1. Protein and Fiber at Breakfast
Whenever you decide your “breakfast” is, depends on when you are wanting to break that long fasting period (that time after dinner, while sleeping, and when you wake up that you don’t eat any food). The time varies for people and does not necessarily mean you Have To eat right when you wake up. That is not for everyone. However, when you do decide to eat, make sure you enjoy a balanced “breakfast” that is packed with protein along with some fiber. This means cooking up a veggie omelet, hard-boiled eggs with fruit and turkey bacon, a fiber rich small bowl of oatmeal, or avocado toast with eggs. This will help to keep your energy levels up all morning instead of giving you that buzz then crash around ~10 o’clock that is often seen with high carbohydrate/low protein breakfasts. It has been seen to help people snack less later in the day and can help you reach those weight loss or weight maintenance goals.
2. Load Your Plate with Plants and Eat Them First
Focus on eating more plants! Pack your plate with as much produce as you can. This will help to make you feel fuller while being a natural form of portion control. Many fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they are packed with vitamins, minerals, have fiber and many are not super calorically-dense. By having a diet rich in plants and eating them first, you are getting filled up, not out!
3. Drink More Water
Water is essential for life. It comprises from 75% of body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is crucial for cellular homeostasis. To get away from the sciency side of things, water also helps to keep our energy levels up, undergo regular digestion and so much more! Drinking water before meals can also help to curb your hunger, so many times we tend to think we are hungry, but we are actually just thirsty. It can help to keep you satisfied before, during and after a meal without all the added calories and sugar that soda and sweetened beverage have. If you’re not the biggest fan of water, try sparkling water or some various water infusions like adding in lemon, mint, melons, or barriers.
4. Meal Prep
Take 30 minutes to an hour on one of your off or rest days and pre-slice fruits and vegetables, mass cook some chicken breast, rice, or hard boiled eggs and keep in air-tight containers for later in the week. Put these foods at eye level in your fridge so when you open the fridge door they are the first things you see. If you have a food processor, this method is even easier. Having the pre-sliced veggies on hand makes it convenient and more efficient when whipping up soups, casseroles, salads, pasta salads, stir frys, or omelets. If you don’t have the time, we have pre-cut options for you! Although these are a little more expensive, it can be well worth it when pressed for time.
5. Pack Nourishing Snacks
Bringing small snacks to work, have some nuts and seeds in your car or backpack, a protein bar in your purse, brief case or gym bag to help you power through your day. At the desk and you start to feel hungry, pull out the apple and peanut butter or trail mix instead of wondering over to the vending machine. Have some mixed nuts or a yogurt 30 minutes before you begin your commute home to help curb that ravenous hunger that over takes you when you get home or help to prevent that quick trip through the drive through. These nutritious snacks can also help to make dinner preparations or the quick trips to the store more bearable.
6. Don’t Skip Meals or Deprive Yourself
To start, stop putting yourself in food jail! Start with having tasty and satiating meals and snacks every three to four hours. Aim to have both protein and fiber at each meal, this will keep you feeling satisfied while also helping to jump start that weight loss or weight maintenance.
Don’t deprive yourself either! Allow yourself to have a treat from time to time, ice cream on a hot day? Go for it! If you deprive yourself, the chances are that over time you will end up binging. Instead of doing a whole “cheat” day where you are in a form, binging, give yourself a set number of times in the week (maybe two or three) where you treat yourself and then don’t feel guilty about it, enjoy and appreciate your treat.
7. Move More During the Day
Physical activity is another key ingredient to weight loss and weight maintenance. Our lives are busy, it’s hard to dedicate 60-90 minutes every day to go to the gym or take a class sometimes. When that is the case, break it into increments of ~10 minutes at a time. This could be walking around while on the phone, taking a small break at work to take a walk, parking farther away from the store or your work, taking the stairs, etc. Finding ways to sit less and making small changes throughout your day can make a big difference while also helping to boosting your energy.
8. Make Small Changes
The scale can be a fickle thing. Many of us can become discouraged if we are not reaching some of our big self-set goals (like losing 20 pounds in 3 weeks the healthy way and keeping it off). Think about changes that you want to make with one main focus: will it help to improve your health. Choose one small, reasonable goal at a time to help you be successful. Once your goal starts to feel easy and become part of the everyday routine, set your sights on the next goal. Slow and steady wins with weight loss race every time!
9. Mindfully Eat and Make Your Food Colorful
Like in our name, we like to focus on all our senses. We use our eyes, nose, hands and even ears as much as we do our mouths when it comes to eating. Slow down and focus on those senses when you eat. When making a salad or really almost any meal, plate your food with care and pick lots of colors. As your sitting down to eat at home or when your meal comes when eating out, look at your food, smell it, touch it with your fingers, fork, or tip of your tongue, listen to it (the crunch or slurp after every bite), and of course, taste the food. When I say taste it, I mean TASTE the food, enjoy the textures and flavors in each bite instead of the bite immediately swallow action where chewing is optional. Eating with all of yours senses is a very important aspect of mindful eating and hey, we have it in our name so you know we are all about it.
Check in with yourself throughout the day. Ask, are you really hungry? What else might be going on? Think about what you are eating and most of all. . . savor and enjoy! One of the key ingredients to weight loss is being aware.
Looking for more in-depth ways on what mindful eating is all about and how to start? Check out our Mindful/Intuitive eating post.
10. Rest Up at Night
The road to weight loss does not only include the kitchen and hitting the gym, research has found that it also involves your bed. Getting a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours is ideal) helps to guide your food choices by stabilizing your hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is commonly referred to as the “hunger hormone”, it tells your brain it’s time to chow down. When your body lacks sleep, it produces more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body you are getting full, sleep deprivation causes a decrease in leptin production. When people are exhausted from lack of sleep, they tend to crave higher carbohydrate and sugary foods as well. These hormonal changes and poor food choices can cause you to overeat and result in an increase of those pesky pounds.