“Just work out more and eat less, it’s that easy!”
If you’re currently on a weight loss journey, you’ve probably heard that one before: from friends, family, and strangers alike. Is this unsolicited advice true? Not really—while eating healthy and upping your exercise can help some shed weight in the early days of weight loss, this approach is difficult to maintain.
Luckily for us, there’s more to successful weight loss than diet restriction and exercise. Your weight is affected by a number of factors that influence your body, such as the amount you sleep, thoughts you have, and morning routine you practice.
Let’s ignore the usual advice and talk about a few holistic approaches to reaching your goals.
1) Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating, or the practice of increasing awareness while enjoying a meal, might be able to help dieters lose weight.
Mindful eating is thought to help dieters both eat less and eat more nutritiously. Have you ever sat down in front of your favorite reality TV show with an unopened bag of chips only to realize, an hour later, that the bag is now (somehow) empty? When dieters eat slower in a non-distracting environment, they may have an easier time sticking to just one serving during mealtime.
There’s no real “trick” to mindful eating: the next time you sit down to enjoy a meal, try to remove as many distractions from view as possible. Try clicking off the TV and moving your smartphone so it’s out of reach. Eat slowly, relish today’s delicious meal, and enjoy your family members’ company.
Practice these steps and you might find that you get fuller, faster.
2) Stick to Water
It’s cheap, it’s delicious, and it’s calorie-free. In case you’re not already sold, here are a few more reasons water is a great tool for weight loss.
When you’re opting for water, you’re not reaching for something else. Sounds simple, right? Simply choosing water over other drinks can make a huge difference in your weight loss journey, as sodas, fruit juices, and alcoholic beverages can add hundreds of sneaky calories into your diet per can.
To get a bit more science-y, water can help you burn calories faster. According to Healthline, drinking a half-liter of water can increase your resting energy expenditure (think “active metabolism”) by 24–30% for up to 60 minutes. Put another way, drinking water can kick your metabolism up a notch to help you burn more calories automatically.
As an added bonus, drinking water can make you feel more full. When you’re more full, you eat fewer unnecessary foods, meaning you keep that weight down. Isn’t water kind of the best?
3) Hit the Hay
Depending on your body’s unique needs, getting 7–9 hours of sleep a night can help you lose weight in two major ways.
The first way is automatic: your body’s metabolism becomes less effective when you start to slip on those all-important Z’s. One study from the University of Chicago found that your body produced an average of 30% less insulin after four days of less-than-ideal sleep. Insulin is a hormone that transforms food into energy: without it, the food you eat can be “burned” less productively.
Getting an adequate’s night sleep can help you make healthier, more conscious decisions about your diet. According to WebMD, sleep deprivation can slow your frontal lobe, the part of your brain associated with conscious processing and decision making. It may be easy to skip the donut on a day you feel well-rested, but your willpower might not be so strong on a day where you’re feeling groggy.
4) Enjoy a Cup of Joe
Now this one’s my personal favorite. Coffee? Good for you? Pinch me.
According to Healthline, coffee can boost your overall health in several ways. When it comes to thinning out, coffee presents a major metabolic benefit that stems from the stimulant “caffeine.” You’ve definitely heard of this one. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that makes coffees, teas, and certain soft drinks give you that beloved energy boost.
Caffeine can help boost your metabolism and increase the speed at which you burn fat. Studies show that a caffeine intake comparable to one or two cups of coffee can increase your metabolic rate by 3-11%. As for fat burning, caffeine can increase the burn rate in obese individuals by 10% and up to 29% for people of lower weight.
If you’re looking to boost your caffeine intake, but you’re not down with black coffee, try adding a little skim milk or artificial sweetener into your cup. Avoid heavy creamers or sugars, these will add unnecessary calories to your diet.
For additional sources of caffeine, consider trying unsweetened teas, syrup-free lattes made with skim milk, and the occasional diet soda.
Make Dieting Easier
Whether you’re someone who works out every day or a person that tends to be idle, your diet is one of the most important factors in your weight loss journey.
If you’d like a bit more guidance, consider signing up for a weight loss program. Our helpful comparison site lists, describes, and reviews some of our favorite weight loss programs on the market. In addition to having all of the information at your fingertips, our site automatically links you to some of the hottest deals and promotions for each program.