Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. She enjoys helping people work towards healthier lives.
You Can Lose Weight for Good!
How do You Feel?
How do you feel? Really?
People often lose sight of how their bodies and emotions are affecting them until suddenly they find themselves overweight, tired, and sick. When your body finally has enough, it will shout to get your attention.
When your body demands attention, it can come in several ways. Pain, sleeplessness, sluggishness and lack of energy are all symptoms that something in your life is out of wack.
Unfortunately, rather than listen to their own body, many people turn to pills and medication, hoping to find some relief. What happens when the medication doesn't work? What happens when you still feel sick and tired?
Perhaps changing your diet and paying attention to how you feel could change your entire life. Are you willing to give it a try?
You Can Do it Today!
The Problem With Diets
How do you lose weight and keep it off? The easy answer is obvious: eat fewer calories than your body burns.
Of course starvation diets work wonders, at first. You lose several pounds the first week, until you return to normal eating, and your normal weight, plus a few extra pounds for good measure.
Yo-yo diets, or losing weight only to gain back more weight, have been shown to be detrimental to overall health and well being. The stress of a strict diet causes your body to produce stress related hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.
In addition, lack of food causes the metabolism to slow down, and leaves your body feeling weak and tired. Once the diet is over, your body begins storing calories to ensure that starvation won't happen again. Starvation diets don't improve your health.
Extreme exercise can help, but you can't outrun a bad diet. The obesity epidemic, and the average person's weight problem isn't primarily an issue of exercise, although the sedentary lifestyle has made matters worse for many people.
You can push yourself to get up early, exercise and work out. This usually lasts a day or two, until your muscles ache from the unfamiliar movements, and your body is just plain tired. Exercise is good, but it's important to know what you can realistically do every day.
The real problem is your mindset. How do you think about yourself? How does your body feel? Slow down and tune in to your body. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself and how your body speaks to you. What signals does it send when it needs food? What do you say to yourself when you are tired? These are all components of a healthy lifestyle.
What you eat and drink has an enormous impact on weight gain and, consequently weight loss. Following are some ideas, both food related and life style related, to help you achieve your ideal weight.
Importance of Water
10. Drink More Water: Our bodies are made primarily of water. Seventy percent of the human body is comprised of water, and water plays an important function in maintaining the proper functioning of various organs in the body.
If you are drinking several glasses of water each day, then chances are, you are drinking less of other, less healthy drinks. In addition to having no calories, water contains no sugar, and is free (from the tap).
Start your day with a glass of water first thing. Before you eat or drink anything else, even that essential morning cup of coffee or tea, start your day with a glass of water.
If you begin your day with chilled water, you will rev up your body's metabolism first thing, and help your body burn more calories. This is important, if you hope to lose weight.
Throughout the day, it is important to stay hydrated. Often, the body sends out thirst signals if it is not getting enough water. Many people mistake these signals for hunger. Before you reach for a snack, drink another glass of water.
Lunchtime is time for another glass of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, but it will also help you feel fuller during lunch. During your meals, before you begin sipping on your usual glass of soda or tea, have a glass of water first.
Fluid loss occurs throughout the day, through breathing, sweating, urinating and even evaporation. It is important as you go through your day, to replenish the water your body has lost. An easy way to do this is to drink a cup of water following every trip to the bathroom. Water out, water in.
As you progress through the day, try drinking another glass of water in the afternoon. You might find it helps you concentrate at work, and alleviates hunger pangs.
To read more about the importance of water in your diet, click here:
Drink Some Water
Most Adults Need 7-9 Hours of Sleep Each Night
Do You Get Enough Sleep?
9. Get More Sleep: When your body isn't adequately rested, you tend to gain weight. Nearly two-thirds of American's suffer sleep deprivation to some extent, during any given week. Lack of sleep has been shown to have negative effects on weight loss.
Not only are the obvious culprits to blame: You are so tired, you need an extra latte to get through the morning, which adds more calories to your day. Or, you are so exhausted after work that instead of working out, you head home and crash on the couch, barely moving until bedtime.
Sleep plays other important roles in weight loss. First, when you don't get enough sleep, your brain's frontal lobe shows less activity. This is the area of the brain that controls decision making and controls impulses. If your frontal lobe is sluggish, chances are, you won't be able to resist temptation when it comes knocking. Not only do we make poor choices when we are tired, but the body craves high carbohydrate, high fat foods to energize it. These types of foods are a nightmare for anyone trying to lose weight.
Sleep also impacts the hunger and fullness hormones in your body. When these hormones are out of balance due to a lack of sleep, you tend to feel more hungry and eat more, while also not feeling full as quickly.
When your body is tired, it also produces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is directly related to weight gain, as it signals the body to conserve energy while you are awake.
