With all the loud noise that celebrity diets and new trends can bring, many simpler, overlooked ways to lose weight are often never even considered. Forget measuring, cutting food groups entirely, or doing fancy cleanses to drop weight. You don’t need to spend two hours in a gym to lose the weight either. Check out these 13 overlooked ways to lose weight and make dieting a whole lot simpler instead of making things so complicated. More than likely a diet that is prized this year by Hollywood will be disregarded later as being unhealthy anyway. Do it yourself the right and simple way and get a step ahead of everyone else.
One of the simplest, most overlooked ways to lose weight that is highly effective is to start a walking program. I make it a habit every morning to walk at a brisk pace (around 4.0 mph) for at least 30-40 minutes. I was always a tad bit overweight in high school and never exercised, yet my sophomore year of college, I simply started walking and dropped pounds in no time. Walking is also great for depression that can contribute to stress and weight gain. Starting out each day with a walk is also a great way to practice active meditation and give you energy for the entire day, without straining your joints as much as running. Be sure to tack on a little weight training too, at least 3 times a week, either with hand weights or with exercises like yoga that use your own body weight. This will help increase lean muscle, which burns fat.
2. Snack on Veggies
One of my favorite snacks is to slice red bell peppers and celery and sprinkle them with some salt-free seasoning like Mrs. Dash. This gives you the opportunity to eat and chew when you’re not really hungry enough to eat a meal, and also gives you extra nutrition. The seasoning also helps to give you a taste of salty and sweet, though you’re not eating sugar or salt to quell the craving. I also love carrots, zucchini squash and cucumbers chopped up to eat the same way. Snacking on veggies is a great way to trim down and it’s also cheap. Chop some up and keep them in the fridge for the week so you’ll grab these instead of chips when you want a snack. If you need something more substantial, add a few nuts with your veggies. This will tide you over until your next meal without causing you to fill up on too much sugar and fat.
3. Sleep 7-8 Hours Each Night
You can’t be deprived of sleep and expect to lose weight. You need to snooze to lose! Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night will lower you cortisol levels, which are your stress hormones. When cortisol is too high, your body tends to reach for more fat and sugar to make it happy again and relieve itself from stress. Cortisol also stores more body weight into your mid-section, which can contribute to Type 2 diabetes. No matter what you have to do to turn in, get enough sleep. This will also balance the hormones that influence your appetite, known as leptin and ghrelin, which tell you when you’re hungry and when you need to eat. Not getting enough sleep will disrupt their normal function and you may think you’re hungry when you’re really not.
4. Quit Sugar
You don’t need a diet book to tell you to put down the sweet stuff. Give up refined and added sugars for good if you want to drop weight. Sugar contains 16 calories per teaspoon and that can add up quickly, considering 1 gram of sugar is equal to 4 teaspoons. Just two grams of refined or added sugar is over 100 calories that your body won't use for long term fuel. So put away the sweets and kiss the weight goodbye the easy way.
5. Don’t Eat Processed Diet Food
Diet bars, shakes, frozen meals etc. will not help you lose weight. Think about it: those companies are marketing off of consumer desperation to lose weight. Don’t fall for that hype and lose weight the normal way by eating clean, unprocessed foods.Your body and metabolism prefer these much more over foods made of chemicals in a science lab.
6. Include Protein
Always include protein at each meal to stabilize your blood sugar, spike your metabolism and regulate your insulin levels. Protein is rich in amino acids that tell your body you are full, and keep your muscles tight and firm. Your muscles will actually burn fat if they get the right fuel from protein, so choose lean sources at each meal to make sure you’re getting in a top fat-burning food that can do the work for you.
7. Eat Yogurt
One great way to lose weight quickly is to eat nonfat, plain yogurt, especially Greek yogurt. Some people argue that dairy can make you gain weight, yet that isn’t true for everyone. If you’re sensitive to dairy or just vegan, then try an unsweetened soy yogurt by organic companies like Whole Soy and Co., which is also high in protein like dairy yogurt. The point of eating yogurt for weight loss is because it lowers your blood pressure levels, provides calcium and B12, potassium, and has tons of belly friendly probiotics. Lowering your blood pressure helps tame your body of stress and also fights inflammation, which are key to losing weight. Calcium also helps to burn fat and has been linked to a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in bone health. Vitamin B12 gives your body energy, enhances digestive function and prevents stress, while helping to balance your electrolytes. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help to fight off sugar cravings, weight gain, disease, and aid in digestive function. Eat at least one six ounce serving a day to reap the benefits. Kefir is a great source of these nutrients as well. Just be sure to avoid the yogurts with added fruits and sugars, which derail your efforts. Stick with plain, unsweetened varieties instead.
