It’s inevitable that I gain a few extra pounds during the holiday season. Coupled with illness, I was less active and ate more than I typically do. Those extra pounds are already gone easily shed following these 15 easy, natural weight loss tips. Depending on how I follow them, I lose between a half a pound to a pound a day. When I follow these tips daily increasing caloric intake, I find it easy to maintain my “happy weight”, have energy, and feel great!
15 Easy, Natural Weight Loss Tips
Intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating for 16 hours a day, mostly the hours when you are sleeping. This easy, natural, weight loss tip ensures no late night snacking will mess up your goals. When strictly adhered to, your digestion improves and excess weight is loss. I practice intermittent fasting between the hours of 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm. This gives my body a chance to fully digest any food consumed.
According to the abstract of the 2014 article “Meal frequency and timing in health and disease” cited by LiveScience:
Although major research efforts have focused on how specific components of foodstuffs affect health, relatively little is known about a more fundamental aspect of diet, the frequency and circadian timing of meals, and potential benefits of intermittent periods with no or very low energy intakes. The most common eating pattern in modern societies, three meals plus snacks every day, is abnormal from an evolutionary perspective. Emerging findings from studies of animal models and human subjects suggest that intermittent energy restriction periods of as little as 16 h can improve health indicators and counteract disease processes. The mechanisms involve a metabolic shift to fat metabolism and ketone production, and stimulation of adaptive cellular stress responses that prevent and repair molecular damage. As data on the optimal frequency and timing of meals crystalizes, it will be critical to develop strategies to incorporate those eating patterns into health care policy and practice, and the lifestyles of the population.
It might take a while for those late night cravings to go away, but I find it helpful to examine them. Am I truly hungry or am I wanting to eat because I am tired and want to stay awake? Try a cup of tea or going to bed the next time the late night munchies hit.
How much water do you drink a day? The standard adage is we should drink eight cups a day. I find this ridiculous to try to count. Instead, I use a quart jar when at home, a large Klean Kanteen when not. By using a larger container, I know how many times a day I need to fill it up to reach my goal (two times with the quart jar). Drinking more water not only improves your health, your digestion, gives you energy, healthy skin, etc., it helps you eat less making it an easy, natural weight loss tip. Sometimes we eat when we are really thirsty. Trying water first, may stave off that desire for snacking.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED?
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.
A glass of water before a meal will help you eat less as it helps your brain realize you are full sooner. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/stomach-full-stop-eating-3080.html
3. First thing in the morning, drink half a lemon in warm water
I don’t know how many times I have seen this advice come across my Facebook feed as the solution to many health ailments. When I saw that it helped with weight loss, I decided to try it. I was worried that my stomach would have hard time when I followed the lemon water with coffee, but that has not been the case. What I found was I really enjoyed the warm lemon water first thing. It was amazing how it got my digestive system going and started things moving. The lemon water also made me feel full, which makes waiting until 11:00 am as part of intermittent fasting easy. Some critics say drinking lemon water in the morning is not really an easy, natural weight loss tip. Women’s Health reports:
4. Use an app for walking and weight tracking
There are a lot of apps and devices like the FitBit to track your activity level, but I personally like the health app that is already on my iPhone. The icon is a simple heart in a white square. This app allows you to add data points, so you can add walks you do when not carrying your phone, as well as your daily weight. What I like about it the most are the graphs. I can see how my weight fluctuates with my activity level and reflect upon what I ate and what I did that day.
In my two quarts of drinking water, I like to place a few drops of lemon and grapefruit essential oils. This gives the water a wonderful flavor. I also use the DoTerra Slim & Sassy Metabolic Blend (I love the name!). I apply it topically to my thighs and belly. I sometimes take the soft gels, but they can be intense on my belly and makes me want to eat to absorb the oils. Best to add to a smoothie.
According to DoTERRA, these essential oils have the following benefits:
• Promotes healthy metabolism
• Stimulates the endocrine system
• Helps manage hunger cravings
• Calms your stomach and lifts your mood • Promotes a positive mood
• Helps purify and cleanses the body
- Cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces
- Naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion
- Supports healthy respiratory function
- Promotes a positive mood and cognitive ability
- Helps ward off free radicals with its antioxidant benefits
- Soothes an irritated throat
• Cleanses and purifies
• Beneficial for oily skin issues
• Supports healthy metabolism
• Helps reduce mental and physical fatigue • Helps with sore muscles and joints
I do think these essential oils support increased metabolism, something I have noticed has slowed in my forties, as well as curb cravings for snacking.
