How cool would it be to get on the path to achieving your best body? A new year is just around the corner, and many of my patients are asking me how they can safely lose weight – and keep it off – without losing their sanity!
If you’re looking to lose weight, or get better at maintaining your weight, I have great tips for you. Adopting these easy practices will help you reduce your risk for serious health issues, become more energetic and seriously boost your mood. The best part? These are realistic goals that you can easily sustain long-term.
Get ready to nourish your body and soul, no matter the season:
1. Control your portions.
It’s fun to pile your plate high with your favorite foods, but you have to manage how much you’re eating in addition to what you’re eating.
A little cheat now and then isn’t the end of the world (come on, think about holiday temptations … it happens!), but try to master portion control. Instead of eating until you feel stuffed, stop eating once you feel satisfied. Savor the moment and focus on the delicious flavors and textures.
2. Ditch the soda.
We get so focused on what we’re eating, we often overlook what we’re drinking. Sodas are loaded with sugar and calories (yes, even diet soda!). The sugars and artificial sweeteners lead to dangerous belly fat accumulation and overall weight gain. Reach for water, fresh fruit juice or a healthy tea instead.
3. Don’t ditch breakfast.
Eating a healthy breakfast is like fueling up an airplane before takeoff. I don’t know about you, but I’m not heading up into the clouds in a plane with only 1/8 of a tank of gas. Food is your energy source. If you’re going to take off and conquer your day, you need the fuel to propel you. Try these healthy and energizing breakfasts.
4. Get adequate sleep.
Don’t derail your efforts by forgetting the importance of sleep. Sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain and other serious conditions like depression and diabetes. Aim for a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep to protect your mental and physical health.
5. Plan meals in advance.
Stocking your kitchen with healthy foods and snacks means you’ll always have something healthy at the ready. You’ll avoid making bad choices (e.g. take-out and fast food) that become very tempting when you have nothing else to eat. No post-meal guilt. No derailing your progress. You win.
6. Think before you eat.
Become a pro at mindful eating. Think before you eat! Will this meal nourish me? How will I feel afterward? Good? Energized? Sluggish? If there isn’t a benefit, eat something else.
7. Shop smart.
Here’s a trick my family and I stick to. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where the fresh produce, lean proteins and healthy grains tend to be. The middle aisles tend to be populated by the boxed, canned and processed foods.
At my house, we hardly have any foods that come in a box or a can. Maybe some quinoa and low-sodium organic tomatoes, but we stick to fresh, whole and natural.
8. Eat natural, whole foods & healthy fats.
I love how easily we can add these healthy foods to our lives! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry and eggs are great examples. Cook with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil to add a dose of healthy fat. The less processed the food, the better.
9. Manage stress.
Stress causes weight gain and other serious issues (depression, heart disease, etc.), so finding your Zen is crucial to losing and maintaining weight. Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are great stress-busters.
Devote 30 minutes every day to movement and exercise. Even moderate physical activity like a brisk walk will do the trick. Move with purpose throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Run around and play with your kids! Ride a bike instead of driving when you can (to run a close errand, go to a friend’s house, etc.). If you’re a senior (or just like the idea), walk around your local mall to get your blood flowing. Just move as much as you can.
Making positive lifestyle changes can be tough, but I’m rooting for you! Are you ready to take action? I hope you do because you’ll be on your way to feeling confident and at home in your own skin. You’ll transform into a healthier, happier you. You’ll feel nourished, energized and beautiful, inside and out.
Leave a comment below to share your progress, ask a question or encourage the tribe!
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
You can find this and other health articles by Dr. Partha Nandi, M.D., F.A.C.P., on his website, Ask Dr. Nandi.