If you want to lose weight, don't eat less.
It may seem counterintuitive at first. I promise it’s not. And the proof will be in the differences you’ll notice.
Instead, your focus should be on eating right.
This means being more conscious of the ingredients you cook with and what goes into the food you eat. Everyone, irrespective of their body goals, could be doing more of this anyway.
Here are 4 low-effort, high-impact habits you can easily try, starting now. Incorporate them into your lifestyle for a week, and tune into your body to notice differences in how you feel. You’ll see what I mean.
Habit #1: Every time you eat a meal or snack, make it complete
By complete, I mean complete with all 3 macronutrients essential to your body’s functioning: protein, fats, and carbs.
Eating carbs the right way (opting for whole grains and complex carbs) actually prevents sugar cravings.
Getting in all 3 macronutrients each time you eat will ensure you walk away feeling satisfied until your next meal or snack.
If it helps, all three macronutrients do not necessarily need to be in the same bite. For example, for breakfast you can have a banana and then a handful of almonds. Banana is a complex carb, and almonds are high in healthy fats and protein.
If you’re cooking chicken breast for dinner, you could incorporate healthy fats like half an avocado spread on top with a side of green vegetables and beans (both carbs).
Habit #2: Trade processed foods for whole, natural foods
Where possible, substitute your usual processed foods like granola bars and cereals for whole natural alternatives.
For example, instead of having sugary, factory-made cereal or oatmeal in the morning, trade them for whole grain steel cut oats with a couple of berries, plus half an avocado on the side. You’ll feel more satisfied for longer because you have all three macronutrients covered and you’re eating higher quality, whole ingredients.
Another example is instead of having your usual pre-packaged granola bar as an afternoon snack, trade it in for homemade energy bars, homemade granola, or a handful of trail mix (nuts and dried fruit). You’ll avoid the sugar crash that most factory-made granola bars and their complicated syrup-y ingredients cause.
Natural foods are foods that come from the earth and then to you as directly as possible. They either come from the farm to you or their ingredient labels list fewer than 3 items.
Habit #3: Eat every 3 hours
To prevent your blood sugar from unstable dipping and spiking, which is what causes cravings or binge eating, eat at regular intervals. It could be every 2–4 hours, depending on your body’s appetite.
The importance is that the intervals are consistent.
If you’re eating when you feel starved, then you’re eating too late.
Get ahead of that by getting your body used to a natural rhythm of say, eating a meal or snack every 3 hours. It’ll keep you focused on things other than your hunger or mood, and it might even reduce your need for caffeine because you’ll be energized consistently.
Habit #4: Slow down
Try challenging yourself this week to slow down in more ways than one.
When it’s time to eat, slow down by taking a break from work or watching TV and just focus on enjoying your meal mindfully.
Slow down the pace at which you eat so that your body can digest the food properly and use its natural ability to let you know when you are satisfied (usually around 80% fullness) to still feel energized.
Give these habits a try this week and take note of what makes a difference for you.
If you would like to build more healthy nutritional habits into your life, click here to learn more.