6. Use smaller plates
This suggestion comes from Michael Pollan. Chances are you have two sizes of plates in your cabinet. We tend to always grab the larger ones at meal time. What would happen if you chose the smaller ones? There is a psychological aspect to eating that we often fill our plates. Maybe because of parents telling us to finish our food, we feel an obligation to eat whatever amount is in front of us.
According to the New York Times, ” The food scientists Barbara J. Rolls of Penn State and Brian Wansink of Cornell, among others, have demonstrated that people eat less when served smaller portions on smaller plates.”http://michaelpollan.com/reviews/rules-worth-following-for-everyones-sake/
7. Never eat seconds
After having trouble gaining weight with my first pregnancy, I got into the habit of eating a second plate of food. I’ve had trouble breaking this habit now that I no longer need seconds. Somehow a meal does not seem complete unless I go back for a second plateful.
It takes time for our stomachs to tell our brains we are full, so we stop eating. According to SF Gate:
Your stomach can hold up to 4 liters of volume — about 17 cups — but the feeling of satiety is not caused by your stomach being full. Instead, feeling full is a result of your brain reacting to chemicals released when you put food or drink in your stomach. Your brain takes around 20 minutes to register these chemicals. After your meal, the levels continue to rise over 10 to 30 minutes. They stay elevated for three to five hours following the meal, keeping you sated. As the chemical levels fall, the feeling of hunger returns. If you do not feel full directly following a meal, wait. As the level of chemicals increases, your hunger will dissipate…
Drink a full glass of water 10 minutes before each meal; your brain will realize you are full within 10 minutes — instead of the usual 20 minutes — using this technique. Have another glass of water with your meal, sipping in between bites, to slow your eating. Also, chew each bite about 15 times or until you reflexively swallow. Once you feel full, remove remaining food from your plate and engage in another activity such as reading, conversation, walking or a favorite hobby. If you struggle with the urge to continue eating, make yourself a cup of unsweetened tea or coffee. Do not eat again until the emptiness in your stomach returns. Food cravings you experience before your stomach feels empty are mental — not physical — urges to eat. If you always feel hungry, consult your doctor, as this could be a sign of a health condition.http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/stomach-full-stop-eating-3080.html
If we practice mindful eating, slow down and notice each chew, we give our bodies more time to realize we are full before going for a second plate out of habit.
My favorite snack right now is steamed broccoli. There is something about a warm snack that helps me between meals.
We tend to grab quick food when snacking. We don’t want to cook our snacks. Nuts, carrots, apples, smoothies, etc. all make great healthy snacks. Although there is nothing wrong with a occassional potato chip, it really isn’t the best choice for snacking.
Choosing snacks that are high in protein and fiber will aid your weight loss goals. Health.com explains:
Eating snacks with the right ratio of nutrients, with the right calories, will help keep you body energized and help you lose weight. Protein (plus exercise) fuels the growth of lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolic rate and increases calorie burn. Fiber, meanwhile, helps improve digestion and keeps you from binging on fats and sugars.http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20682477_2,00.html
9. Get your hormones tested
If you are a woman older than forty, the weight gain in your middle section may be a result of hormone imbalance. Mind Body Green explains:
When your endocrine system is under stress there’s an underproduction of certain hormones and an overproduction of others (mainly cortisol). This makes your body store fat for future use, making an increase in belly fat a clue to adrenal fatigue.http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9523/9-signs-you-have-a-hormonal-imbalance-easy-ways-to-fix-it.html
Dr. Oz explains:
Believe it or not, love handles aren’t just unattractive, carrying weight around your abdomen is bad for your health – worse than carrying weight on your hips or thighs – and is a key indicator of a hormonal imbalance. If you have struggled to lose weight or keep it off, I guarantee that your hormones are at play. Your hormones control every aspect of weight loss including your metabolism, where you store your fat, your appetite and even your cravings! This means any form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage your efforts – regardless of your diet and exercise habits.
Extra belly fat can indicate one or more of the following hormonal imbalances: high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA (a hormone of the adrenal glands), high insulin and high cortisol.http://www.doctoroz.com/article/reset-your-hormones-beat-belly-fat
10. Drink caffeine
Caffeine can assist in your weight loss, but of course, too much caffeine can be harmful to your health. Also, many caffeinated drinks can contain a lot of sugar, fat, and calories, like sodas and frappucinos.
The Mayo Clinic explains how caffeine is an easy, natural weight loss tip:
Although research about the connection between caffeine and weight isn’t definitive, there are a few theories about how caffeine might affect weight, including:
Appetite suppression. Caffeine may reduce your desire to eat for a brief time, but there’s not enough evidence to show that long-term consumption aids weight loss.