Researchers discovered that when dieters cut back on sleep during a two week period, the amount of weight they lost dropped significantly, even though their caloric intake stayed the same.
While sleeping may not directly help you lose weight, the negative effects of not getting enough rest include a slower metabolism and weight gain.
8. Meditate: The practice of mindfulness will help you be present throughout your day. As you increase your awareness, you can make better choices.
Begin by becoming aware of your breath. Taking five deep breaths before beginning a meal will help clear your mind and make you more aware of your emotional palate. Instead of mindlessly munching your way through a bag of chips, breathe deeply and think about the food you are about to eat.
Meditation can help clear the mental clutter that leads to overeating and emotional eating. When we carry around a lot of baggage, we go through our days, not paying attention to what we are doing, saying or thinking.
Slow down, allow your mind to be present in the moment, and become aware of your body. This helps you make a connection to how you are feeling right now. Maybe you don't really want to eat an entire pound of M&M's. Maybe what you really want is to cry, or to run or to sleep. Feel exactly what is happening in your body, before you begin mindlessly shoveling food into your mouth.
Meditation is easy. It's free. And, meditation can help you become aware of why you are doing what you do. Once you become aware, then you can change patterns and develop new, healthier ways of getting through your day.
Take two minutes, before getting out of bed, to focus on your breath. Breathe in, hold, breathe out. Release worry about what is ahead. Focus on the rhythm of your breath in your body.
Easy 5-Minute Meditation
- Sit in a quiet place and find a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your body. Begin at the top of your head, and release any tension in your brow, in your jaw, your neck, shoulders, back, pelvis, legs and toes.
- Breathe deeply. Pay attention to the breath as it moves through your body.
- When your mind wanders, don't judge yourself. Notice the thought, then release it and bring your attention back to your breath.
- Practice for a few minutes at a time. When you are feeling stressed, irritated, stop and breathe.
- Try meditating once or twice a day.
Guided Weight Loss Meditation
Add Movement Every Day
7. Take the Stairs: It's not hard to add a little physical activity into your daily routine, and taking the stairs is one great way to do that. There are lots of small things you can do, which add up to more activity, a faster metabolism, and increased weight loss. Try to move more every day, whether it's taking the stairs or walking around the block at lunch.
Although it may seem daunting at first, adding movement into your daily routine can be easy. First, you have to decide that you want to move more. If you are serious about your weight loss goals, and achieving your ideal weight, then you will want to exercise more.
Most adults are moderately to severely sedentary. This affects not only your weight, but also your mood and your overall outlook on life. Adding a little bit of physical activity will help with your goals and improve your mood as well.
Begin by taking the stairs whenever possible. It can be inconvenient. It might take a minute longer. But your health is worth a few extra minutes of walking. If you have many flights of stairs, you don't have to tackle them all at once. Begin by walking to the second floor, and taking the elevator. Do that for a week. Next week, go up one floor further.
When you leave, it is much easier to descend the stairs, so feel free to take the stairs all the way down to the ground level. If that feels like too much, then go halfway down and take the elevator the rest of the way. The key is to move more today than you did yesterday.
Another way to add physical activity is to park farther away from the store. You don't need to have the closest parking space, even if it is too cold or too hot outside. Park farther than you did yesterday, and walk. You don't have to hike a half-mile across a massive parking lot. Just park farther from the building than you did before. Enjoy being outside, if even for only a few moments. Notice the feel of the air on your face, the scent of the air, the temperature, and make sure to look up at the sky. Appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Yoga Helps Weight Loss
6. Add Some Yoga to Your Day: You don't have to spend an hour contorting into impossible poses in order to enjoy the weight loss benefits of yoga.
Of course, an hour of hot yoga will energize your body and increase your metabolism, but you might be surprised to learn that even gentle yoga can offer weight loss benefits.
In an ongoing study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, lead researcher Alan Kristal studied more than 15,000 adults in their 50's, and discovered that overweight people who did yoga at least once a week for four years lost an average of five pounds, while those who did not practice yoga gained nearly 13.5 pounds.
Scientists are still studying why gentle yoga can help with weight loss, but the answer seems quite simple. A regular yoga practice improves how the brain reacts to stress, which can lead to better, healthier choices.
In addition, the practice of yoga creates a connection between the mind and body. Not only are you exercising the body, by stretching and bending, but you are also connecting to your body through your breathing. As you become aware of your body, and tune in to how it feels, you become more compassionate to yourself.
Yoga For Your Health
Yoga For Every Body
Fruits and Vegetables Can Help You Lose Weight
Fruits and Veggies Help With Weight Loss
5. Increase Your Intake of Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are mostly water. When you eat a lot of these foods, you fill up faster, with fewer calories. They can also help you stay hydrated, improve digestion, and decrease cravings of less healthy, sugar filled foods.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, fruits and vegetables help people feel fuller with fewer calories. Eating raw or steamed vegetables and whole fruits increases fiber intake, helps reduce fat intake, and aids in weight loss.
