Updated: Jan 12
We all know that to lose weight we have to take in less calories, exercise, and consume the proper nutrients… seems super simple right?
Maybe not, or everyone would be at a healthy weight and look like chiseled Spartans. Truth is we often underestimate the power of “routine” and our emotional ties to food. In fact, foods have a similar effect on us as drugs. Think about it, you know a certain food is bad, you know you will feel horrible after eating it, and yet you still eat it.
We often have good intentions but tend to overcomplicate the process. While no one can deny Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, KETO, and other nutrition plans have value the challenge is to switch to a plan like this and stay consistent will most likely be very difficult for someone that a daily routine that includes fast food and treats loaded with sugar.
Finally, we tend to want to see instant results unfortunately the truth is the process to lose fat and pack on muscle is a slow one. In a blog from the Mayo Clinic (Click Here) they highlight what many other experts agree is a safe way to lose weight. Realistically you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) at a healthy rate per week. In the beginning you may lose 4-5 pounds per week but as your body adjusts to the new stressors you put on it you may only lose one pound and, in some cases, gain weight as you approach your goal. So, if you are looking to lose 30 pounds for example, it could take 3-4 months of consistent effort to hit that goal.
Here are some simple tips I have given to my members in the past that have great results.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Be honest with yourself. If you are the type of person that can go 100% all in, then look at one of the more aggressive nutrition plans. This will give you quicker results that you will feel almost immediately.
If you are the type of person that has tried fad diets or intense nutrition plans and ended stopping the program I suggest just keep it simple.
When I started my fitness journey I was in between. I was disciplined enough to make small changes that I stuck to but not invested enough to try a plan like Paleo.
I started by reducing things that I knew where bad. I always struggled with soda I consumed on average 5-6 bottles of sugary drinks per day. At first, I tried to go “all in” and quit drinking sugary drinks cold turkey but I quickly experienced drug like withdraw symptoms that included cold sweats, nasty headaches, and irritability.
I had to take a more strategic plan if I was going to be successful. Week 1 I reduced my intake of soda to 4 bottles. In week 2, I traded the larger bottles for cans. In week 3, I swapped out the 12oz cans for the smaller 8oz cans and finally in week four I reduced consumption to only 1 can per day. In that first month I lost 10 pounds with that one change and I hadn’t even started to exercise yet!!!
Now it is very rare that I drink a sugary drink.
Chances are you know what is bad (if not I will provide some guidelines below) so take baby steps and reduce your consumption of those bad items before eliminating them completely.
Slowly replace the discarded items with healthy options.
WHAT TO EAT
When selecting your food pick ones that have the most nutrients. An easy way to remember good sources is that they should have been alive at one time, picked from a tree or bush, or pulled from the ground.
Selecting food this way will provide protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
The most nutritious foods have a short expiration period. Pick foods that you have to eat within a few days to benefit from the nutrients packed inside.
Super simple, if it came from nature it is probably good for you.
STAY AWAY FROM MAN MADE FOODS
Now that we know what good food looks like let’s talk about what to stay away from.
Avoid anything that is “baked” referring to unhealthy bread, cakes, cookies etc. In addition to baked goods, if weight loose is your goal stay away from pasta’s as well.
Stay away from man-made products like juices not in a fridge, chips, or any product that has a long shelf life or no expiration date. These products are low in nutrients and often loaded with chemicals to add to the shelf life. To learn more preservatives and how they work CLICK HERE.
Reduce sugar intake and whenever possible avoid it all together. Sugar is the number one destroyer of our body next to drugs. As matter of fact RESEARCHERS have found that sugar triggers the same pleasure centers in our brains and has a similar addictive effects as drugs. In addition to its addictive qualities sugar also causes chronic disease and impacts our mood. I will dive into sugar more in depth in future blogs
HOW TO SHOP
Never go to the store hungry or without a grocery list.
Especially at the beginning of your fitness journey avoid temptation of products that are bad for you.
When shopping at large “super stores” that have two entrances pick the door that leads to home products and not the grocery side of the store.
The grocery entrance of the store is loaded with products that are high in margins and low in nutrient like soda, chips, candy, etc. These are products that companies often pay extra to showcase their sugary products.
Conversely the home side bombards you with electronics and other items for the home. Grab a cart and do shopping for the home items first and then walk to the back of the store sticking to the boarder.
When shopping for food stick to the outer of the permitter of the store and avoid the aisles. The boarder is where perishable items like veggies, fruits, and meats are kept.
When you wonder into the aisles you mostly come across man made products loaded with preservatives to extend the life of the foods.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. You will often find nuts, seeds, spices in the aisles and frozen veggies in the freezer.
It is important to note when purchasing a man-made product that item has been produced to generate maximum profit at the lowest cost to manufacture. These companies do not have nutrition at the top of the list OR YOUR BEST INTEREST!!!
ADJUST FOOD INTAKE TO ACTIVITY LEVEL
Don’t eat a routine amount on scheduled times. Instead consume calories that support your activity level and avoid overeating that will direct the body to put unused calories in storage (turn to fat deposits).
On days that you exercise your high-quality carbohydrate intake should be higher to properly fuel the body and increased protein consumption as well to promote muscle growth.
By following a simple plan by picking the right foods, reduce (or eliminate) the bad foods, and remove temptations you will start to see that fat disappear.
Once you reach your goal you will see that eating healthy is not bad and will most likely not revert back the unhealthy habits that once controlled you.
You will also see that occasionally indulging in a night out won’t immediately pack the weight on.
You can eat healthy and enjoy your food!