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It can be frustrating when you are trying to lose weight but you just cannot figure out where you are going wrong. It does not help that there is a lot of bad or impractical weight loss information on the internet.
Much of what is recommended is theory that you cannot follow in real life. And a lot of advice is not based on any actual science. It is just personal opinions of people based on what they have tried. That does not mean that it will work for you.
In this article, we have listed the most powerful weight loss tips based on our experience of working with thousands of people. They are simple, scientific, easy to follow and they work. You can use these natural weight loss tips at home starting today.
We have separated the weight loss tips into 4 categories: diet, exercise, sleep and mindset. You may be surprised that we discuss ‘mindset’. But having a positive attitude and staying motivated are a very important part of any weight loss plan.
Tip 1: Exercise is not the answer, look at your plate.
We’ve been taught to think of exercise as the key ingredient to achieve weight loss. But the truth is that weight loss happens in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Studies have shown that compared to exercise changes, diet changes produce around three times the weight loss. This is worth repeating.
Diet changes lead to three times the weight loss compared to exercise.
Exercise has many health benefits and is important, but when it comes to weight loss – it mostly happens on your plate. Focus on having a variety of vegetables and fruits, wholegrains, legumes, and protein-rich foods including dairy, eggs, lean meat and seafood (if non-vegetarian). Eating mostly healthy food while limiting treat foods is the key to weight loss that lasts.
Tip 2: Eat mostly healthy food that come from a farm, not a factory
We live in a world where you are surrounded by food choices and so-called ‘health’ food and snacks. It can be impossible to decide what is really healthy for you and what is not. The simple rule to follow is to look at the quality of the food. For example: is it fresh, is it processed, does it have a long shelf life, are there many artificial ingredients etc. When you look at foods this way it becomes clear that foods that come from a farm are of the highest quality whereas foods from a factory are low-quality
Here are examples of fresh foods that come from a farm, the highest quality. This should be the main part of your daily diet.
Here are examples of minimally processed foods that you might buy. These are high-quality because they are processed but only to a small degree. These can be included in your diet on a regular basis.
Here are examples of highly processed foods that you might buy. These are low-quality because they are processed to a large degree and contain many added ingredients. These should be included in your diet only occasionally.
Use the above simple guidelines to decide where a food falls.
Never believe the marketing of a product. This is often misleading. Instead, use the above rules and look at ingredients in the product.
This will help you stay away from junk food that is disguised or marketed as healthy.
Tip 3: Have an eating schedule
Our parents and grandparents may have eaten 2-4 times a day with a fixed schedule. This has changed a lot and in our current lifestyle, we seem to eat much more often in a day.
In addition to breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner we end up eating whenever we feel like eating or whenever we see some food.
This means that we could be eating 5-10 times every single day. And this is where a lot of the unhealthy food enters your diet.
A simple way to avoid this is to have a schedule that works for you. It could be 3 or 5 times a day. Pick a number and stick to it. You will see that you avoid a lot of unhealthy foods this way or at least become conscious about how and when they are creeping into your daily diet.
This is one of the most important weight loss tips at home as we are spending more time indoors where food is within easy reach.
Tip 4: Water first
We often confuse hunger and thirst.
We think we are hungry when we really are thirsty.
So whenever you feel like you want to eat, always have 1-2 glasses of water first. Sip the water slowly and then wait for a few minutes. This will usually satisfy you and you will realize you were not hungry after all. If you are still hungry after that, you can eat something healthy. But have the water first.
This simple tip can help you avoid a lot of snacking and overeating.
Tip 5: Snack on fruit
Make fruit your first choice for a snack. This will help you avoid or limit processed foods like biscuits. It can also help with reducing sugar cravings. You can have 2-3 medium sized fruits a day. An apple is an example of a medium sized fruit.
Always eat the fruit. Do not drink its juice. The reason for this is that chewing food helps our brain get the message that we are eating and getting full. This will help you realize when to stop.
Here is an example you can try out yourself:
Try eating 3 apples. You will struggle. But can you drink the juice from 3 apples? Easily!
It is not just about the fiber or added sugar. The simple truth is that it is easy to overeat in juice form, but not so when we eat food. So always eat the fruit, don’t drink juice.
Tip 6: Don’t connect food and exercise
Food is not a reward for exercise. And exercise should not be a punishment for eating poor food. Connecting the two is a bad (and stressful) habit – so don’t do it. This is a big mistake we see people make often. For example:
Disconnect food and exercise and do both because it is the right thing to do for you. If you had a lot of junk today, get back to healthy eating the next day. If you missed a workout, be sure to show up for it the next day. This will keep you positive and focused on forming healthy habits. It will also save you a lot of stress and guilt.
Tip 7: All movement counts
Do not think of exercise as something that needs to be done in a gym or that you need a workout. This is a myth. All movement counts.
The goal is to move your body often. Whether it’s 10 mins a day or 1 hour, it all counts.
The following are exercise mistakes you should avoid:
None of these needs to stop you from moving your body. You have plenty of options like walking, playing a sport and online exercise videos. Start with anything, but do make a start and do not stop. You will figure out other options once you start.
Tip 8: Do exercise you enjoy, not exercise that you think of as punishment
If you start exercising to lose weight, it’s likely that you will gain weight.
