15 Weight loss tips for your New Year's Resolution
So you gained some weight over the holidays, or you finally decided that you want to fit in those tight jeans that made your butt look amazing, or you're concerned about your health and are using the New Year as a fresh start and an occasion to change and improve yourself.
Whatever the reason, January seems to always be the "begin your diet" month.
Before you continue reading this, you must know that I'm against fad diets. The ones that tell you that if you only eat proteins you'll loose weight, that if you only eat carrots you'll loose weight, that if you eat food through a straw you'll loose weight. Let's not do that. That's just dangerous from a nutritional point of view and it can really drive a person crazy.
As I have written in previous articles, I don't diet, mine is more of a lifestyle. How did I gain weight over the holidays then? Two words: cookies and alcohol, not necessarily in that order. But we're not here to talk about my butter addiction or my wine loving friends.
Let's talk about 15 easy things you can tweak about your daily habits, that will help you loose weight, will give you more energy and will prevent you from "finding" those pounds (or kilos) again in February or March*!
1. Keep a logFor one week, keep a log of everything you eat, why you ate it (be honest with yourself… write down 'because I was bored' if that's the reason) and after an hour or so from eating it also keep a log of how you feel (bloated, gassy, happy, tired, energetic, not hungry, surprisingly not hungry). This is the first step to finding out which foods are good for your body and which foods aren't. I can tell you to cut sugars, but you're not gonna do it until you understand how deeply those sugars affect your digestive system and your mood. So I hope you got one of those useless paper and pen sets for Christmas, it's time to put it to good use.
2. Hunger VS CravingRecognize hunger against craving. Hunger comes to you slowly and can be postponed if you can't eat right that moment. Craving comes in suddenly and if you don't eat some carbs fast you're going to faint and/or kill somebody.
When you eat too many foods with low nutritional value and high sugar content (candy bars, sodas, cheeseburgers, cookies, ice-cream, alcohol), your body gets ADDICTED to those substances, and therefore goes into full on withdraw when you cut those foods from your diet. Be strong and go to tip number 3…
3. Healthy SnacksMake sure you can always count on healthy snacks in moments of desperate craving: fruits and vegetables, granola bar, yogurt, a handful of mixed dried fruit (not more then that cause that's really high in calories). These foods will help you in the difficult detoxing transition which shouldn't last more then a week.
4. Buy fresh, buy local.Buy locally sourced, organic, seasonal. It mostly means you're getting fruits and vegetables that haven't had time to lose their flavor or their health benefits by sitting in shipping container for a trip across the ocean. For further informations read this interesting article. The benefits of eating organic meats are also many, the animals live better lives, and they're not fed hormones and antibiotics.
5. HydrateDrink at least 2 liters of water per day. If you don't hydrate yourself your body goes into "survival mode" and you start retaining water. Forget about flavored water, juice and sodas. Substitute with adding lemon juice to your water or making home made fresh juice and smoothies.
6. Less saltLimit salt intake. That also makes you retain liquids.
7. DetoxTo help detox and improve intestinal regularity I suggest two things: LIVER HEALTH by Herb Pharm, 20 drops before every meal, or for occasional relief ORGANIC SMOOTH MOVE tea by Herbalist. Depending on how bad my colon situation is I also take Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidus supplements. They make a variety of those, just pick one that contains no yeast, wheat or gluten. These are all herbal remedies, the worse thing that can happen is that that blend of herbs doesn't work for you. If you eat enough fruits and veggies you shouldn't need this for long.
8. Yes to essential fatsEssential fats are important: 2 and a half spoons of extra virgin olive oil per day, dark chocolate, avocados (one per week), bananas (one per week), dried fruit (2 hours before or after working out), salmon, algae, yogurt, cottage cheese. Avoid margarine, fried food, lard, fatty cheese.
9. Yes to CarbsIt's ok to include some carbs in your diet (rice, pasta, bread, beans, potatoes, fruit, nuts), better if it's whole wheat and unbleached (which I can do for rice and bread but I find whole wheat pasta to be disgusting..). Try to find a good balance between how much you work out and your carbs intake.
10. Choose your source of proteinsStudies have shown that eating too many animal protein is bad for your health. I'm not saying give up eating meat completely, but limit it to once per day (or less). White meats and fish are lean, red meat should be consumed only every 10 days or so.
11. Move!!!Trick yourself into exercising more in your daily routine: a longer walk to get to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking a few blocks before taking the taxi, park farther from the entrance when you go to the grocery store. After a month of this you'll start noticing lower abs and muscular legs!
The type of exercise that makes you loose weight is CARDIO: running, biking, walking, jumping, dancing, sex….Anything that gets your heart rate up. Don't do too much anaerobic work (like weight lifting). It adds weight and makes you retain water.
12. Good Night!Get a good night of sleep. Wake up early, go to bed early. You actually burn fat when you sleep. If you're an insomniac like me, try meditating or take some herbal supplements that relax you. They start working after a few days of taking them, so stick with it.
13. Meal planBreakfast can be your largest meal. Some studies show that everything you eat before 9 am is burned right before lunch time. Keep a light dinner, no midnight snacking unless absolutely necessary. Eat when you're hungry, but follow the limitations we talked about. After a week of this you'll notice you need less and less food outside the main meals.
14. Red WineYou don't have to cut alcohol completely. One glass of red wine with dinner is acceptable, prescribed by any dietician! Good for the body and good for the soul!
15. Reward your effortsReward yourself! One night per week eat your favorite food. Mine is pizza. What's yours?
I hope this was helpful, if you have any questions leave a comment below, I'll answer to the best of my knowledge. Don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list to get the Food and Health blog updates or subscribe to my youtube channel for tuns of healthy recipes and more Youtube.com/RealItalianKitchen
*I'm not a certified dietician. My knowledge comes from studies and research I've done personally through following classes, reading books and articles about nutrition, and personal experience. Write to me for any book recommendation about nutrition. If you've tried everything and nothing seems to work, you might have a metabolic problem, you should see a specialist.