If you have been following me or my page for any amount of time, you know I don’t like gimmicks. I don’t believe in quick fixes or miracle weight loss products, but I do believe in making this lifestyle change as easy as possible. Throughout my years of coaching clients through lifestyle changes and various nutrition consults, I have picked up on a few tips and tricks that can make this process feel less like a chore.
Not only are veggies incredibly healthy for you, containing many vitamins and minerals that your body craves and needs, but also they can make your weight loss a bit easier. Vegetables are what are known in the health and fitness world as a nutrient dense food. This means that these foods, specifically green veggies, have more nutrients than calories, consisting of mostly water, fiber, and a bit of protein. Calorically, one serving of chicken breast (4oz) is equal to around 3.5 cups of broccoli! Imagine how full you will be after eating your usual baked chicken and serving of rice, with even just two cups of broccoli with seasoning, adding less than 100 calories to a meal. Adding in green veggies to an otherwise protein and carb heavy dish can add enough volume to take that “diet” meal from a sad plate of food to a filling, satisfying meal. This is one of those “hacks” to feel like you’re eating more, even in a calorie deficit, while also getting those vital micronutrients and fiber in your intake. Have no fear though, I’m still all about balance. If you do not like broccoli or spinach, I’m not telling you to eat 30 cups of it in a day. Find a vegetable that you do like, and be sure to incorporate it in at least one meal per day.
Drink Ya Water
This one doesn’t really seem like a hack, does it? Everyone (including me) and their mother has hammered it into your heads that water is essential to a healthy body. Your body is over 70% water, and staying properly hydrated helps every major system in your body run smoothly and efficiently. To stay properly hydrated, you need at least eight 8oz glasses of water in a day, more if you’re physically active or drink caffeine or eat salt. Now that we covered the basics, we’re going to discuss how your water intake can “hack” your progress. Did you know that the cue for thirst is most often confused for the cue for hunger? That’s right. More often than not, that first little craving for food is actually your body asking you for some water. Obviously, true hunger pangs are much different, and, if you haven’t eaten for a while, you probably are truly hungry, but when you feel like you just ate and now you’re hungry again? That’s probably a cry for water. Next time you feel that twinge that you want food, but don’t really feel hungry, reach for a glass of water. Down a full 8oz of water and wait about ten minutes. If you’re still hungry, reach for a healthy snack, but you may find that you weren’t that hungry after all. Also, drinking a full glass of water before a meal can help prevent overeating, as it acts almost like this veggies we just discussed, filling you up a bit for no calories. Not only is water essential to survival, but can also be used to your advantage in your healthy lifestyle.
I know that it seems like your favorite foods are off limits during a time of “health and fitness,” but that can’t be any farther from the truth. Setting any food as off limits will only make you crave it more. I personally love sugar and sweets, and I always make room in my day of eating for a treat, because otherwise, I’ll go crazy. I know from experience that if I don’t allow myself any of my favorite foods, I will cave, have a little bit, have way too much more, and then feel the guilt. Food should never be associated with guilt, ever. Food is a necessity for survival, and you should never feel any sort of guilt or shame for feeding yourself. That is much easier said than done, especially when overeating comes from food with very little nutritional value (like my sugar), but associating food with guilt will only further the cycle of restrict and overindulge. Allowing yourself to eat a serving of ice cream after dinner (just one, not four servings), while still in your calorie and macro range, will make this healthy thing seem less like a diet, and more like a lifestyle. As well, doing this teaches you balance. It teaches you that, if you want dessert later, you need to alter your previous meals to make room for it. Learning this balance will help you later in your journey, when maybe you no longer need to track your macros to maintain your weight or make progress.
As I said at the beginning of this article, there are no miracles or quick fixes in weight loss. This journey is not a sprint, but a marathon. Although this journey to a healthy lifestyle is no quick or easy one, there are a few tips and tricks that we can utilize to make this change less daunting. None of these tips that I just listed are revolutionary, they’re probably pieces of advice that you’ve already heard before. We’re just taking tried and true healthy tips, and tweaking them ever so slightly, just to make your journey easier. Try these out, and see how much less miserable your healthy lifestyle is.