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Tips I used for losing Weight

Thursday, May 31, 2012

1. Change the way I eat – “dieting” implies a temporary process with an eventual end. I had to shift my mindset to “I’m now going to eat healthy” and I’m more committed to a life-long goal. It’s much easier to avoid eating junk when it doesn’t fit into my “lifestyle” compared to when it doesn’t fit into my “diet”.
• Drink tons of water. When I feel as if I’m starving, I pour myself a huge glass of water — it will help suppress the urge to snack.
• Do NOT Go Hungry – losing weight does not mean that I need to be hungry all of the time. I had to realize that I will be hungry sometimes but all the time was bad. In fact, if I allow yourself to go hungry too often, I’m doing myself a disservice by slowing down my metabolism. So instead of eating until I get “full”, I try to eat less.
• Portion Control. It’s a balance between hunger and portion control. I start using smaller plates. I automatically put back one scoop of whatever I pour for myself. I only eat half of a prepared meal.
• Stop Eating Fried Foods – there are no valid reasons for me to eat foods like french fries, donuts, fried chicken, or anything else that has ever seen the inside of a deep fryer. Better options are always available.
• Limit Processed Foods and Low-Quality Carbohydrates – eliminate as many processed carbohydrates from my diet as possible. If I am going to eat bread or pasta, I aim for the 100% whole-grain varieties. Even though most processed carbs are fat-free, they are essentially pure sugar in an alternate form. When I eat a massive bagel, I end up hungry an hour later. It’s a processed carb that doesn’t fill my body. Instead, I replaced the carbs in my diet with lean proteins and healthy fats (celery with peanut butter, whole nuts, and chicken breasts). Go protein shakes! (& high-quality carbs like fruits are always good)
• Eliminate Soda & Juice – one of the best (and easiest) changes I made was to eliminate all sugary drinks from my diet (including fruit juices, sugary coffee drinks, and soda). These drinks provide nothing but empty calories and an insulin spike that leaves the body hungry and tired. I cut these out completely and I definitely noticed a difference. Even try to cut out diet sodas because the sweetener it uses has been proven to increase the feeling of hunger.
• Eliminate Sugar and Sugar substitutes – High fructose corn syrup, Sugar, natural sweeteners, artificial sweeteners are all bad. I rant about them later.
• Track the intake of food – I write down everything I eat and how many calories it has. It forces me to make a conscious decision to eat something I know is bad for me, which is usually a good deterrent to stop me.

2. Sleep! (still working on this one) Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, regulate our appetite, and both are directly affected by how much sleep we get. These hormones work in a kind of "checks and balances" system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Cortisol, the so-called "stress hormone" released by the adrenal glands, has received a great deal of attention because of its link to stress and weight gain. When you are not getting enough sleep, your body is stressed, which heightens cortisol levels. The body goes into "flight or fight" mode and stores fat, particularly in the stomach area. Getting eight hours of shut-eye each night helps the hormones work properly, which in turn will help aid in weight loss.

3. Stay Active – start off small (I take the stairs instead of the elevator, I park further away, I walk instead of taking the shuttle, etc.) and I gradually worked my way up to moderately-intense exercise at least 4 days a week. I am always looking for ways to add small amounts of activity into my day (on top of going to the gym). One hour at the gym can’t erase the fact I sit in front of a computer all day. Also I picked activities that I enjoy (or can at least tolerate) and make sure I stick with it.

4. Leverage My Environment – understand which unhealthy foods are likely to trip me up (like sweet and salty snacks – chips and ice cream). So, I never bring them in the house. I completely eliminated them from my surroundings. I don’t even buy foods that I know are unhealthy. Then I won’t have to generate the will-power not to eat them. On the flip side, I buy healthy foods (even if they don’t sound appealing at the time) and I am much more likely to reach for these better options during times of hunger.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.