’s accumulating through the hips and thighs, cheese won’t help you lose weight. High fat dairy could be a culprit in storing fat through those areas.
10) Watch the Size of Your Meal: Most of us were raised with the belief that we should eat three square meals a day. I don’t think that most of us should follow that rule. In fact, if you gain weight through your hips and thighs (PEAR), try eating a light breakfast, medium-size lunch, and larger dinner. If you gain weight through your back and arms, but lean out through the hips (ATHLETE), try eating a light breakfast, light lunch and make dinner the meal of the day. If you gain weight evenly throughout your body (BABYFACE), then try eating a large breakfast, medium-size lunch and a larger dinner. Lastly, if you gain weight primarily through your midsection (APPLE), eat three square meals a day (this type only).
Looking for a plan that is easier to follow?
If you’re looking for an easy plan to follow for the New Year…a plan that includes:
- Diet Plan
- Shopping List
…then sign up for my 40 Day Shape Up. For less than $2 a day, your fitness, health and body will improve. Just take a look at what others have said about the Shape Up. You’ll receive regular updates via email from me, designed specifically for YOUR body type! Having problems losing weight from a specific part of your body? This is the plan for you!
Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.
Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!