8. Eat Fish
Fish is a great source of lean protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, magnesium, and Vitamin B12. Each of these nutrients are extremely important for weight loss. Fish is basically made of seamlessly digested proteins that your body uses to burn fat, just by digesting them. Selenium is an important detoxification mineral for the body, which helps to ward the body of disease, toxins and depression. Magnesium aids in nervous system function, and can enhance the metabolism, tame sugar cravings, and help the body relax from stress. Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to a decrease in weight and in heart disease, and it's a great way to treat or prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fish such as salmon, trout, halibut, albacore tuna, tilapia and herring are all great sources of lean protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. Be sure to choose wild fish whenever possible and buy from a reputable source.
9. Eat Leafy Greens
Yes, you should snack on vegetables, but in the mean time, don’t forget about those leafy greens! Spinach, romaine, kale, chard, and collards are excellent for your body. They have iron and B vitamins to give you energy, Vitamin A to ward off disease and keep your immune system healthy, Vitamin E to keep your skin and eyes in good shape, fiber to fill you up and keep your regular, and chlorophyll to aid in natural detoxification. Greens flush toxins and fat from the body. Just by eating them, you’re helping yourself lose weight. Eat leafy greens in place of starchy veggies and grains and you’ll lose weight in not time. Steam them, eat them raw in salads, bake them into egg dishes, toss them in a smoothie, or any other idea you have. They are so filling and nutritious and they are high in chromium, a mineral that wards off sugar cravings.
10. Drink Water-rich Beverages
You don’t have to limit yourself to only drinking water, but drinking more water-rich beverages is overall important. Get rid of soda and caffeine, with the exception of one to two cups of coffee a day and green tea if you want. Just leave out the cream and sugar! I like to flavor my coffee with a touch of cocoa powder, unsweetened almond milk and stevia for an easy mocha coffee that I love, and I sweeten my herbal and green tea with stevia and lemon instead of sugar. Herbal teas, flavored waters, etc. are fine to drink in place of water as long as they don’t have added sugar. You should never be drinking your calories. Calories are made to be burned for fuel and your body doesn’t burn calories just by you sipping on them. Eat your calories, don’t drink them. I also find it helpful to keep water flavored with lemons and limes in my fridge so I don’t tire of the plain stuff.
If you think you won't lose weight with a slow exercise like yoga, think again. Yoga is amazing for weight loss. For starters, it lowers your stress, and as you now know, stress is a major contributor to weight gain due to excess cortisol. Yoga also strengthens your arms, tush, legs and core, even though it doesn't feel like you're doing much. I traded out the gym for yoga three years ago, and honestly, my body looks better now than ever. Plus, I no longer have muscle fatigue or joint pain from all those heavy weights, yet I'm still getting the benefits of resistance training through yoga.
12. Add Juice
Don't do a juice cleanse to lose weight. It's terrible for your insulin levels, and even green juice has sugar in it, fruit or not. Drinking juice alone makes your body secrete more insulin, and raises your blood sugar, which triggers more insulin, and insulin stores fat. Instead of juicing for meals, however, juicing in addition to meals can actually help you lose weight. Green juice is especially alkalizing and clears fat from the body and blood. To keep your juice taste-friendly and low glycemic, use carrots and beets instead of fruit. They have less fructose than fruit does, which isn't as easily converted to fat by the liver, which most sources of fructose is. It is also more friendly to your blood sugar, and won't leave you shaky. I like to use 2-3 varieties of greens, and one carrot or one beet and a lemon for sweetness and tartness that's quite refreshing.
13. Add a Green Smoothie
Along with green juices, green smoothies are another great way to drop pounds. Don't put tons of nut butter or fruit in them, or the calories increase, along with the weigh-gaining properties. It's fine to use 1/2 cup of fruit or 1 tbsp. nut butter, but be sure to include more greens than fruit, and sweeten with stevia instead. Green smoothies have tons of fiber to keep you full, plus, they are very alkalizing to the body, which clears waste and helps to cleanse the body from toxins that store fat. If you've been overdoing it on the chocolate, wine, or sweets lately, have a green smoothie for breakfast or lunch!
You can’t rush your body into weight loss. It will take time to do it the right way, and by rushing yourself into losing weight, you may be creating stress preventing you from losing weight. Be patient and overall keep things simple. No need in making weight loss any more complicated than it has to be. Have you ever lost weight the healthy way? Share your success and tips!