We made it, gang. It’s finally 2021 and this year may be the year you have resolved to lose that weight! Unfortunately, some gyms are still closed or limited. And many folks are still concerned about their immune health and public interaction. This is understandable. And it's exactly why I am going to share some helpful weight loss tips to get yourself into shape regardless of how 2021 decides to unfold.
Whether it's the “quarantine 15” or an ongoing battle you have been facing for years, there are some very good and scientifically proven ways to get yourself into better or even the best shape of your life! While you’re at it, you might find your mental state, immune system, and sleep all take a turn for the better as well. Let’s dive in!
Weight Loss Tip #1: Let’s Talk About Groceries
Most would agree it is easy to eat healthy when there is nothing bad to grab. Makes sense. But what about when you are beginning a healthy transition? Here’s where the work begins.
For starters, go through the pantry and take a look at everything you would typically eat at least 2 times a week or more. Cereal, bread, cakes, peanut butter, and anything that comes in a box. Flip it over and take a look at the ingredients. If you see the following ingredients, throw it out!
Whew! What a mouthful. No pun intended.
Why is this so important? Most people understand that sugar is not good for you. But what’s so bad about all the others? Going into the problems surrounding each of these ingredients would require an entire article itself. But here are the main problems. Most of these foods contribute to insulin resistance and thus, diabetes and metabolic issues. Many are neurotoxins (they hurt your brain) and may also increase anxiety, which we could all use a bit less of. And many more are petroleum derivatives! So, this is why cleaning out the pantry is such an important first step!
Now, we have to replenish our pantries! A good rule of thumb is to buy organic when possible. This ensures that the food you are getting has not been treated or sprayed with any inorganic chemicals that can cause further metabolic damage and other physiological issues like gut troubles. In many cases, the price is comparable and so is the shelf life. And most stores have expanded their organic options.
This is an opportunity to eliminate a fair amount of grains from the diet and the house. This helps reduce the (mostly) dirty burning fuel, carbohydrates, from easy access and forces you to reach for fresh fruit to curb that sweet craving. More on this shortly.
If you are not too keen on going and doing a bunch of shopping and hunting around a grocery store with everything going on, use a grocery delivery service. Relative to the convenience, the price isn’t bad. Someone does your shopping for you and you can compare items to this article to ensure you want to purchase them. Then, it’s delivered right to your door. There goes one more excuse!
If you are going to the grocery store yourself, the old method remains gold: shop the outside of the store! Of course, it is common knowledge that not all fat is bad. So feel free to swing down the oil aisle for some high-quality olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. And lastly, don’t forget the organic spices!
Weight Loss Tip #2: Macronutrients and Calories
What weight loss article would be complete without talking about calories and macros? Obviously, this step is very important. But, one should not put all their faith into this part of weight management.
The calories in=calories out argument is all but dead in the water. Many of you have probably tried calorie restriction and most of you lost weight. Coincidentally, if you're reading this you most likely gained that weight back. Why is that?
The basic science is this. Our bodies are not a simple closed energy engine. Eating less does not result in losing and sustaining weight loss. This is because our bodies adapt! Like eating more, you either level out at a certain weight or begin breaking down muscle and continue increasing fat mass.
When we eat less for long periods of time, we begin to hold onto more fat! The reason for this is that fat is the most abundant source of energy in the body. More than twice as powerful as carbohydrates and protein. So, it makes sense that the low-calorie diets are always a means to an end.
Weight Loss Tip #3: Sustaining Weight Loss
The first topic of food was number one for a reason. That reason is the quality of the food is, in many cases, every bit as important as the quantity. Less toxic load will always equal less inflammation and greater weight loss. Make no mistake macros have a huge role as well. The best research points to reducing inflammatory carbohydrates such as wheat and other grains, simple and refined carbohydrates, and fruit juices, along with prioritizing protein and healthy fat as the best approach to not only a healthier lifestyle but sustained fat loss. This makes sense considering so many civilizations have thrived for thousands of years by eating animal protein which contains animal fat, and by relying on farmed or wild carbohydrate foods strictly depending on food scarcity or season. Of course, many can still thrive on vegetarian, vegan, and carnivorous diets. Most folks still tend to fall somewhere in the middle.
