Many people make goals around New Years regarding their weight, and if you’re looking to stabilize your weight this year, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’ve gained or lost too much weight, there are simple things you can do to get back to your “happy” weight, which isn’t too thin, larger than you feel comfortable, or anything less than what makes you feel your best. Your happy weight is the weight your body naturally stabilizes itself at when your metabolism is running at optimum. Don’t worry, it’s not impossible to reach that weight at all. It just takes patience and some work. I’ve been on both ends of the weight spectrum and have managed to stabilize my own weight many times over the years before finally reaching my “happy weight” and maintaining it for two years. If you need some help to stabilize your weight, check out the following 11 tips below. I think you’ll find they’re not rocket science, but they do require a little tough love and self care!
1. Eat Breakfast
This sounds so boring, but one of the best ways to stabilize your weight is starting each day out on the right foot with your food. Now, it’s okay if you don’t want to have breakfast right when you jump out of bed. I certainly don’t! But do be sure to eat a healthy meal with at least 10 grams of protein that’s low in sugar within one hour of getting up. This will stoke your metabolism and fuel you for the day ahead. It might take some getting used to, but as your metabolism becomes healthy, you’ll see how much better you feel, and how incredible your body starts to look.
2. Moderate Exercise
We should be active every day but I don’t believe in killing yourself every day with hard workouts. Moderate exercise each day will help you reach your happy weight and then it becomes a great way to keep your weight stable. Overdoing exercise day after day burns out your adrenal glands, can harm your thyroid, hurt your hormone health, cause anxiety and stress, and wreck your metabolism, believe it or not. Not exercising is just as bad, in all the same ways, but it also contributes to obesity, arthritis, early aging and depression. To get a happy medium, be sure you exercise at least 30-40 minutes a day. It can be as simple as walking with stretching, brisk walking at an incline, jogging, yoga, Pilates, or weight training, etc. I also recommend adding in a little bit harder of a workout at least twice a week to stoke your metabolism. This can be a faster form of cardio, HIIT, heavier weight training, advanced yoga, etc.
3. Eat Enough Protein
Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t believe in overdoing protein like bodybuilders do, or eating so much it causes health problems, but protein sometimes gets a bad rap. Believe it or not, your body needs protein both if you’re too thin, or overweight. That’s the beauty of this macronutrient. Protein can help add lean muscle to your body if you’re underweight and at risk for bone fractures, a slow metabolism, irregular insulin levels, constant fatigue, iron deficiency, thinning hair, bad nails, or depression due to protein’s amino acid complex. It can also help you lose body fat by increasing lean muscle if you’re overweight because lean muscle burns fat in the body when there is excess weight to burn off. Protein should be eaten at each meal in roughly 15 gram amounts, minimum. I don’t recommend going over 30 grams per meal. Try to keep snacks to containing at least 10 grams of protein for the best benefits, at least until you reach your happy weight. Also be sure to choose lean sources of protein, from both plant and animal sources.
4. Include Carbs
We should all be eating carbs, no matter if we’re underweight, or overweight. When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, your thyroid function starts to slow down. It also causes food cravings, fatigue, ketoacidosis that can lead to gout, and many other problems as well. The key is to choose smart carbs. If you’re underweight or overweight, be sure to keep healthy carbs in your diet, having at least one or two a day. They’re best eaten earlier in the day for better insulin levels, and to provide your body energy, which is what carbs are for.The key to eating carbs is to be sure to eat them with lean protein, and if you’re looking to gain weight, add a tablespoon of healthy fats with your carbs. If you’re looking to lose weight, leave out the fat, but eat protein to stabilize your insulin levels. Healthy carbs include sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole rolled oats or steel cut oats ( not instant), berries, apples, oranges, papaya, pomegranates, and most all lower sugar fruits. Other great sources include wild rice, amaranth, brown rice and sprouted grain breads. Eat smaller amounts of these since they are lower in fiber than other sources are.
