- Remove limiting factors.
What are liming factors? These are obstacles in your life that prevent or make it more challenging for you to reach your goals. Each person has limiting factors unique to them. Perhaps it is a hectic work schedule, a physical injury inhibiting mobility, lack of knowledge or experience in cooking, incorrect information surrounding nutrition or exercise, etc. The list is a long one, but the first step is to identify what your specific limiting factors are and then take the necessary steps to resolving them. An example would be, if you do not know how to cook, possible solutions could be to take a cooking class, ask a friend for guidance and help, or invest in a meal delivery service.
- Reduce metabolically damaging foods.
Certain foods promote inflammation. Processed vegetable oils, too much sugar, sodium, and artificial sweeteners, preservatives, dyes, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, etc. These ingredients are mainly found in processed or inorganic foods and are far from their natural state. Consuming high amounts of these harmful foods will cause chronic inflammation over time. Food sensitivities or intolerances can also cause inflammation and added stress on the body1. If you suspect a food sensitivity, listen to your body and remove that food from your diet. The best way to discover if you have any food sensitivities is through an elimination diet; omit the food from your diet for 1 month, then reintroduce that food and keep note of any symptoms that may appear. Every person is unique and different in what foods agree or disagree with their bodies.
- Prevent chronic calorie over-consumption.
Most processed foods are designed to be addictive and activate the reward systems in our brains. This is because they are highly palatable, where most nutrients have been stripped and replaced with high amounts of sugar, salt, fat, colors, preservatives, chemicals, etc. These foods can lead to chronic, calorie over-consumption; where small amounts of food yield high amounts of calories but low amounts of nutrients. The best way to reduce your cravings for these tasty but unhealthy foods is to increase your consumption of whole foods. These unprocessed foods will give your body what it’s truly craving; vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. An easy rule of thumb when looking for healthy foods to consume is remembering… “If it does not run, fly, swim or grow out of the ground, stay away from it1.” The more nutritious, whole foods you include in your diet, the less room there will be for the junk!
- Quit chronic low-calorie dieting.
Eating below your basic biological energy needs can place a huge stress on your body and metabolism, forcing it to adapt and slow down. As you become more in-tune with your energy needs and hunger signals, continue to listen to your body and nourish it accordingly. Learn to eat when truly hungry, slowly and mindfully, and stop when you are satisfied, not overly full. Forced calorie deprivation is not healthy long term and will ultimately lead to a plateau, where even a low-calorie diet combined with increased exercise (cardio specifically) will no longer result in weight loss. Stay away from fad diets, they do not last, are often difficult to adhere to, and are typically not balanced or healthy1.
- Fix your sleep.
Most people don’t always make a connection between their sleeping and eating habits, however the correlation exists; bad sleep can equal bad nutrition. Inadequate or low quality sleep can affect various hormones that regulate appetite, hunger, satiety, stress, and glucose metabolism which can result in excess fat accumulation. Not getting enough sleep can trigger cravings, which paired with decreased will-power, will result in giving in to any temptation that comes your way. It is vital to prioritize sleep and aim for 6-8 hours per night2.
- Sit less, move more!
Many jobs require long periods of sitting. The major problem with this reality is that our bodies are designed to move! Treating your body well means moving your body. Do your best to go no longer than 60 minutes of continuous sitting at a time; even 5 minutes of standing, stretching, or walking around each hour can combat the harm of being sedentary. Ways to encourage more daily movement include fitness trackers, phone fitness apps, standing desks, scheduled walking breaks during the work day or at lunch, etc. Making an effort to be active before and after the workday is also very beneficial3.
- Whitten, A. Forever Fat Loss. Archangel Ink; 2015.
- Kollias, H. Research Review: Sleep, stress, and fat loss. Precision Nutrition. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss. Accessed September 14, 2017.
- Scott-Dixon, K. The real (and surprising) reason healthy movement matters. Precision Nutrition. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement. Accessed September 14, 2017.