You’re thinking of going on another diet, or maybe cut carbs, or a detox? You’re not sure, but regardless you’re not going to like it and in the back of your mind, you’re wondering if there’s a better way.
Well, there is.
Here are the 8 things that you need to be doing consistently before you try another diet, detox, or cleanse.
#1 Eat only when you’re hungry
Hunger is your body’s natural way of letting you know you need more energy. A lot of us see hunger as the enemy and a sign that we “have to eat again” and that means eating more, which will set us back even further from our goals.
But your body isn’t working against you, it’s working with you. When you eat when you’re hungry enough to feel the growling of your stomach, instead of waiting till your stomach is screaming, you’ll be:
- more likely to make the healthiest food choice for you
- less likely to overeat when you do eat.
#2 Eat healthy at least 80% of the time
I know the instruction to “eat healthy’ can be confusing when people tell you to do it with no structure. That’s why I created VAFs® to give my clients and I the structure we need to eat healthy without feeling deprived or restricted to certain foods.
When you make decision around the VAFs mental model for lasting weight loss, you can tweak it to find your unique balance of what healthy eating means for you knowing that you’re doing it in a way that’ll help you get the weight loss results you crave.
#3 Eat enough to make sure you’re satisfied but not full
This is the second part of paying attention to your hunger and it’s important for two reasons:
Your body doesn’t care if you’re 80% or 100% full all the time. Instead, it needs enough energy to keep you running
And when you consistently eat too much, you increase your fullness set-point to where it takes more food to give you the same full feeling.
So make a practice of eating just enough to satisfy your hunger. This is such an important point that we spend a whole week exclusively and 6 weeks after that paying attention to this habit in Lighter in 8 Weeks.
#4 Make sure you’re drinking enough water
One of the most hilarious facts that I learned about the brain a long time ago is that it processes satisfaction in the same place. So when you’re not getting enough food, water, sleep, or sex your body sees it all as the same – a hunger for “something.”
Making sure you’re getting enough water will help you make sure that your signals aren’t crossed so that you’re not eating when all your body needs is water.
#5 Get enough exercise
There’s an exercise sweet spot. Get too much of it and your body will go into “feed me” mode all the time. Don’t get enough, and you’re not giving your body all the tools it needs to keep you running at optimal and support you to lose weight.
What this means will be different for everyone, but what I’ve found in over 4 years of coaching is that 30 minutes a day of intense exercise 3 days a week is a good start for most people.
You don’t need to go to the gym everyday and you don’t need to spend hours at each session. When you eat healthy (#2) consistency a few times a week will get you there. And you can increase your frequency or duration as you see fit.
#6 Get enough laughter in your life
This is another way to say “reduce stress.” But telling a busy professional woman to reduce her stress levels causes more stress than it eases.
Instead I say laugh more. Find more joy in everyday things. This reduces your stress levels and helps you lower any free running stress hormones in your system.
You want to do this because stress hormones drive your body to store fat especially around your tummy, and no one wants that. So find the everyday moments that make you smile and savor them even just for a moment. Your waistline will thank you.
#7 Live consistently with your values
Like laughter this is a natural stress reliever because you’re living a life that’s consistent with who you want to be in the world instead of spending time agonizing over being out of integrity.
So find people and situations that make your life easier to live because they don’t make you compromise your values. This applies to your work life, your spiritual life, and your social life.
#8 Sleep 7 – 8 hours a night
I saved this for last because I’ve found that it’s the hardest one for most busy women to put into practice. But it’s important.
Getting enough sleep helps your brain work better to:
Regulate your hormones (this matters because your hunger is controlled by hormones).
Manage your impulses (this matters when it’s time to say yes or no to the cupcakes in the breakroom).
Keep your body running at optimum,
If you’re like most of my clients, getting this much sleep will be hard.
But start with #1 to #7 first and then do your best to increase the amount of sleep you get. And if you can’t increase the duration, do what you can to improve the quality of your sleep.
Before I leave you to take action…
I know the list looks long and a three-day veggie detox sounds easier and faster than the 8 steps you need to be doing consistently. But the long-term effects make it so much worse than doing things slowly in the first place – but that’s a post for another day.
Take them one at a time so that you can give yourself the time and bandwidth to get consistent with each one.
The results you get with each one will build up, and by the time you get to the end of the list, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve made both in results (how you look, the number on the scale, how your clothes fit etc.) and in how you feel.
One of the highest impact things you can focus on is eating healthy 80% of the time. It sounds like a lot of work, but with the right tools you can make it easier than any diet, detox, or low-carb protocol.
I have the tool for you. It’s called The Healthy Eating Made Easy Cheat Sheet, and it’ll help you start eating healthy 80% of the time and cross one item off your list. Get started with the Cheat Sheet here and before you know it, you’ll lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.
Photo Credit: Sidelnikov | Dreamstime