(The following is an excerpt from Michael’s book, The Simplified Diet.)
If you’re looking for quick, easy-to-implement tips on losing weight, then this article is expressly written for you. For those of you who don’t know me or train with me, you should know that I’ve actually struggled to lose weight and keep it off. I used to be naturally skinny, but a string of injuries and a chronic illness wrecked my metabolism as well as my ability to exercise two to three hours a day (yes, I really did exercise that much, for years in fact).
As you can imagine, I had to learn how to control my weight in spite of being limited in my exercise options and despite having a slowed metabolism. This makes for a tough challenge when it comes to losing weight.
Although this list is not comprehensive, these are the best tips I know of for losing weight permanently. Some of these tips may be things you already know and accept as common knowledge. However, if you’re not doing them, then saying, “I know that already” doesn’t help. If you see something here that you already know but aren’t doing, start doing it!
Tip #1: Skip The Sugar
Sugar signals your body to release insulin, which in turn tells your body to store excess calories as fat. It also contributes to inflammation which elevates cortisol, another hormone that keeps you fat. Among all my tips on losing weight this one seems the most obvious, but the problem is that most people think they’re doing this but they aren’t. If you are trying to lose weight, skip all sugary foods except for a treat once or twice a week.
Tip #2: Skip the Bread and Pasta
This is another really important one among my tips on losing weight. You see, even whole wheat bread can be fattening. Why? For one, it’s calorically dense, but that’s not the end of the story. Starches are mostly digested in your mouth by ptyalin, an enzyme-containing compound in your saliva. In a nutshell, ptyalin breaks starch down into sugars, which leads us back to weight loss tip #1. So, save your breads and pastas for a treat once or twice a week when you’re trying to lose weight, or limit yourself to just one serving before or during lunch each day.
Tip #3: Eat More Fruits and Veggies… Especially Veggies
Fruits and veggies are just plain good for you. Also, due to their fiber content the carbs you get from them are much more slowly absorbed than those derived from sugary and starchy foods. However, you should enjoy only limited amounts of fruits and as much non-starchy veggies as you want; this means skipping the baked potato bar and that morning banana if you’re trying to lose weight.
Tip #4: Eat LOTS of Lean Protein
Among the tips on losing weight this one gets the most resistance from women, since they think eating protein will make them fat. It doesn’t! Protein is lower in calories per gram than carbs or fat, and it has a favorable effect on your insulin when ingested with carbohydrates. Basically, proteins, fats, and fiber slow down the absorption of carbs into your blood, blunting the release of insulin. Since insulin makes you store excess calories as fat, this is a good thing. In addition, protein helps build lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories than fat. So, load up on lean cuts of fish, white meat, and limited amounts of lean red meat.
Tip #5: Eat More Fiber
As I mentioned in tip #4, fiber slows the absorption of carbs into your body. In addition, a certain amount of calories remain bound to fiber and are flushed out of your system without being absorbed. Finally, fiber fills you up without adding much in the way of calories. So when it comes to green leafy vegetables, eat up!
Tip #6: Eat More Good Fats!
Good fats are unsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids of the type found in fish. We get way too many omega-6 fats in our diets, and too few omega-3 fats. Your body needs fat, but you want to replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones. This helps reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn helps reduce cortisol, and some researchers even believe it lowers leptin resistance as well (leptin being the hormone that increases the amount of fat you burn – being leptin-resistant is bad for weight loss). So, increase your intake of healthy fats and cut back on your intake of unhealthy fats.
Tip #7: Skip the Fried Foods
I just told you to cut back on unhealthy fats in tip #6, and this is how you’re going to do it. Fried foods tend to be laden with unhealthy saturated fats. Moreover, they are often stuffed with trans fats, which wreak havoc on your metabolism. Finally, fried foods are often breaded, which ends up being a double-whammy (fat + starch = calories going straight to your hips, thighs, and tummy). So, skip the fried foods, as well as margarine and other processed spreads.
Tip #8: Cut Processed Foods from Your Diet Entirely
Processed foods are filled with trans fats, added sugar, and added chemicals – we really have no idea how they affect our bodies. Show me a person who eats all processed food and I’ll show you someone with a high body fat percentage. Even “skinny” people who eat a lot of processed food have high percentages of body fat. Take the extra time to eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible. You’ll feel better and the weight will come off easier.
Tip #9: Eat Less, But More Often
Among this entire list of tips for losing weight, this one seems to be the best known but least done. Eating smaller meals and portions more often has a positive effect on your insulin, so long as those meals align with the previous eight tips above. Portion control = calorie control, and eating more often has a stabilizing effect on your metabolism. Plan to eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism higher and to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Tip #10: Drink Plenty of Water, Exercise Often, and Get Plenty of Sleep
Okay, so that’s three tips in one. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, as studies have shown increased water intake may assist with weight loss. And be sure to exercise at least three times a week; a study of 160 people who lost twenty pounds or more permanently showed that 70% exercised at least three times a week. Finally, get enough sleep. Lack of sleep leads to increases in cortisol, which I’ve already told you can contribute to weight gain.
And there you have it; my top ten weight loss tips. Follow them and you will find it much easier to lose weight. I sincerely hope this list helps you in your weight loss and fitness journey, and I invite you to contact me through my website at Staff@FitnessBootCampAustin.com or on Facebook @fightingfitbootcampaustin if you have any questions concerning the information in this article.
About the Author:Michael Massie developed an early interest in natural health and wellness due to a lifelong involvement in martial sports and fitness activities. An athlete and martial arts instructor turned health and fitness writer, he is the author of The Simplified Diet. He holds a bachelor’s degree in allied health sciences, and is also a certified personal trainer and the creator of Fighting Fit Boot Camp™. Michael is a dedicated father and husband and enjoys spending quality time with his family. In addition to his writing career, he also teaches fitness classes in his adopted home town of Austin, Texas.