Isn’t it amazing how simple changes to your food choices can turbo-charge your weight loss and bring you closer to your desired weight sooner than you expect?
It all starts with a simple decision to replace the carbs in your meals with protein. Nothing complicated.
Maybe it’s not that easy for you to swap your early morning bagel for eggs, and creamer-sweetened coffee for plain, black coffee………… I totally understand
But let me say this, if you are ready to increase the protein content in your meals, decrease the carbs, increase the amount of time for shut-eye, and pump iron, you will be in for a pleasant surprise when next you look in the mirror! The sharp drop in your body weight will amaze you. It could happen in as soon as one week. It all depends on you.
If you are ready to take these seven steps, you will be amazed at the spectacular outcome.
1 Increase the Protein Quotient in your Meals
Increasing the protein quotient in your meals is as simple as reducing the rice in your meal and adding extra pieces of meat instead. It is cutting back on pasta or bread and increasing veggies in your meals.
These small changes to your meal when done consistently over time will compound to reduce the hunger hormone ( ghrelin ) and boost the hormone which makes you feel full.It will put a stop to the hunger pangs that make you overeat and gain weight. Evidence suggests, it is also able to reduce your cravings for food, that naughty desire to wake up at night and start searching for snacks, by about 60%. In one study increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories made overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day.
Increasing your protein intake will not only boost metabolism but increase the amount of calories you burn. Metabolism is a biochemical process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Calories in food and beverages combine with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
In one study, a high protein group burned 260 more calories which is the equivalent of moderate intensity exercise per day. Burning of calories is good for weight loss. You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn; paradoxically, you lose weight when you burn more calories than you eat. The combined effect of eating less and burning more calories will definitely lead to substantial loss of weight.
2 Decrease the Carbs
Zapping the sugars, starches and carbohydrates from your meals is your shortest route to weight loss. Ironically, it is the hardest because most people love sugar. Can you imagine not having sugar in your tea? For a large number of people, it is unthinkable. That seems like a small price to pay for your weight loss. Fortunately, there are other substitutes for sugar you can use. The sugar alternatives are adjudged to have less adverse effect than sugar itself
The first thing you notice if you decide to zap the carbs is that you are not as hungry as you used to be. Because you are not as hungry, you eat less calories. Eating less affects your metabolism in a positive way by burning stored fat for energy instead of carbs.
Cutting carbs from your meals will also help to lower insulin levels and reduce bloating and unnecessary water weight. This helps reduce a considerable amount of weight. You can lose as much as 10 lbs ( 4.5kg ) the first week of doing this.
But decreasing carbs from your meals means that you will replace the hard carbs with low veggie carbs. Carbohydrates that come from white bread, white rice, and sugary sodas are the culprits because they can make you fat. Low carb diets that are made up of fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds should be preferred.
3 Eat Fiber-rich Foods
Eating whole plant foods rich in fiber such as broccoli, lima beans, raspberries, guava can be effective in weight loss.
Besides weight loss, whole plant-based fiber-rich foods help in your overall wellness, aid digestion and reduce risk of chronic diseases.
4 Drink more Aqua ( Water )
Drinking water instead of soda will help hydrate your system and aid digestion. If you drink water regularly, especially before a meal, you will have the feeling you are full and that will drastically reduce the amount of calories of food you can eat at one sitting.
I get that sometimes people shy away from drinking water because it is tasteless unlike some of the flavored drinks. You can add some flavor to water by adding a slice of lemon. Lemon has Pectin. Pectin helps to suppress your cravings for food and contributes to weight loss
5 Try Intermittent Fasting:
What is Intermittent fasting you may ask?
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern in which you alternate between periods of eating and fasting.
The most popular form is the eight hourly interval. You eat at 8 o’clock the previous night, take your breakfast at 8am the following day and wait until 8pm to take your supper. That way you are eating at 12 hourly intervals. Science has proven that Intermittent Fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat without having to consciously limit calories.
I have had a long relationship with Intermittent Fasting. It started way back in Nigeria long before I set foot in the United States
I chronicled my Odyssey with Intermittent Fasting in my other blog: “ Intermittent Fasting: A Positive Catalyst for Weight Loss and Wellness.
I remember not too long ago when I went for my physical. The doctor carried out all the tests and finally informed me that I was not only overweight but was a borderline Diabetes patient.. My weight tanked at 202lbs. He advised me to engage in more physical activities and watch what I ate so the Diabetes did not become full blown.
I restarted my early morning aerobic exercises but more importantly I resumed my 5:2 weekly fasting regimen.I would eat my three home cooked meals on all the other days of the week but would fast on Wednesday and Friday.
After my Supper at 7pm, I would not eat again until 7pm the following day on my two days of fasting. I restricted myself to water diets to keep my system hydrated and made sure I did not binge on food when I ended my fast at 7pm.
Six months later, I went back to the same doctor for a re-evaluation. My doctor was pleasantly surprised with the progress I had made since the last time he saw me.
My weight was down from 202lbs to 193.5lbs and I was no longer a borderline Diabetes patient.
Let me explain that fasting however is not for everyone. There are some health conditions that can preclude one from fasting. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, I would strongly advise that you check with your doctor to ensure you can take part in a fasting ritual with no harm to you.
6 Increase your Shut-eye ( Sleep )
For you to turbo-charge your weight loss process, you will need to increase both the quality and quantity of your sleep. You increase the quantity of your sleep by sleeping for longer hours than you do now.
Over the years we have become busy and cut down on the length of our sleep. We have become so busy that we hardly have time for sleep. We sleep for shorter hours. As an adult, you are expected to sleep for 7-8 hours. Some of us sleep for four hours or even less. At the sound of the alarm, you are up on your feet and ready to go. You know you have not had enough sleep because of the sore pain in your eyes when you get out of bed.
Some people work at night and it has affected their circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm affects the way we sleep.You get home in the morning and find it difficult to sleep in the noisy environment that typically happens in the day time. Incidence of weight gain and obesity is high among this group of people.
The quality of your sleep matters. You should ensure your sleeping environment is just right for you with a soft mattress, pillows, comfortable bed sheets and blankets to nestle in. Turn off the TV at least one hour before you go to bed. To ensure you have a restful sleep, turn off all lights.
You may need to invest some money in purchasing a blind fold.
7 Do Resistance Training/Pumping Iron
You need not do this last step because by the time you do steps 1- 6, you should have started seeing results. If you want to further accelerate the process, then you will need to engage in Resistance Training. Lifting weights 3-4 times a week will further solidify your result. If you have little knowledge of weight loss, you may need to visit a nearby gym and consult a trainer to get you started.
If you are not comfortable with pumping iron and you still desire to accelerate your weight loss, then you have the option to do cardio exercises.You can walk, you can run and you can bike or even swim. If you choose to walk, please look beyond the 10,000 steps a day being recommended by some experts. Instead shoot for 10-12 miles a day for optimal results.
The good thing about walking is that you don’t have to walk in an unfriendly weather condition. You can install a Treadmill in your home so you can walk or run in the convenience of your home, come rain or shine.
Let me wind up by warning that losing weight is just the first step. Keeping weight loss for the long haul is a more difficult task because it calls for a continuous surveillance on what you eat and tracking of your weight to ensure you do not slip back. Your best bet is ensure you increase protein content in your meals from 15% to 18%. Half of people who were able to do this were able to retain their weight. You could be among the 50%.