That’s right. Many studies have shown this. And at the heart of this behavior is thinking of exercise as some sort of ‘punishment’ and treating food as the ‘reward’. This happens subconsciously in most cases.
You may not even realize it but you may end up eating more than usual after your exercise or having more treats during the day.
A simple way to deal with this is to do something you enjoy. If you enjoy the exercise you are doing, that’s great. If not, find something that puts a smile on your face.
In theDaily9 weight loss program, we set D9ers a goal of 45 minutes of movement every day. Not workouts – movement. This could be anything they enjoy, like walking, yoga or their favourite sport. The idea is to make movement a part and parcel of your healthy lifestyle.
Playing a sport is a fantastic option. Have you seen people playing badminton? It’s likely they’re smiling a lot and having fun. Sport has a way of doing that.
Think of your time in school and college. Did you play any sport then? If you did, get back to it. If you did not, think of sports that are accessible to you and where you can have your friends join also.
Making exercise social helps you stick to it long term.
The most important thing is to find an exercise option that you like. You’ll then do it more often. No motivation will be required.
Tip 9: Sleep more to burn fat
This may come as a surprise to you but not getting enough sleep is a big contributor to weight gain & health issues.
Poor sleep = weight gain.
It’s not hard to see why – the longer you are awake, the more you are likely to eat. That need for a late night snack is actually triggered by your body.
See the below image that explains the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Leptin & Ghrelin referred to below are hormones that manage hunger.
If you don’t sleep enough, it is possible that fat loss does not happen even with all the hard work you put in on nutrition and activity.
Adequate sleep is mandatory, not just for fat loss but also for brain function, physical recovery and to keep you disease-free. Getting enough sleep isn’t only a health necessity, either. It can also help you perform better mentally, and physically, and it can certainly make you a lot happier. So stop treating sleep as a ‘nice to have’ and make it a part of your weight loss plan.
Tip 10: Have a bedtime routine
We seem to think of sleep as something that just happens. The body is supposed to do this thing called sleeping whenever it is that we decide that we’re done for the day and go lie down on our bed. That could be 10 pm today, 1 am tomorrow or something else.
There’s just one problem: that’s not how the body works
Your body does not know when you’re done for the day.
You need to speak to it in a way that it understands and that will help you ease into a good night of restful sleep. And there’s a language – a rhythm, that your body recognizes very well. It’s called the Circadian rhythm.
The diagram below depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in the morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 pm). The exact times of your circadian rhythm will vary based on many factors.
Image: “TheBody Clock Guide to Better Health” by Michael Smolensky and Lynne Lamberg; Henry Holt and Company, Publishers (2000)
How does your body know what time it is in order to set your circadian rhythm? Your body pieces this together based on various clues that it receives from you and your environment.
You need to prepare your body for sleep. Think of it as a gradual slowing down for the day.
If ever there was a routine required, it’s in the crucial last hour before you hit the bed. The body loves ritual. The entire circadian diagram you saw earlier is one big, daily routine.
So it’s important that you establish and maintain a set of actions that help you power down for the day, both physically and mentally. The main purpose of this ‘power down’ ritual is to make it clear to your body that you’re done for the day and you are starting to wind down. This also means that you need to be consistent and have the same ritual each day. If you’re a parent, you know that this works like a charm with babies. It works just as well for adults too.
It does not need to be anything elaborate. We are talking about 3-5 things that are always the last things you do each day, every day. Here is an example of a power-down ritual:
Do what makes sense for you. It might take some practice and a few changes before you find the ritual that works well for you. But every step you take will help your sleep quality and your health.
For more details on a power-down ritual, see this infographic that we’ve put together.
Tip 11: Stop waiting for the perfect answer, act now
Many of us wait for the “perfect time” or the “perfect solution” with our health, nutrition and fitness. You may not know everything right now, but having read this article – you now know enough to get started on the road to weight loss.
So instead of waiting for perfection, start with what you know and you will figure out the rest along the way.
There is no perfect time. There never will be. You have to make it happen. Get started now.
Tip 12: Never miss twice
No matter how good you are with your healthy habits, life will throw problems your way. It could be too much work, festivals, special occasions, or you have to travel for work. It will seem like the universe is plotting to throw you off track all the time. It is how it is. Accept it and stop aiming for perfection. Instead, here’s a tip that helps you overcome these situations.
Whenever unexpected things happen, think back to this simple rule: Never Miss Twice.
One poor meal or one missed workout are never the problem. The first mistake is never the one that does the damage. It is the string of repeated mistakes that follow that will cost you.
“Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.” – James Clear in his book Atomic Habits.
You may not be perfect, but you can avoid repeating that mistake.
Weight loss can seem impossible but that is certainly not the case. It is not a mystery, it is a problem that has a solution. But it is made to look like a mystery on the internet as many are trying to sell you products you do not need. Instead, follow a structured approach.
First, set a realistic goal when it comes to weight loss. Instead of a random weight, think of your BMI and waist-height ratio. Based on these, set a realistic target.
Then, pick the most easily doable tips mentioned in this article and use those weight loss tips at home. You will start seeing and feeling a difference soon. You can alwaysreach out to us at Daily9if you need more guidance and we will be happy to help you out.
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