Simple Ways to Lose Weight | Part 1
While there are many factors that contribute to living a healthy lifestyle, there are several that I believe lay the framework. Living healthy is not the pill or a latest diet fad that someone is trying to sell you. It's allowing your body to adjust to small changes you make over time and developing good habits that you'll follow for the rest of your life. These are the things that have been game changers for me over the years and I'd like to share them with you. Adhere to them and watch your waist go down, your energy go up, and your life improve.
1. Sleep. 7-8 hours every night. Your body does some pretty amazing things while you sleep. As it applies to fitness, sleep increases the secretion of growth hormone (GH), which burns fat and increases Lean Body Mass (LBM). Lack of sleep produces more of GH's nemesis, cortisol. This catabolic hormone lowers the production of GH and makes you hungry for food that your body doesn't need. As if that weren't bad enough, lack of sleep also changes the way your body stores fat via increasing insulin (storage hormone) resistance. Excess insulin secretion causes your body to store fat in your tissues (aka belly fat). Bottom line: don't stay up late. Turn off the TV and cell phone at least a half hour before hitting the hay. Both of these lead to neural stimulation and restlessness. You can always DVR Conan.
2. Drink Water. A tall glass first thing in the morning and at regular intervals throughout the day, especially prior to a workout. Water plays a vital role in every bodily function and is essential for proper circulation. Drinking water actually makes you less hungry (our mechanism for thirst is so weak that sometimes our body can mistake it for hunger) and helps better utilize stored fat for energy! During our workouts, especially if you're sweating for prolonged periods, you can lose up to 2% of your bodyweight in water alone! How do you know if you're drinking enough water? Check your pee. See above chart.
3. Move around. If you're sitting at a desk all day and immediately plopping down on the couch after work, you're at a much higher risk for developing chronic conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes and cancer. Not to mention the host of problems you'll eventually incur with limited hip and leg mobility as you get older and your muscles and joints become accustomed to the sitting position (tight hamstrings and lower back pain anyone?). For every hour you sit, get up and walk around for 10 minutes. This is especially doable if you're following rule number 2, as adequate hydration entails more trips to the restroom.
4. Walk for 30 minutes every day (especially on your non-training days). Not only will this improve cardiovascular health and joint mobility, but will also help modestly reduce body fat. Try to get in the habit of walking immediately after a meal, as this provides the most benefits for insulin (blood glucose) response and blood pressure.
5. Shop along the perimeter of the store while grocery shopping. Aisles are dangerous. Limited space, tall shelves, and bargain shoppers wielding scissors and stacks of coupons. They're also havens for preservative ridden, calorie dense foods. Set aside some space in your refrigerator and start opting for fresh, whole foods in your diet instead. Produce (veggies and fruit), eggs, dairy, meat, and nuts are all nutritionally dense foods that will keep you looking and feeling better.