To increase your fruit and vegetable intake, try adding fruit to you breakfast cereal. Or skip the cereal entirely and eat a bowl of mixed fruit topped with yogurt and nuts.
At lunch, forgo the french fries in favor of a salad with your sandwich. Or eat a salad first, then see how hungry you are afterward.
For mid-morning and afternoon snacks, eat carrots instead of chips. Add a little peanut butter or cheese for healthy protein and fat.
When you eat dinner, try adding vegetables to the menu. Potatoes are okay, but also make a salad, or cook additional vegetables.
Finally, when dessert time rolls around, try eating a bowl of fruit, with a tiny dollop of ice cream, instead of a bowl of ice cream.
It's easy to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and your body will thank you.
Plant Based Whole Food Diet
Eat Less Meat
4. Go Meatless: Research indicates that reducing your intake of animal products such a meat, cheese, butter and milk will help you lose weight, as well as improve cardiovascular health.
Don't panic. You don't have to be drastic and become a vegan. You can easily reduce the amount of meat and animal protein you consume. Start small and make gradual changes.
Beginning with breakfast, you can make easy changes a part of your daily routine. Replace milk with almond milk. Or instead of drinking a latte with half and half, try a cup of hot tea. You will save calories and feel better.
At lunch, instead of a burger, try having a salad. Or try a black-bean burger or other vegetarian option. Most restaurants offer a wide selection of vegetarian entrees and selections. And if you don't see something you like, just ask them to hold the meat. You'll feel less bloated and full by skipping the meat once in a while.
At dinner, try preparing a delicious stir-fry with whole grain rice and sautéed vegetables. You probably won't even miss the meat if you use a tasty teriyaki sauce.
Don't try to convert everyone in your family to your healthier way of eating. They are likely to rebel. Instead, suggest "meatless Monday" as a way for the family to be healthy and save money. Enlist their help in creating delicious dishes that contain nut or bean protein.
Don't worry that you won't get enough protein in your diet. Most American's consume more than enough protein every day. One day without meat will help your waistline, and your pocket book.
If you find that you feel better when you eat less meat, perhaps you could consider a vegetarian or vegan diet. Going vegetarian isn't hard. When you replace fatty animal products with healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains, your body will feel lighter and healthier.
Instead of labeling yourself a vegetarian, try adopting a plant-based diet. While you can still eat meat, the main focus of your eating centers around whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Nuts, beans and legumes round out the diet, making it a healthy option for most people. Use meat sparingly, as an accompaniment to your healthy meal.
Turn your health around
Less Sugar Means Less Weight
3. Reduce Sugar: Most people have heard that sugar is bad. What's so bad about something that tastes so good? Sugar provides nearly no nutritional benefit, but can cause numerous health problems, including but not limited to weight gain, diabetes, joint stiffness, and irritability.
According to the Mayo Clinic, reactive hypoglycemia is the crash that follows a sugar-filled meal. Symptoms of the crash include sleepiness, hunger, anxiety and irritability. Instead of high-sugar meals or snacks with little nutritional value, eat foods high in protein, fiber and natural sugar. This helps you maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Sugar is directly related to weigh gain. Most foods that are high in sugar are overly processed, high in fat and devoid of nutrition. Although your body might feel full after eating a processed meal, you receive little nutrition and feel hungry again shortly after eating.
Eating a lot of sugar also increases the amount of fats in your blood stream. According to the Mayo Clinic, high levels of triglycerides are related to heart disease and obesity.
Sugar increases the body's fat storage. When you eat sugar, your body produces insulin to process the sugar. If you muscles do not need the energy for exercise, your body stores it in the form of fat, for later use. As your body produces more and more insulin, cells develop resistance to it, and your body must produce more insulin for the same result. When you have large amounts of insulin in your blood stream, diabetes can develop in addition to fat storage. A vicious cycle begins because of high sugar levels.
How do you reduce the amount of sugar in your diet? The first step is obvious. Cut out snacks, drinks and foods that are highly processed. If you drink a soda at every meal, try cutting out the soda and drink water or unsweetened tea.
Stop snacking on candy. Instead eat fruits, vegetables or nuts. Cake, candy, and other processed food is full of empty calories, sugar and corn syrup. If these foods make up a large part of your diet, the task may seem gargantuan. Don't be fearful. Start small. Start with one meal. Change what you eat for breakfast. As you adopt one simple change, you will find that you feel better.
For more information on how reducing sugar can help you lose weight, click on the article below:
Fat Makes You Fat
2. Reduce Fat: A high fat diet leads to weight gain, obesity and heart disease. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet will help you lose weight, feel healthy and live longer.
