The question I hear the most: how do I lose weight. My initial interest in wellness was fueled by this same question. When you turn to google, it’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by the amount of information available on diets. It’s tempting to add every miracle supplement and eliminate that moment’s no-no (carbs, meat, gluten, dairy, fat…you get the picture). I’ve had years of active practice tuning out the noise. While I still love consuming science-based wellness information, I’ve learned not to get too flipped upside down by every “fact” I come across (PSA: documentaries with sweeping claims are typically a load of BS pseudoscience).
Back to that weightless question. The problem with my answer? It’s boring. It’s basic. It doesn’t require a total overhaul of your life, so it makes people skeptical. How could something so simple work? It does. When you are extremely consistent, it works. That means if you decide to indulge in dessert and wine at dinner, you enjoy it, and you go back to these common sense habits at your next meal. There’s no more “starting Monday.” That mentality has to go. In an effort to dumb it down for someone who is starting from scratch, I came up with these simple four habits. Consider just adding one habit every week, so that by four weeks you’ll have truly mastered them all.
#1 – Get your micronutrients. The body simply cannot function when its nutritionally starved. You will continue getting hunger cues when you’re body needs certain nutrients (even if you’ve had enough calories). So what does that actually mean in practice? Vegetables (particularly leafy greens). Aim to fill half of your plate with a rainbow of vegetables at lunch and dinner (bonus points if you get them in at breakfast too)!
#2 – Limit sugar. I’m not talking about sugar from fruit, but do cut any added sugars as much as possible. Eating a ton of sugar will create unsteady blood sugar levels, which leads to cravings, energy issues, and for some an inability to maintain a healthy weight. Read ingredients and start to become aware of where sugar is hiding in your diet. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever eat dessert again, it just means the handful of candy you mindlessly eat in the afternoon needs to go. (Replace it with a handful of berries). It also means eating more whole foods, where there is no ingredient list.
#3 – Add high quality protein to every meal. This can mean plant-based proteins (like chickpeas, beans, and lentils) or animal sourced protein (pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, wild fish). This will give your meals longevity, so that you don’t need to constantly snack and you can give your body a damn break from digesting food all of the time. Aim for 15-20 grams of protein at each meal.
#4 – Drink mostly water. 1-2 cups of coffee, 2-3 cups green teas, and herbal teas are all okay to add into your daily sips. Cut soda (even diet) completely, limit alcohol, and limit juices. Aim to drink half your body’s weight in ounces of water each day, more if you’re super active.
Four simple habits. You can take these habits anywhere. You don’t have to stress out about a vacation or dinner out “ruining” anything. It’s about doing these things most of the time and not getting emotionally tied up when you break away from them for a brief moment. Life should be enjoyed. Food should be enjoyed (yes, even food that you’ve been told is “bad”)! Focus on these habits and let all of the other rules go for a while. If you practice patience, quit dieting for good, and consistently follow these four rules, you’ll see results. As tempting as all of the quick fixes out there are, slow and steady is the way to go when it comes to health. It’s better for the body and the results will actually last.