What if this year, your New Year’s resolution isn’t to lose as much weight as you can, as fast as you can? What if, instead, it’s to shed unwanted fat as smartly as you can, as safely as you can?
If you’re working on losing excess weight, the safe rate of weight loss (according to the UK’s National Health Service) is approximately 1 to 2 pounds a week.1 Of course, creating a calorie deficit is the benchmark of successful (and consistent) weight loss.
But, if you add these six weight loss hacks to your new routine, you’ll not only be able to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll be investing in your overall health. And as you get older, that really is the ultimate goal.
1. HIT THE HAY
It seems easy enough, but today there are so many challenges standing in the way of getting a good night of sleep. Here are just some of the reasons you may find it hard to get the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night.
- The blue light from your devices
- Alerts from your phone and tablet sounding off at all hours
But, you’ve got to make an effort to get good sleep, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The deeper and longer you sleep, the easier it is to curb your appetite. Not only that, but you’ll find you have more energy stamina when you exercise. In fact, lack of sleep can actually cause you to put on weight.2 Plus, if you’re tired, you’re willpower to make good dietary choices is compromised.
2. MAKE TIME FOR ACTIVE FUN
The things that are the most fun usually require the most action and energy. So whether it’s hiking, gardening, a friendly game of driveway basketball, golf or even fishing — fun usually translates to activity. And activity usually translates to calories burned. Do yourself a favor and carve out some time for your favorite hobby — and know you’re doing something great for your mood and your body.
Even better, find a league or group that enjoys the activity as much as you do. Not only will you make new friends, the people you meet will keep you accountable and coming back.
3. CHOOSE MEALS FROM A LIMITED MENU
You’d think endless options would be the way to sustain a successful weight loss plan. But, it turns out limiting your choices can help you stick to your regimen. First off, do a little prep work.
Decide what your daily calorie intake will be
Select 3 options for each daily meal
Rotate within your 3 options from day to day.
This will eliminate choosing poorly because you can’t decide what to eat. You’ll come to rely on your staples (and if you vary on weekends or from time to time, you’ll know you have a solid plan to return to). This is one of the best secret hacks to fat-blasting success.
4. STOCK UP ON FAT (THE GOOD KIND)
Avocados are full of fat, but it’s the kind of fat your body needs. Not only that, the little green fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) could help lower cholesterol.3 But, what makes avocado a weight loss superstar is its high vitamin content. If you make avocados a staple in your safe weight loss routine, you’ll be adding a hefty dose of daily vitamins C, K, B6, and E. You’ll also be getting some much needed potassium. HAAS avocados happen to be richer in nutrients than other types of avocado.
Consider using avocado in your salads or adding it to the top of an egg white omelette. Of course, you can also simply drizzle some olive oil over each half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and use a spoon to eat it like yogurt.
5. BUDDY UP TO BLACK BEANS
A cup of black beans yields about 15 grams of protein. But, what makes black beans an even better source of protein than even lean meats is the absence of saturated fat. Whether you mix them into a frittata, eat them with brown rice, or make black bean soup… they’ll help you kick your weight loss up a notch.
In fact, eating a ½ cup of black beans could improve your fiber, folate, and magnesium intake.4 You’ll also get a good dose of your daily iron and zinc.
6. CHEW SLOWLY
It sounds crazy, but according to Harvard Medical School, chewing your food more slowly might actually help in the struggle to lose weight. It’s not about eating less or taking longer to digest. But, the reason it may work as a way to trick your brain.
Your stomach is partially responsible for triggering you to feel full, but your brain is also part of the process. Your brain has to believe you’re full and that happens when digestive hormones send the right signals.5
The interaction between your digestive tract and the hormones that tell your brain you’re full is as complex as the most advanced computers. So, you’ve got to give your brain time to receive the message that “you’ve had enough” from your body. If you eat more slowly, you allow your brain time to catch and process the signal.
Here’s to Your Health in 2017
So, when you’re committing to your resolutions this year, keep safety and success in the forefront of your mind. You’ll be so much better off in the long run if you pay attention to the tips above and make them part of your routine for 2017.
Best of luck — I know you can do it — and have a happy, healthy new year!
1. Should you lose weight fast? – Live Well – NHS Choices. Nhsuk. 2016.
2. Patel SHu F. Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review. 2016.
3. An avocado a day keeps the cardiologist away | Penn State University. Newspsuedu. 2016.
4. Mitchell D, Lawrence F, Hartman T, Curran J. Consumption of Dry Beans, Peas, and Lentils Could Improve Diet Quality in the US Population. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009.
5. MacDonald A. Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster – Harvard Health Blog. Harvard Health Blog. 2016.