There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out without going on a diet. I’m personally not a fan of diets as they end up in failure more often than not. Anytime you’re being restrictive, especially when it comes to food, you’ll end up wanting more of what you can’t have. This usually ends up in bingeing and sabotaging the efforts you’ve initially put in. The physical and psychological effects of dieting are damaging in the long run. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed., author of The Rules of “Normal” Eating, explains, “Every diet takes the body further away from knowing what and how much food it needs for satisfaction and fullness. The push for dieting is nothing but reinforcement for everything that is wrong with restriction and arbitrary rules about eating.” Instead of restricting your food intake, here are some tips on how you can make healthier choices and lean out without dieting.
1. Fill up on fiber
Fiber can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables so make your plate as colorful as possible. Greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus should be incorporated for nutritional value. Fruits such as berries and watermelon have higher water content and will keep you satisfied longer. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, quinoa and lentils are also filled with fiber which helps you feel more satiated during your meals.
2. Skip the carbs at night
Nighttime is when you’re less active so be wary of what you put into your mouth. Stick with lean protein and a bigger portion of veggies for dinner. Skip the bread and pasta unless you just had a major training session in the evening. Consume most of your carbs for breakfast and for lunch. You’ll having a better chance of burning that energy during the day since you’re moving around more.
3. Never skip breakfast
It sounds like a no-brainer but according to a poll from Instantly where 10,000 Americans were surveyed, more than half skip breakfast at least once a week because they weren’t “hungry in the morning” or “didn’t have time to eat.” When you’re sleeping you’re already fasting for 7-8 hours. After you awake, you should put something in your system within an hour to rev up your metabolism. By skipping breakfast, your put your body into a catabolic state to store fat rather than burn fat. Start with something light if you’re not used to eating in the morning. Greek yogurt and berries or almond milk with whole grain cereal are healthy choices. As your body adjusts to normal eating patterns and you crave more, you can add eggs or omelette to have a complete meal.
4. Drink Water
This is an absolute necessity not only for a healthier lifestyle but for efficient weight loss and fitness gains. Water also supresses appetite. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Besides flushing out toxins, it also improves energy levels and keeps you well hydrated for fitness activities. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water a day. Always start your day off with a glass of water in the morning to get your metabolism going.
5. Fill up on soup
Due to it’s high water content, you will remain more satiated for your meal. Stay away from rich, heavy and cream based soups and opt for broth based and low sodium instead. Throw in tons of veggies and add beans and lean protein for a balanced meal.
6. Savor your meal
It takes twenty minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. Take the time to chew your meal to prevent from overeating. Drink some good ‘ol H20 along the way and enjoy every bite. Try to aim for being eighty percent full instead of one hundred percent.
7. Lift weights regularly
Building lean muscle overall will increase your metabolism since you burn calories at rest. When you perform high reps or intense weight training, it boosts your metabolism which keeps it elevated post workout. This is called EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Numerous studies have shown conclusively that strength training, in combination with good nutrition burns fat much more effectively than dieting alone and dieting with aerobic exercise. The more lean muscle you have, the more fuel you burn. By incorporating a strong weight training program into your regimen, you can experience EPOC as long as 38 hours after your workout which is great for fat loss and toning!
There are many ways in which you can lose weight or lean out those few extra pounds. Dieting alone will not help you get there. Making healthier choices in nutrition along with the combination of the right exercise program will determine your results. It all boils down to finding a healthy balance for yourself. What you eat accounts for roughly eighty percent of your appearance. Just because you exercise does not mean you’ll be able to achieve the desired fitness gains. Everyone has a different metabolism and some people can get away with more than others. Experiment through trial and error to see what combination works best for you. Whatever you do, don’t restrict or beat yourself up for not being perfect. Food can and should be enjoyed. Indulge in moderation. Exercise regularly. Make healthy choices and work on balance. Everything will fall into place if you aim to live a healthy lifestyle for the long run.
Cindy Lai Fitness
NASM – CPT
Holistic Health Coach