Of course, fried foods taste good. But you know that coated, bloated feeling you have after eating a heavy meal full of fat? That is the fat, congealing on your tongue, in your stomach and in your arteries. The temporary good taste of fried foods is not worth the long term health risk associated with eating a high fat diet.
There are simple ways to reduce the amount of fat you eat. First, remove visible fat from food before you cook it. The skin on your chicken, the fat on your steak? Yeah, they taste good going down, but they will stop your heart.
Don't add fat to foods. Most food, unless you are eating steamed vegetables or grains, has some amount of fat already in it. Develop a taste for the flavor of the food, not the flavor of the fat.
Butter tastes good, but it is not good for you. If you can't get yourself to stop eating it entirely, try using less. Most of us slather too much butter on our bread. Try cutting it way back, and see if you can enjoy the taste of food, without the fat.
You can reduce the amount of fat in baking by substituting it with applesauce. It sounds crazy, but your family will never notice the difference.
Choose to make your own food, rather than purchasing processed, ready-to-eat food. Most of these foods contain high amounts of fat, sugar and salt, all of which contribute to obesity.
Allow yourself permission to eat something rich once in a while. You don't have to splurge every day, but a couple of times each month, it is okay to loosen the reigns and enjoy a steak or a rich dessert. You might find that very little will satisfy you.
Above All, Love Yourself
1. Be Kind to Yourself: There is nothing worse than beating yourself up. So you aren't at your ideal weight right now. Okay. Make small changes to get there. Don't berate yourself for what you did yesterday.
Today is a new day. Speak kindly to yourself. Use the voice in your head to encourage and uplift you, not tear you down and destroy you. The world is a harsh place. You don't have to add to the negativity.
Let your voice be a positive, encouraging one, especially when you are talking to and about yourself.
The only way to make lasting change in your life is to first change your mind. You have to decide, in this moment, how you would like your life to be. You don't need to worry about tomorrow or the next day. You can control yourself right now, in this moment.
Decide how you want your life right now, and be that. If you want to be healthy in this moment, then do healthy things now. Your life consists of a string of moments, one after another. If you made a bad decision in the past, let it go, make a better decision now.
You can't change the past, nor can you change the future. You can change yourself right now. Be kind. Forgive yourself. Express the greatest version of yourself in this moment, and you will discover that the healthy person was inside you all along.
Each day, take one step toward the healthy you that you want to become.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Deborah Demander
FAHD RZCHID from USA on November 14, 2017:
GOOD article you can visit my site
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 09, 2017:
Thanks for reading and for commenting Sonia. I find that drinking enough water and getting enough sleep set the tone for an entire day of healthy habits. I appreciate your feedback.
Sonia Sylart from UK on May 05, 2017:
Thanks for this timely reminder. I was very interested to see what you say about drinking enough water and getting adequate sleep. I struggle with these for no good reason and need to develop much better habits.
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on July 18, 2016:
@perspycacious, Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comment.
I believe yoga, meditation and exercise all need balance in order to lose weight.
I look forward to reading your article.
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on July 17, 2016:
My Hub on five diet keys is quite similar to yours here, especially when yoga, meditation, exercise, and stress get their pairings straight where they overlap. Nutrition, Hydration, Stress Reduction, Rest, and Exercise can pretty well sum up the keys to maintaining a healthy weight at any age. Good points in this one nonetheless.
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on January 25, 2016:
Thanks for reading and commenting. There are a lot of tricks out there, the main thing is to love yourself enough to care what you put into your own body. Take care,
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 24, 2016:
There are so many "trick" diets out there...thanks for telling it like it is with common sense tips. I see several I need to work on. Thanks!
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 22, 2015:
Thank you for reading and commenting, Rachael.
Rachael Lefler from Illinois on December 21, 2015:
Good tips :)
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 13, 2015:
Laura, Thanks for stopping by and reading.
Laura Grover from Maine on May 12, 2015:
Great informative article! I love the simple advice.
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on March 07, 2015:
Of course, your moderate approach has helped you be healthy. As far as I'm concerned, it's all part of that simplification process, which you wrote about. Simplify. No need for all that processed garbage.
And when you live in touch with yourself and the land, it is easier to be healthy. Both physically and emotionally.
Thanks for commenting.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2015:
I'm so fortunate. I've never had a weight problem. I've been in the same ten pound range for fifty years now. Of course, I stay active and eat in moderation, so that might have something to do with it. :)
Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on January 28, 2015:
Thank you, Writer Fox. I, too, hope that people begin to take the obesity epidemic seriously. It is a huge problem. No pun intended.
But there are simple things we can all do to improve our health.
Thanks for reading.
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on January 28, 2015:
I hope that people who really need this advice will find your article. Obesity is a huge problem even among children now.