Rapid Change Coach Joy Martina suggests some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help cut out or burn off extra calories and increase weight loss.
Many of our clients on the Sleep Your Fat Away Program ask us what they can do to speed up the weight loss process. Although we encourage focusing on real lifestyle change rather than quick fixes, I am happy to share some tips that have been very useful to hundreds of our clients:
Add 10 minutes to your exercise regime and do more interval training
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, but emphasize that the more you exercise, the easier it is to lose weight. Doing interval training adds to the so-called “afterburn”, which means that you will go on burning fat even when you stop exercising. In aerobics, you mainly burn fat during exercise and there is little or no after burn!
Increase your lean muscle mass
Although we tend to think of aerobics when we want to lose weight because it helps burn calories, the way to go if you want to increase fat burning is to build lean muscle. Muscle has a much higher metabolism than fat does so by increasing your muscle mass you increase your metabolism.If you don’t yet train with weights, add this type of exercise to your overall program now – start with just a few minutes every day. The trick to building muscle mass is to challenge yourself by increasing the amount of weight you’re working with. You should do 3 sets of repetitions and as soon as you reach 8 to 10 repetitions, add a little weight so you only can reach 3 to a maximum of 5 reps per set. This way, you keep yourself challenged and you force the muscles to grow. Don’t worry about becoming a bodybuilder type – most women can benefit from some extra muscle mass and weight training helps tone and firm body tissue.
Get a pedometer!
By having a pedometer you can see how many steps you are taking daily and can set the goal to reach a minimum amount of steps a day. If in the evening you have not reached your goal, go for a de-stressing evening walk and you will notice that you will also sleep better. It has been scientifically proven that spending long hours sitting creates a myriad of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain so if you spend a lot of time at your desk, stand up frequently. The trick is to get up regularly, walk around for 2 minutes and then return to your desk. You can also stretch your body and take a few deep breaths; if you are fanatic, you could also do a few squats.
In our program we emphasize “conscious eating”, which means eating without any distractions from TV, reading, being on the phone etc. If you can, take even more time to eat. The slower you eat and the longer you chew, the quicker your body will feel full and satisfied. If you combine a fiber-rich food plate with some protein it will be even more! When you release stress before eating, by tapping the “Stress Point Hunger” acupressure point or using our “Emotional Balance Havening” technique, you will find this even easier to do and feel more relaxed. Tibetan monks are famous for training people in eating consciously; savoring the food and using all the 5 senses when eating. This in itself will lead to weight loss.
Fight off hunger with more filling foods
In our Sleep Your Fat Away program we use an acupressure point to curb hunger cravings and we show people how to eliminate emotional hunger. A three-year study by the University of Pittsburgh found that those who avoided weight gain the best were the ones whose meals kept them feeling full. Keeping that feeling of fullness is best done with foods that are high in fiber — think fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. By adding fibers like Chia seeds and Psyllium husks to a smoothie, you can achieve that full feeling easily. Try making a protein smoothie with fibers for breakfast and sip on it slowly. This form of breakfast will reward you with stable sugar levels (that lead to fewer cravings and fewer mood swings) and a feeling of being nicely satisfied and less hungry! Some clients enjoy their fiber protein smoothies so much that they drink two a day and eat a regular dinner in the evening!
Switch up your snacks
Being full also helps with fighting the temptation to snack. The University of Pittsburgh study also found that women who were good at resisting the temptation of binging on forbidden treats lost weight faster and kept it off. There are many ways to avoid daily temptations:
- Eat a green salad before your meal
- Add protein to your diet
- Eat out less
- Skip on eating the bread served before dinner
- Share a dessert rather than eating one alone
- Ban your biggest temptations from your house (this one might be the most important one of all!)
- Instead of grazing on the baked goodies in the break room at work, have a plan for healthy snacks that combine a little bit of fat, protein, and crunch such as apple slices smeared with peanut butter. Protein needs 25% more energy to digest and helps you lose weight.
Cut out all high-calorie condiments and sugars
Sweet is an acquired taste used by the food industry to keep us addicted to their empty calories. There are two ways to break free from this addiction. The best way is to wean yourself off sweets. It takes a few days to get accustomed to the lack of sweetness in your food and the 2 stress release techniques mentioned above will help you with the withdrawal symptoms. Once you are off the sugar, you may be surprised how easy it is to stay off it. Most people tell us that after about 10 days they don’t even think about sugar anymore – it simply loses its appeal! The other way is to switch to sweeteners. We recommend using natural sweeteners such as Stevia instead of artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Equal. Artificial sweeteners have been shown not to be effective in weight loss. Likewise, try mustard on your burger or sandwich instead of mayonnaise which often contains sugar, and order your salad dressing on the side so that you can control the amount you eat.
Avoid liquid calories
Most people understand that soft drinks contain lots of calories but many people believe that fresh orange juice and other juices are ok to drink because they are “natural”. Fruits are not supposed to be juiced no matter what everyone tells you. They contain sugar and the fibers are taken out so you are better off eating the fruit rather than drinking the juice! Also, sweetened tea is no less calorie-dense than soda drinks. The best drink is water; drink lots of it, we recommend 2 to 3 liters a day. This will also increase your necessity to get up more often to go to the bathroom (this also means you get more exercise!).
Leave food on your plate
Data suggests that people who order smaller portions or who share a plate at restaurants are more successful with weight loss. One of the rules we teach people is to always leave food on your plate. This is to build the mental resilience to break the rule we have been conditioned during our youth: “eat your plate empty!” By leaving food on your plate you are breaking this old conditioning. When ordering food in a restaurant, replace fiber-poor food (fries, white rice) with fiber-rich food (vegetables, whole grains). Most carbs are not fiber-rich, so ask for extra portions of vegetables and ask for steamed veggies instead of veggies in butter and other oils. At least half your plate should consist of vegetables and the remaining space should be divided evenly between lean protein and whole grains. If you go back for seconds, limit yourself to vegetables, fruit or low-fat dairy.
Be accountable and acknowledge your success
Whether you have a diet buddy to check in with, a support group, or a food diary: keeping track of your daily food choices takes only a few minutes but can double your weight loss success. People who believe they can succeed with weight loss actually lose weight more successfully. How do you gain this confidence? Take a moment to pat yourself on the back when you make healthy choices and achieve your short-term goals.
We are Joy and Roy Martina, MD – authors of the upcoming book Sleep Your Fat Away. We help people achieve lifestyle changes, lose weight and live their potential. We are passionate about ending the obesity epidemic and this is why we created our no diet weight loss program – Sleep Your Fat Away – to help you achieve your goals more easily.
These ten small changes, all of which can be easily made, will quickly add up to more pounds lost over time. And most important of all: if you make these changes, you will be effortlessly creating the real lifestyle change you desire and need for lasting results.
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Roy and Joy Martina