No….its not eating cupcakes.
Believe me I wish it was because then weight loss would be so easy you wouldn’t need to read articles like this!
Around this time of year, most people are inspired to become healthier, and use that brief moment of inspiration to completely revamp their lifestyle. They cut out gluten, they cut out dairy, they start juicing, and they join Soul Cycle.
Unfortunately, 90% of them will return to their old ways within 30 days of making those changes. Completely over-turning your lifestyle in a short amount of time doesn’t work. Lasting changes require planning and patience. Below is a list of small steps you can take to lose one pound per week. Overtime, they’ll lead to compounding weight-loss, as long as you incorporate them into your daily routine slowly.
Start Walking (especially after a meal)
…even if its raining.
Walking has been shown to reduce the amount of insulin our body needs to clear glucose out of the blood when we eat. Insulin is a hormone that our body uses to store glucose as glycogen or body fat. More insulin released means more body fat stored.
Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria, imperative to a healthy digestive tract. The bacteria in our intestines, also known as our “gut flora”, play a huge role in our metabolism and how we absorb nutrients.
Get a Standing Desk
Most companies allow a certain amount of customization when it comes to an employee’s private work space. Those fortunate enough to work in a start-up culture like me, are likely to have more experience with such employee perks. Besides improving circulation and joint-mobility, standing desks can help burn an extra 200-400 calories per day.
Cut out Soda, Juice and Other Sweetened Beverages
I would argue that the biggest culprit behind the national obesity epidemic is sugary beverages. Drinks like Pepsi and apple juice create a huge spike in blood sugar levels which increases the amount of fat our bodies store. Our brains also have a hard time registering liquid calories, making it easy to over-indulge.
Take a Cold Shower
The average human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your body temperature drops even slightly below that, you die. One of the strategies our bodies use to avoid such a fate is called thermogenesis, in which our body burns fat to maintain our body temperature. “Cold Therapy” has been shown to help obese patients lose a considerable amount of body fat, and improve biomarkers like resting glucose levels. Three 20 minute cold showers or ice baths a week seems to be the most effective.
Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep
Insufficient sleep has been shown to increase junk food cravings and the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can dramatically increases appetite and the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s often healthier to get an extra hour of sleep than waking up early to workout.
Cut Down on TV Time
One hour in front of the TV per day is equals 2.2 lbs. of extra body fat. In other words, if you had identical twins and one watched 5 hours of TV per day while the other didn’t watch any, the TV watcher will weigh 11 lbs. heavier than the non-TV watcher. People who watch a lot of television tend to eat higher calorie foods and eat more frequently, which researchers have tied this to endless processed-food advertisements. Particularly with children, just putting a TV in a child’s bedroom increases their chance of being obese by 10%.
Cut Out Alcohol
I’ll be the first to admit that if someone told me to stop drinking alcohol, I would promptly dump a bottle of Jose Cuervo oh their head. But after calming down and helping them dry-off, I would have to acknowledge their point. Alcohol is treated as a poison by the body, and as a result, the body tries to flush it out which causes blood sugar levels to plummet. This increases food cravings and decreases will power, meaning that double cheeseburger from McDonlads becomes irresistible. While I understand enjoying the occasional drink from time to time, if you’re really looking for results, your best option is to cut out the booze.
Hangout with Healthy People
You are the average of the five people around you. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine is much easier if you surround yourself with those who share similar goals. It’s hard to resist a piece of double-fudge cake when everyone at the table is over-indulging. On the other hand, if everyone at the table is eating a salad, would you really want to be the one making them wait while you eat desert? Not to mention that workout buddies are the best insurance policy against laziness. While it might not be easy, I believe this is one of the most important aspects of healthy lifestyle change.
Eat More Protein
Protein plays a huge role in weight-loss. Next to the other two macronutrients: carbohydrates and fat, protein leaves you feeling the most satiated and reduces feelings of hunger. I’ve personally found that starting each day with a protein shake (40g of protein total), prevents cravings throughout the day.
While I always thought meditating was for hippies, hipsters and yoga matt enthusiasts, there’s a lot of science backing up it’s efficacy. Meditation can help reduce the stress hormone cortisol (mentioned earlier), prevent comfort/stress eating, control cravings, and improve sleep. So next time you see someone sitting cross-legged with their eyes shut and hands in that weird lotus position, you might want to consider joining them.
Again, all-or-nothing lifestyle changes don’t work. Minor modifications over time are the only things that do. If you fail the first time around, don’t beat yourself up. It’s hard to change a habit, but as long as you have patience with yourself and don’t too discouraged, you’ll eventually end up where you want to be.