5. Include the Right Amounts of Fat
If you’re looking to gain a little weight, be sure you do not leave fat out of your diet, or even skimp on it. I know it might seem scary to start eating fat, but you’d be surprised just how well your body will respond. Around 2 tbsp. per meal is all you need to notice a huge difference. Try nuts and seeds (non-roasted is best), avocados, higher fat fish like salmon, raw nut butters or unsalted regular nut butters, whole eggs (organic), coconut oil or butter, olive oils, flax oils, and hemp oils, and even dark chocolate. Enjoy about 4 servings or 5 servings of 2 tablespoons a day to gain healthy weight in just a couple weeks. After that, you can easily cut back to 1 tablespoon per serving. If you’re looking to lose weight, do not leave out these fats either. They are essential to your thyroid, your mood, your hormones, and even your digestive tract. Healthy fats also help your body absorb nutrients from your foods. Eat 1 tablespoon serving per meal, or at least 3-4 small servings throughout the day, either alone or with meals. Focus more on lean protein than healthy fats, but don’t leave them out! Your metabolism will slow if you do.
6. Get Rid of Sugar
Everyone, whether looking to gain or lose weight, needs to cut sugar, refined grains and refined foods, out of your diet. They hurt your blood sugar levels, are void of nutrients, can trigger unhealthy food habits that lead to disordered eating, and are actually known to contribute to a lower metabolism and depression. Even healthy sources like brown rice syrup, maple syrup, agave, coconut nectar, molasses, honey, etc. should all be left out because they contain just as much sugar as table sugar. Use fruit, stevia or a sugar alcohol like xylitol instead.
7. Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber is your friend ladies! I know it can cause uncomfortable issues for some of us, but it’s actually fabulous for many, many reasons in helping you stabilize your weight. For starters, fiber helps slow down the rate that carbs are digested. This is good for a few reasons. FIrst, it prevents insulin spikes that can lead to a sour mood, crazy cravings, excess cortisol in your body, and weight gain. It can also help enhance fullness which teaches your body to run at it’s optimal meal intervals which is every 3-4 hours. If you have issues with hard to digest fibers, be sure to eat more simple forms like oats, sweet potatoes, berries, leafy greens, celery, oat bran, ground flax, brown rice, wild rice, and squash. These are usually easier for people to tolerate than broccoli, beans, sprouted grains, legumes, high sugar fruits, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and wheat bran. Though some of those are healthy for you, they can cause pain and bloating if you’re not used to them.
8. Eat Proper Portions
This rule is simple, but so many people tend to forget about it. Be sure to keep your portions under control. How many calories you consume per portion will depend on whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain weight. I don’t think constant counting calories is a healthy way to live. Ensure your meals are well balanced and include the relevant amounts of the various nutrients I have indicated above.
9. Focus on Quality over Quantity
Remember, no matter if you’re underweight or overweight, it’s more important to focus on the quality of your foods than the quantity. Whatever your goal is, you can be sure to gain or lose weight, as long as you keep your foods of high quality.
10. Watch Your Caffeine
Caffeine is not your enemy, but many people underweight sometimes drink too much, to avoid eating, or for energy instead of food. Many overweight people consume too much caffeine because their metabolism is so slow, it needs a boost to get it going each day. Whatever the case, it’s fine to have one or two servings from coffee or tea. Just be sure to leave out the sugar and then switch to decaf after you’ve had your one-two servings. Your metabolism won’t only improve, but so will your mood, and your hormones. Too much caffeine causes excess cortisol in the body, which leads to stress and emotional havoc.
11. Reduce Your Stress
Lastly, manage your stress. If you’re overweight, this can help reduce excess cortisol being pumped out in your body that comes from high stress. Excess cortisol leads to weight gain, along with depression, poor insulin levels and more. If you’re underweight, excess stress might cause you to stop eating, or might wreck your metabolism due to the excess adrenal fatigue . Reducing your stress is more important than you could ever know. Be sure to implement stress-reducing exercise into your day like walking, yoga, pilates, stretching, or just get at least 30 minutes of quiet time to yourself throughout the day.
Reaching your optimal weight is more important and easier than most people think. It only takes around one or two months to start seeing a big change. Don’t fear taking this important step for your health. You’ll feel better than you have in years! What’s your best tip for stabilizing your weight?