How are you doing with your resolution to lose weight? It’s never too late to start! You can be successful at losing weight and reclaiming your health whether you start on January 1, January 26… or any other day of the year! The secret, of course, is to make the commitment and then follow through.
I was recently asked by a reporter who was interviewing me about The New Lean for Life to share my favorite “tips” or “secrets” for losing weight.
Here are six tried-and-true Success Strategies I shared with her. Try them for yourself and see how they work!
1. Weigh yourself daily. It’s a lot easier to stay on course when you have information. Weighing yourself every morning lets you know exactly where you stand—and whether the changes you’ve made in your diet and level of activity are paying off, or whether you need to make additional “tweaks” to your Daily Action Plan.
2. Stay hydrated. Your thirst signals and hunger signals are controlled by the same region of brain, called the hypothalamus. When you’re dehydrated, your brain can easily mistake thirst for hunger. On the Lean for Life program, we recommend 80 ounces of water or other calorie-free beverages every day.
3. Eat every three hours. When you eat small meals and snacks every three hours, you’re much less likely to avoid those spikes in blood sugar levels that can lead to cravings. Make a point to eat meals and snacks that include lean protein. Protein promotes the production of hormones and enzymes, and is responsible for building, maintaining and repairing tissues. Eating protein also reduces your levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. When levels of ghrelin, which is released by the stomach, are high, it sends a message to the brain saying, I’m hungry. When levels are low, it reduces your appetite. Some studies show that ghrelin levels are suppressed for up to three hours after a protein-rich meal.
4. Get your ZZZs. Getting plenty of sleep allows your brain to balance the production of your appetite hormones and keep your metabolism running at optimal speed. A lack of sleep deregulates appetite hormones, impairs your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, and spikes your cortisol levels, which promotes belly fat and increases appetite. What’s more, your gut regenerates its lining while you sleep. Not getting enough sleep can impair that process and may contribute to poor gut health, which in turn can result in weight gain and a host of other problems.
5. Get off the couch. A recent survey showed that many of us spend up to 12 hours a day sitting. When you add in the time you spend sleeping, that’s an amazing 19 hours a day of being sedentary. We call this “Sit-itis Syndrome” and it can lead to increased risk for obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Even short bursts of moderate physical activity can boost your metabolism, reduce cravings and promote weight loss. The Lean for Life program recommends 10,000 steps a day, and you can spread out the activity throughout your day.
6. Be the first to order. When you’re out at a restaurant with friends, read the menu carefully, make healthy choices, and make a point to order first.
Being conscious and deliberate about what you choose to eat is essential. It keeps your brain from getting hijacked by impulse. When you order first, you’re much less likely to be influenced or tempted to change your mind and “have what she’s having.”
Adopt these strategies—and others featured in The New Lean for Life—and you’ll soon find yourself weighing less and feeling healthier!