I did a ‘tips’ interview this week, and the host and I both agreed that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of tips for weight loss that could help you eat better and lose weight.
But who can absorb all that? And even if you could, which are the most important?
So I’ll share my Top 5 Tips For Weight Loss with you:
1. Purposeful Eating vs. Reactive Eating
Reactive eating is probably the #1 cause of weight gain.
We all do it in one form or another, but if stress eating is your ‘Go To’, you’re going to struggle with your weight forever.
Food does not give you what you want (unless you’re actually hungry).
When you’re stressed, upset, sad, overwhelmed, or in any other negative state,
FOOD CANNOT GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT.
So when the stress eating urge hits, take a moment and figure out what you actually do want.
- A feeling of control?
- Love and connection?
- Hope or encouragement?
(If you haven’t picked up the How To Stop Stress Eating guidebook yet, it’s free)
2. Eat Protein with Carbs
Any time you eat an all-carbohydrate meal or snack (like pasta for dinner, cereal for breakfast, or crackers for a snack), you’re setting yourself up for fat storage.
Without getting complicated, protein helps slow down the release of insulin (high insulin promotes fat storage).
Protein helps you feel full sooner, and feel satisfied longer.
Protein prevents the energy crash that happens an hour or two after you eat just carbs.
Protein is important for maintaining muscle, which is what burns fat.
Here are some solid protein sources:
- Whey protein (add a scoop to your smoothie, or to your morning oatmeal)
- Lean meats
- Cottage cheese
- Organic soy
- Pea protein and hemp protein (for vegans)
Every time you eat, try to combine a protein source with your carbs. Ideally, most of your carbs will be plants (vegetables and fruits).
3. Find Your #1 Overeating Trigger
Most of us have one or two triggers that subconsciously cue us to eat too much.
Mine is nighttime eating — If I don’t watch out, after dinner I’ll snack here and there until bedtime.
Maybe yours is eating out (restaurant = eating and drinking too much).
Or “See a treat = Must eat the treat”.
Or the ‘clean plate club’ (must finish everything in front of you).
Identify your #1 trigger, and put a reality check on it.
4. Smart Substitutes
One of the most common self-sabotages I see from clients is All Or Nothing thinking. You’ve probably done something like this yourself:
Your intentions are good — you swear off chocolate, wine, desserts, or whatever else you love.
And you try to abstain with 100% denial.
Until you ‘cave’, and then you go back to eating your favorite junk foods way too often.
So do this instead:
Find a few healthier foods that give you some of what you like about the junk food.
Do you love the taste of chocolate? The sweet of cake? The crunch of chips?
Single out what you like about your favorite junk food.
Then find a healthier substitute that gives you that thing too.
- If you love the taste of chocolate, have a square or two of dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate or candy.
- Love the sweet taste of cake or cookies? Try a handful of berries or cherries instead.
- In love with the creaminess of ice cream? I am 🙂
Greek yogurt is a great upgrade to satisfy your ‘creamy’ fix.
- Like crunchy snacks like chips or pretzels? Fresh raw veggies are crunchy too!
You don’t have to totally deny yourself in order to cut back on your sugar consumption.
Upgrade to things that can satisfy you in a healthier way.
5. Do something (just one thing) instead of putting everything off
Improving your eating can seem overwhelming.
There are so many things to think about, and so much conflicting and confusing advice out there.
You may think you have to get everything lined up just right in order to lose weight.
But you’re wrong.
Any small improvement is better than waiting for a time when you pretend you’ll be able to do everything perfectly some time in the future.
Here’s a story from a reader. Is this you?
I have been receiving your emails for a while – glancing at them from time to time, thinking that one day I’ll get serious – keeping all of them because ‘one day’ all the stars will align and I will be ready to take action – maybe tomorrow…..”
Are YOU waiting for all the stars to align and waiting for life’s circumstances to be perfect before you try to make any improvements?
Be honest with yourself.
Most of us have done some version of this.
“When things calm down at work”
“When the kids are out of school”
“When life isn’t so stressful”
When is life NOT stressful?
If you’re waiting for everything to be perfect, you’ll be waiting forever.
Stuff happens in life ALL THE TIME.
But guess what — you have to eat every day.
If you’re abdicating any decision-making around food because your life doesn’t look perfect yet….well….let’s say this:
Life around you won’t change. So YOU will have to.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably afraid to try because you’ve convinced yourself that unless you can do EVERYTHING, then you might as well do NOTHING.
That is incorrect.
You’ll NEVER be able to ‘do everything’ (i.e. always eat perfectly), so STOP WAITING — you can do SOMETHING!
Pick one thing.
- Strawberries instead of cookies for dessert tonight.
- Bring a grilled chicken salad to work for lunch tomorrow.
- Skip the bread basket at the restaurant.
- Drink a glass of mineral water instead of soda at lunch.
If you want more than tips for weight loss from Dan DeFigio, drop us a note to talk about coaching options! It’s a step-by-step process to losing weight, stopping stress eating, building healthier nutrition habits, and making healthy eating normal.