When it comes to weight loss and healthy weight management, it is the little things that make the biggest difference. Yes, you have to overhaul your diet and bump up your physical activity, but if breakdown each step in the process and turn it into a goal, you will find success comes a bit more easily.
Below are some of those “little things” that can make that big difference:
- Drink water. Many, many people think they are drink enough water, but most are not. Water plays a role in every physiological reaction in your body, not to mention your 60 percent of your body is comprised with water. You should be getting at least 100 ounces/ 3 liters per day – it seems like a lot, but you will notice a difference. And if you are feeling hungry too often, it may be dehydration. Before you reach for the snack bag, chug some water – your cravings may go away.
- Eat breakfast. You may have been taught back in grade school that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, nonetheless, 40 percent of adults will head out the door for their day without this valuable meal. Make breakfast a priority in your morning routine. Breakfast should be consumed within one hour of waking and consist of foods to increase satiety and deliver energy (think lean protein and high fiber.) If you head to the gym before breakfast, grab a small snack, like a handful of grapes or dry, whole wheat toast to get you through your workouts. Breakfast is the jumpstart for your metabolism – that is one start you don’t want to delay. A timely, healthy breakfast helps curb cravings throughout the day and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
- Routine, healthy snacking. Snacking throughout the day(every 3 to four hours) has some serious benefits. This has become a source of debate in the industry. You can choose what works for you, but multiple studies* have observed the effectiveness of routine, healthy snacking. The body loves routine – you function optimally when you wake-up at the same time each morning, go to bed at the same time each night (getting at least 7 hours of sleep) and the same is true for eating – enjoy your meals and snacks close to the same times each day. You will see and feel the difference.
- Food journal. Whether you log it through a smartphone app or with good, old-fashioned pen and paper, it is important to track what you eat. Writing down what you put into your body shows you exactly where your efforts may be going wrong and where they are going right. No one has to see the journal, so be honest – if you don’t write down every single thing, the only person you are hurting is you. Use the journal to tailor your plan for personal success. Include what you ate, the time of day, portion sizes and mood – if you notice you’re “cheating” at the same time each day or when a certain mood hits you, you can develop a plan to sidestep temptation.
- Move! It might start with a walk around the block or riding a bike in the gym, but once you get your “sea legs” for movement, pile on the action! You do not have to be an expert at exercise overnight. Learn a few moves and build from there. It takes time to get good at anything, but practice makes perfect and will almost “magically” drive you toward success.
Make a six-week plan for yourself. Week 1, your goal might be to drink more water and eat more vegetables. When you feel confident in those new habits, you can add new goals like recording your food intake for weeks 3 and 4 and taking a 15-minute walk on your lunch break. If your breakdown your plan, the road to success is a lot less daunting.