Practically everyday there is a new fad diet or weight loss system being promoted on TV, radio and the internet. Many celebrities endorse products and programs, and it becomes very tempting to invest in yet another program in hopes of losing those extra pounds and finding energy and vitality again. Billions of dollars are spent by many who are desperate to find results. Unfortunately, people eat for many reasons other than hunger and survival. Sadness, boredom, anger, frustration, loneliness and anxiety are at the top of the list. In addition, modern living has left so many people living more frantic, yet more sedentary lifestyles full of commuting, desk jobs, and watching or using electronics like cell phones TV, video games, and the internet for several hours a day. Although the reasons can be complex, just these two mentioned here can play a significant role in weight gain and low energy for all of us.
Here are 6 steps that anyone can use to begin to unlock energy and shed unwanted pounds right away.
- Eliminate starchy foods from your diet immediately. Yes, that means bread, french fries, chips, crackers, white rice, potatoes, and corn just to name a few. In addition, if you find yourself binging on snack foods regularly, ask yourself why you are seeking these foods? Is it more of a stress reducer or emotional numbing agent? Pick plant-based foods rich in vital nutrients instead if you just have to snack on something.
- Consume a lean protein and vegetable at each meal. This could look like eggs and spinach, turkey avocado lettuce wraps, or perhaps tofu or salmon and vegetables for a couple of examples. This combination of protein and vegetables ignites your metabolic fire, thereby creating an internal environment ideal for weight loss.
- Drink more water each day. Quite often we are more dehydrated than hungry. When you get the urge to snack, drink a cup of water and wait 10-15 minutes and it’s likely that hunger feeling will subside. A well-hydrated body functions better in so many ways related to circulation, joint movement and overall cell health.
- Sleep 6-8 hours per day. Your body does its best repair work when you are sleeping. Lack of sleep minimizes the extent of this important function and commonly leaves the body harboring excess toxins, tension and stress hormones as well. And yes, you guessed it, all of these prevent you from losing weight and also keep you stuck in the cycle of needing caffeinated drinks or sugary foods for a boost of energy during the day.
- Breathe deeply. Speaking of stress, slow controlled breathing or deep breaths where the belly rises, are extremely important for reducing stress and tension and increasing energy. Place your hand at your navel and inhale. Feel the belly expand. Pause, then exhale completely drawing in the navel toward the spine. This technique is also handy when you feel the urge to eat unhealthy starchy snack foods. Utilizing this technique gives you a moment to observe what feelings are coming up that are prompting this sabotaging urge to eat something that will derail your weight loss goals. Through improving awareness, poor habits and behaviors can begin to be changed.
- Add interval training to your exercise program. This means adding short bursts of high intensity exercise in the midst of your program. An example might be incorporating 30 seconds of sprints or jumping jacks every 2-3 minutes when you are out walking or jogging in your neighborhood. If you are at the gym, one example would be to increase the resistance on the stationary bike for 30-60 seconds every few minutes. Interval training challenges your body and ramps up your heart rate and metabolism. You will see much better results versus just setting the cardio machine at a certain speed and going through the motions for hours on end.
By following these guidelines, you will begin to see improvements in your energy level and notice that your weight and waistline will soon be decreasing. As with any worthwhile goal, enlist a friend or partner to help you stay accountable. There will be moments when you need encouragement beyond what you can give yourself. Contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I’ll be happy to assist you on your journey to better health and wellness.
Traci Vincent, PT, RYT