For more than a decade the number one New Year’s resolution has been to lose weight, which is also closely interrelated to other commitments on the top ten list including: join a gym, eat healthier, get fit, manage stress and drink less alcohol.
Recent research shows only 12% of people who set resolutions actually achieved their goals – but it doesn’t have to be that low!
If you are serious about making lasting and positive habit forming goals this year you must first believe in your soul it’s possible. Then you need a plan that works and finally, to follow through until you have the most excellent outcome.
Here are 13 of the best ways to slim down for 2012 and beyond:
Make water your beverage of choice. Being dehydrated is a weight loss resister. If you are relying on thirst as a mechanism to drink you are too late. Plan to drink at least 8 eight ounce glasses daily. Increase that number if you are a larger person, exercising, on medication or spend excessive time in the heat.
Sleep 7+ hours a night. There is a mammoth connection between lack of sleep and obesity. During sleep is when toxins are cleaned up, and hormones are regulated. When sleep is restricted, the hormone ghrelin increases, which stimulates appetite and the hormone leptin decreases which signals fullness. There is a 50% greater chance of obesity with 5 or less hours of sleep.
Manage your stress – Chronic stress will make you ravenously hungry because hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol are released, increasing appetite and driving emotional eating which begins a vicious cycle that contributes to obesity. Stress also puts visceral fat around the mid-section.
Avoid all simple and processed sugars – When sugar is consumed, it raises blood sugar which makes it more difficult to release fat. Eating lower glycemic balanced meals will keep your body in a fat burning mode through the day and night.
Exercise daily – Our bodies were made to move every day. While it’s okay to rest from formal exercise 1 – 2 days a week, productive movement is encouraged each day for 20 – 60 minutes to stimulate the metabolism, burn fat, increase lean muscle mass and shed calories.
Detoxify – Our bodies become toxic from food, air, water, stress and other things in the environment that slow down our metabolism and make it difficult to release fat. A cleansing diet works to increase your metabolism by secreting toxins and increasing the efficiency of your major body organs to increased energy levels.
Eat Raw Foods – Eat foods in their most natural state. Preparing food with heat such as cooking and frying denatures the enzymes and ads toxins to your body which slows metabolism. Raw foods such as vegetables, fruit and nuts are high in nutritional value and you don’t need to eat as much to nourish your body. They are easy to digest, your body uses the nutrition for your metabolism to function properly and they are high in fiber.
Eat smaller portions – This may seem very obvious, but we live in a supersized nation were today’s kids are growing up with portion distortion. Not only is over feeding (and under nourishing) contributing to obesity, but over eating causes inflammation in the body which is the common denominator for all disease. Eating fewer calories is associated with healthy body weight and longevity.
Distribute your meals properly – Consume a larger breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner. Having a larger balanced breakfast will jump start your metabolism, stimulate your digestion to eliminate waste, fill you up, give you energy and take your mind off of food for hours. A medium sized lunch will give you a metabolic boost and give you enough energy to carry you through the rest of the day. Eating a smaller dinner, with less carbs allows your body to focus on fat loss overnight.
Stop eating 3 hours before bed – The food consumed late at night is rarely healthy, low calorie or in small portions. If you are truly hungry an apple and a glass of water would satisfy you.
Eat protein at each meal – Lean protein helps to curb hunger and is needed to build lean metabolic muscle and more calories are used burning protein than carbs or fat.
Single mindedly eat – When dining, it’s not the time to multi-task. If you are distracted by other things such as driving, cooking, or cleaning, it will not register with your brain that you have eaten and you will be stimulated to eat again. Set the table, sit and savor every bite.
Chew your food well. Digestion starts in the mouth with the teeth biting off and pulverizing food. Chewing the food well allows you to extract the nutrition and you will feel full when eating less because it takes 20 minutes before the “fullness” signal is sent to the brain.
Choose one habit you are ready to adopt and focus on it until it’s a natural and enjoyable habit. Then choose another and repeat until all 13 become a part of your lifestyle. Then you can live in a healthy, energetic, vibrant and slim body. It does initially take commitment, however it can easily become a natural extension of the habits you create. It can be easy and enjoyable!
Kelli Calabrese is a 25 year fitness industry leader. She is the coach for the award winning Argyle Adventure Boot Camp, a consultant with Isagenix, the world leader in nutritional cleansing, a founder with Beyond Organic and host of her TV wellness show.