#1: Eat, don't drink your calories. Most people needing to lose weight consume a significant portion of their daily calories in their beverages. Let's look at an example day:
- 6:00 am: Venti Mocha: 380 Calories
- 7:30 am: Breakfast: 8-ounce cup of orange juice: 110 Calories
- 12:00 am: Lunch: 12-ounce Sweet Tea: 70 calories
- 2:00 pm: Afternoon slump coffee with 4 TBS of flavored creamer: 140 calories
- 6:30 pm: 2 8-ounce glasses of red wine with dinner: 386 Calories
Total beverage calories for the day: 1,086!!!! This should be convincing enough to say bye-bye to belly busting beverages.
#2: The best quote I ever heard from another fitness professional was "If it had a life, you can eat it. If it didn't, it's not food and you shouldn't be eating it." This is a fantastic principal to live by in order to ensure you are only eating whole, real foods. Whole real foods tend to have less calories and no added sugars compared to their processed counterparts. Did that candy bar have a life? No, there are not candy bar farms out there with candy bars grazing in pastures awaiting to be on your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, fish, whole-unprocessed grains, beans, and nuts were living and may still be up until the moment you eat them!
#3: Failure to plan is planning to fail. I have been in the health business for 18 years and the #1 reason for a person's failure to attain their goals is that they set themselves up for failure. So many people want behavior change to magically happen. They have a real hard time understanding that they are the Captain of their own ship. If it runs into the ground, there was only one person steering that boat! If your goal is to reduce your calories by 500 every day, then plan out every single calorie. That way you are guaranteed to achieve that daily goal. Saying you will "just wing it" or I will just "watch what I eat" is certainly a plan. A plan to fail. So let's just be honest and instead say, "I am not willing to put in the extra effort and work at this time in order for me to attain this goal" and leave it at that.
#4: Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. Nothing is more detrimental to your weight loss goals than sugar. Food producers are very good at adding and hiding sugars in products that you would otherwise never expect to see sugar. Have you looked at the ingredients in your favorite salad dressings, marinara, and bread. I bet they all have added sugar. The bottom line is that sugar triggers a hormonal process in your body that tells your body to store fat. As we get older, those cumulative effects are worse and worse. Let's say you were born before the internet and cell phones. You probably have already noticed that you cannot eat the things you used to eat and not gain a pound. For most of us, if we ate like were in our 20s again, we would probably gain 50 pounds in a year. This is because of something called insulin resistance, which sugar and yes, carbohydrates are the primary culprits. Try an experiment. Go 2 weeks without eating anything with added sugar. First of all you will realize how addictive the stuff is because you will most likely want to murder someone for a jelly bean about 2 days in. After the 2 weeks evaluate how you feel. I bet you notice you are sleeping better, your skin looks clearer and healthier, you may even notice your pants feeling a bit looser.
#5: Let's talk shit. Literally. Many people's inability to lose weight is found in their gut. More and more research is coming out every day about how important our bowel health is and sadly, most people abuse their gut! Think of your bowel as a very sensitive garden. You need to make sure its appropriately watered (hydration), fed the right foods (non-inflammatory foods that move well through the bowel), and manage those pests (bad bacteria can overgrow like weeds and wreak all sorts of havoc and good bacteria can die off from starvation or medications that made them die). Just like a garden, you must put time and effort into managing your gut health. Start with taking a probiotic every day. Also eat foods that grow good bacteria very well like onions, garlic, live culture yogurt or Keifer, kimchi, fermented vegetables and cruciferous vegetables.
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