Calorie burning. Caffeine may stimulate thermogenesis — one way your body generates heat and energy from digesting food. But this probably isn’t enough to produce significant weight loss.http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/caffeine/faq-20058459
Too much caffeine can actually work against your weight loss goals, according to an Australian study. The Daily Mail reports:
Knocking back five cups of coffee per day may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes, researchers have warned.
While previous studies have shown coffee in moderation could help weight loss and actually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, these recent findings suggest that too much coffee could prevent weight loss.
Australian researchers found that over- consumption of certain polyphenols found in coffee called chlorogenic acid (CGA) could prevent fat loss and lead to insulin resistance.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2332044/Is-caffeine-fix-making-fat-Study-shows-cups-coffee-day-cause-obesity.html
11. Get more sleep
Sleep is important to our health for many reasons. Sleep helps our brains flush out toxins, but it also important to weight management. WebMD explains:
“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleepand the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz…
Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones, explains Breus.
The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”
More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.
Examine your own sleep patterns and weight gain or loss. I notice in myself I tend to eat more when I am tired, as if the food will help me through the day. When I am well rested, I have less urges to snack all day. According to WebMd, you should get at least seven and half hours a night.http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain?page=2
12. Avoid plastic
Studies have shown that the chemicals in plastics, like BPA and its replacements, may cause weight gain. Mother Jones reports:
That view willfully neglects the role that industry marketing, particularly to children, plays on shaping people’s food habits. Meanwhile, evidence is mountingthat exposure to certain industrial chemicals in food, often at very low levels, changes the way people metabolize calories and can lead to weight gain. While no one would say that these chemicals, known as obesogens, are the sole cause of rising rates of obesity in the United States, they may well be contributing significantly to it.
Avoiding sugar can be challenging when you are as addicted to sweets as I am. In fact, researchers have found sugar is as addictive as cocaine! As Americans, we eat a lot of sugar! The average American teenage boy eats 3/4 cups of sugar a day. The problem with sugar is we don’t always know we are eating it. It’s easy to avoid sugar in soda or candy, but what about in foods we assume are healthy like yoga and granola bars? Many of these items, even organic, contain as much sugar as soda.
Even though you are avoiding sugary snacks and treats, you might be consuming more sugar than you realize. Sugar is hidden everywhere. Look at labels. Eat whole food snacks.
Also remember that your body converts starches into sugars. Dr. Hyman, who advocates you eat healthy fats to lose weight, explains:
1. Sugar, not fat, makes you fat. The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour that converts to sugar every year. That’s nearly a pound of sugar and flour combined every day! More sugar means your cells become numb to insulin’s “call.” Your body pumps out more and more insulin to pull your blood sugar levels back down. You can’t burn all the sugar you eat. Inevitably, your body stores it as fat, creating insulin resistance and overall metabolic havoc among other mayhem.http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/02/mark-hyman-eat-fat-get-thin/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=102862baf1-Top_News_1_10_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-102862baf1-85357185
14. Drink red wine
This is my favorite easy, natural weight loss tip! Just like some of the other tips, it can be abused, so proceed with caution.
Researchers have found drinking juices that contain resveratrol, like red wine, caused mice to not gain weight. The Independent reports:
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesityrecorded what happened when scientists gave mice amounts of resveratrol equivalent to humans consuming 12 ounces of fruit per day.
They discovered that the mice gained 40 per cent less weight than rodents which were not fed the resveratrol.
Scientists behind the study believe that the mice were able to change their excess ‘white’ fat to active ‘brown’ fat which burns calories and in turn reduces weight gain. The research suggests that other ‘polyphenol’ chemicals in fruit may have a similar effect.http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/want-to-lose-weight-drink-red-wine-10335521.html
15. Love yourself!
I have many friends that struggle with weight loss. In this culture that values looks, it can be really hard when you are overweight to love your body. Getting dressed in the morning can be frustrating. When you slip up and binge on cookies, the self-loathing that follows is painful.
Radically accepting yourself, allowing for slips ups, and investigating your feelings around your body image is essential to being psychologically well. Nourishing yourself is key. Truly investigating your relationship with food and your body are important steps to health and well-being. Remember to love yourself no matter the weight of your body! You are already perfect!
I am not overweight, even with a few extra pounds, but I do notice a difference in the way my clothes feel and my energy level when I am five pounds up. Out of curiosity, I have tried many natural weight loss supplements. From GARCINIA CAMBOGIA EXTRACT to RASPBERRY KETONES none of these supplements allowed me to eat whatever I wanted to as if I could return to my youthful metabolism. There is no magic pill, no matter what Dr. Oz may tell you. There is simply healthy diet and exercise.
Remember it is important to discuss your weight and strategies for loss or maintenance with your doctor. We are all unique individuals and what works for one person may be harmful for another.
What are your favorite easy, natural weight loss tips?