There are so many confusing messages surrounding weight loss.
This is my FRESH take on weight loss. Ultimately, the goal is to make a sustainable change that you can maintain for a lifetime. These are 5 evidence-based tips that you can start today.
Focus on Fiber. Fill your plate with fiber-rich foods. Fiber provides bulk which fills you up. You are less likely to overeat if your plate is full of fiber-rich foods. These foods are more likely to be low in calories and high in nutrients. In addition, fiber modulates the transit time through your digestive tract.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
The largest portion of what you eat should come from fruits and vegetables. When you are making a plate, at least half should be filled with non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
When planning your meals, make vegetables the center of the meal.
The best part of consuming mostly vegetables is that you don’t have to focus on calories.
In fact, there was a study that demonstrated that when you consume a high-quality diet, weight loss is more likely.
Fresh is the other F.
Focus on fresh foods and more importantly decrease the processed foods in your diet. Processed foods have less fiber which interferes with your body’s ability to sense fullness so you are more likely to consume too much. In addition, they are higher in calories.
R Don’t rush.
Practice mindful eating. Take time to focus on what you are eating.
Before you start your meal, breath, be present, and take time to appreciate the meal.
Use all of your senses to experience the meal.
- How does it look?
- How does it smell?
- When you put it in your mouth, how does it feel?
- When you bite down, what is the texture? taste?
Take your time chewing; appreciate the texture and how your mouth reacts to the food. After that first bite, breathe and appreciate it. A great exercise is to pretend you have just arrived on the planet and everything is new to you. How would you experience the meal?
Eat without distraction. When you are eating with your family, put down the devices and enjoy each others’ company. You will enjoy your meal much more and by taking that time you will have a chance to respond to your body’s satiation cues.
E is for Exercise: Exercise is important for many reasons.
Exercise helps you:
- decrease your inflammation
- improve your energy, sleep & mood
- strengthen your bones
- decrease stress
- improve insulin resistance
- and may boost your body’s metabolism
A sedentary lifestyle definitely is associated with weight gain and poor overall health. Incorporating movement throughout your day is good. If you sit at a desk during the day, incorporate walk breaks. Park your car farther away. Take the stairs.
Adults should have at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
It could be as simple as a brisk walk. And a goal of 150 minutes per week. If you aren’t able to set aside 30 minutes at one time, you can break it up over the day. Check with your physician before embarking on a new exercise program if you are not currently exercising.
S is for Sleep – There is evidence that short sleep duration is associated with obesity. The mechanism is not clear but we know that sleep disturbance affects our microbiome, immune system, and hormone function.
All of these systems play a part in weight management. In addition, sleep is restorative; our body repairs itself during sleep and many important processes occur during sleep.
The goal is at least 7- 9 hours of sleep every night. Focus on incorporating good sleep hygiene habits. For example: maintain the same sleep/wake schedule every day. Limit your use of phones and other blue screen devices before bedtime.
These devices inhibit melatonin secretion, which negatively affects our sleep cycles.
H is for Happy/Habit: Track your progress. You can use an app to track what you are eating.
Journalling is also a great tool. Keep track of how good you are feeling and celebrate your wins every day. Positive reinforcement will help you along your journey. Give yourself grace and realize that there will be good days and bad days, but it is progress, not perfection that results in long-term success.