Now, this wouldn’t be a very good weight loss article without giving you some numbers to go off of, would it? Well, sorry to disappoint! The fact of the matter is there is no cookie-cutter approach to fat loss. The best advice I have ever heard comes from an expert in the field of insulin disorders and diseases. Dr. Benjamin Bikmam’s insightful recommendations to, “Prioritize protein, control carbs, and fill with fat,” are some of the greatest tips I have heard in all the years I’ve been in this field. Weight loss can be as simple as reducing toxic load and controlling carbohydrate intake, while making sure you are eating plenty of quality protein and fats. I won’t leave you high and dry though! A few good rules of thumb are as follows:
If you eat breakfast, always break your fast with protein and fat, as this doesn’t allow insulin, the main driver of fat gain, to increase early in the day. This helps keep the hormetic rhythm of our bodies in proper concert. And it’s more filling!
Try to match protein to the size of your palm (at minimum) with every meal. For me, a 185-pound man, that equates to roughly an 8 ounce serving of steak or chicken. Roughly 40-55 grams of protein. Perfect!
Dress your food with healthy oils! Organic, naturally flavored olive oil is a great addition to any meal! Or, even adding a pad of butter to finish off that steak or organic tofu adds a high amount of flavor and quality fat.
Restrict carbohydrates to dinner time and try to work your way down to half servings. Begin with typical (say half-full cup dry weight) servings of things like rice or quinoa or organic pasta, and work your way down to a lower serving while increasing your veggie and protein levels on the plate.
Use fresh fruits! Preferably organic berries, but to begin your journey, most fresh fruit is going to be a better grab than any sugary pastry or drink!
Other Important Pieces of the Puzzle
What else can we do? Now that we’ve overhauled the pantry, fridge, and kitchen with fresh and organic options, and have started cooking better quality and macro conscious meals, what’s left? The answer: a lot! There are a lot of other small changes or “hacks” that you can rope into your new routine to improve and hasten the results you want. Let’s take a brief look at a few tried and true add-ons to a cleaner, more ancestral dietary lifestyle.
Give Time Restricted Eating a Try!
Put simply, TRE is used to reduce the length of time you are eating throughout the day, giving your body time to properly digest and rest after the eating window. Though the term is new, the science is not! Humans have done TRE and fasting for thousands of years, though traditionally for reasons of food scarcity or illness. The benefits are far-reaching, including insulin reduction, blood sugar balance, inflammation reduction, better elimination, reduced bloating, and higher immune function.
Try a Meal Replacement Shake
Many of us cannot or do not want to eat early in the morning or eat in the morning at all. And while it is fine to fast through breakfast, many people wind up breaking the fast later with much worse foods due to hunger. This is where a meal replacement shake comes in. It’s virtually foolproof. Pick a quality protein (I like grass-fed whey), a sugar-free nut milk or water, add other ingredients if you like, such as greens powders, fiber, low sugar greek yogurt, organic nut butter, ice, etc., and blend! It is that simple! I even add a tablespoon or so of organic heavy cream to thicken and fatten up my shakes and reduce hunger further!
Walk 10 Minutes After Every Meal!
This one I stole from one of my favorite athletes, Stan Efferding. The research is clear that sitting after a meal is not a good idea. Especially when we have a “dirty” meal. There is a way to help mitigate the damage done by a low-quality meal or improve metabolic function after any meal. That is walking. I never have clients do intense or long exercise bouts after a meal. But, walking, preferably outside, after a meal is proven to increase peristalsis (food movement through the digestive system), reduce blood sugar and insulin, increase metabolism and reduce reflux symptoms! More is not better in this case which is why I never recommend anything intense until at least 1.5-2 hours post-meal. I know it is hard to get to a gym right now, and not everyone has the time and money to go to gyms or get training. Most of us can take a quick walk after dinner, though.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Use these simple yet effective weight loss tips moving forward this year to help you meet your resolution goals! Don’t let 2020 hang around in your mind and delay the opportunities that 2021 offers you to meet your goals and change your life!
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