Want to lose weight once and for all? These 7 simple habits will help curb your appetite and optimize your body for fat loss. Lets' dive straight in.
# 1 Fuel up on protein
Muscle burns 3 times as many calories as fat. Therefore, the more muscle you have, the more calories, and thus fat, your body burns throughout the day.
The amino acids in protein help you build and maintain this muscle. After strength training, muscle fiber breaks down and is restored with the help of amino acids. As an added bonus, protein also helps you recover quicker from workouts and feel less sore!
Eating protein speeds up your metabolism because it uses up calories to digest and metabolize. This keeps your digestive system busy and thus reduces your appetite too.
The western diet has us filling up on carbs, leaving little room for protein so it tends to take a conscious effort to make high protein choices especially if you have a vegetarian diet. Plant based sources of protein tend to have a lot less protein pound for pound than meat and dairy sources. You can get some ideas for high protein foods here
# 2 Eat Fiber
Eating plenty of fiber helps you maintain a calorie deficit by keeping you feeling full.
Insoluble fiber helps stave off hunger pangs and soluble (viscous) fiber dissolves and reduces your body’s ability to absorb fat among other awesome things!
Fiber is associated with keeping us regular, which is a sad reflection of how bad our western diets are! But fiber provides a whole host of wonderful benefits such as detoxing you naturally and maintaining strong bones . Check out some more here
Find a balance of both soluble and insoluble that works for you and aim to build up to a total of 25g overall.
# 3 Drink Water
Drinking enough water, like eating fiber & protein, can help you lose weight automatically
Water reduces your appetite because dehydration can be confused with hunger, and water also helps you feel full with zero calories. Drinking it before meals, for example, reduces your appetite for food. In addition, being fully hydrated means you feel less stressed and can make better food decisions.
Water helps you build calorie burning muscle faster during exercise by improving electrical triggers for muscle contraction. It also helps your workouts overall by allowing sweat to keep you cool and lubricating joints
Drinking cold water even boosts your metabolism while your body burns calories to warm it up!
# 4 Do compound strength exercises
The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism and the more calories you burn throughout the day. This doesn’t mean bulking up, it just means getting more toned through strength training.
Compound strength exercises optimize your body for fat loss by building more muscle overall and burning more calories during the workout itself by engaging more than one muscle. Some examples of compound exercises are squats, deadlifts and push ups. Grab the 3 Session kick Start personal training sessions to learn how.
# 5 Prioritize sleep
A good night’s sleep sets you up for successful weight loss by helping you make better food choices and leaving you with more energy to be active.
When you get enough sleep, the hormones ghrelin & leptin let you know when you’re hungry and full so it’s easier to say no to high calorie foods. If you’ve had a really bad night’s sleep and you feel hungry all day, that is why..
With more energy you’ll move more throughout the day and ace those scheduled workouts (and recover from them quicker). Also, your mood is less likely to drop so you’re less likely to reach for that high calorie mood pick me up.
# 6 Journal
You can get really clear on your personal challenges when it comes to reaching your target weight.
Journaling keeps your weight loss goal at front of mind by helping you stay focused on why you want to lose weight. It’s a safe place to cheer yourself on and reflect on how much you're eating and why and on what else could bring you joy and comfort instead of food. It’s also a place to process difficult emotions so you don’t eat to block them out.
# 7 Move throughout the day
Staying active throughout the day burns more calories than your workouts because it’s the lion’s share of your day.
And here’s the thing, women who exercise for 60 minutes a day keep weight off long term. They did some big research on this. 60 minutes a day can be a workout, 5 minutes of exercise here and there OR a walk, gardening, playing with the grandkids or getting up from your desk every hour.
The ‘150 mins of activity a week’ guidance from the FDA is not weight loss or weight maintenance advice: “while clearly sufficient based on data from many studies to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, is insufficient for weight-gain prevention, without restricting caloric intake.” link
If you’re moving, you're not sedentary - your heart rate’s a little bit higher. You’re probably not going to be eating out of boredom or because your mood is low. You’re probably doing something that is engaging you or at least keeping you busy.
Maintaining the right amount of protein, fiber and water in your diet, helps reduce your overall calorie intake and lose fat. Basically you will feel full on less food and you speed up your metabolism.
Muscle burns 3 times as many calories as fat. Creating a body that has more toned muscle, through strength training, turns your body into a lean mean fat burning machine. Protein is important here too to help build muscle through exercise.
My hope is that if you want to lose weight, you also want to keep it off so you don’t have to spend extra time and energy on it. You can get into habits that work for you once and for all and then get on with all the other precious things you want to do in life, because life is short right?
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Are you wondering if you should add workouts to your busy schedule or to just skip dessert?
Well... here’s the scoop on the unsung benefit of exercise for weight loss
Exercise turns you into a lean, mean fat burning machine
Exercise, especially resistance training, makes your body want healthier foods. It makes dietary changes more tolerable and sets you up for significant weight loss that can be maintained over time.
In addition, when your muscles have been worked, consumed calories go towards helping them recover instead of being stored as fat.
The idea is to focus on exercise first and ultimately it will be easier to make better food choices. It's not that you can eat crap and exercise it off. Sorry about that…
Your body will develop more gorgeous toned muscles and lose fat. So there’s that!
It’s not about the calories burned during a workout!
Cue my husband “Are you a personal trainer writing an article to put people off exercise?”
Nah. But let’s consider this-
“You can easily eat hundreds of calories in minutes, but depending on the activity, it can take hours or more to burn these calories". Noom
Or more specifically - “A single slice of pizza, for example, could undo the benefit of an hour's workout. So could a cafe mocha or an ice cream cone.” Vox
Do you feel justified in the extra calories? I don’t know about you but if I don’t make a conscious effort to think about whether I NEED the calories there’s no stopping me!
Exercise can reduce overeating
Good food habits are essential to weight loss but giving up the comfort of overeating is hard. Corrine Crabtree says it best. She says we eat or drink, particularly in the evening because we want to stop thinking about our day.
Exercise can help you stop thinking about your day and give up the habit of turning to food for comfort.
Overeating and being active don’t usually go hand in hand. As long as you’re not using food as a reward, you probably don’t want to undo all your hard work by overeating afterwards - or during.
Exercise helps you keep weight off PERMANENTLY!
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
I’m guessing, like me, you don't want to backtrack when you've worked hard on something. Maintaining weight loss is easier than losing it so let’s get there and stay there.
Showing up for yourself daily by working out keeps weight loss front of mind for long term success regardless of whether that’s walking or hard workouts.
“Ninety percent of people who lose significant weight and keep it off exercise at least one hour a day, on average.” David Prologo
General activities like walking, gardening and being active count too towards that hour.
As an awesome bonus, you may have the positive influence of other people at the gym or your trainer which, if you’re exercising daily may influence your food choices. Win win.
Feeling too low to workout?
Exercise helps with low mood and depression… BUT... it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to get started when you're down.
It’s a vicious cycle. You don’t feel like moving because you feel low. Your hormones get messed up because you're not moving and that makes you feel even less like doing anything!
So what to do?
When you're feeling low you can pick a tiny habit that you are 100% sure you can complete daily. Pick something so small that you can muster up the energy to do it no matter how you're feeling. For example - it could be a 5 min stretch routine and/or walk around the block.
What you feel you can stick to will be very unique to you. Choose what works for you.
To sum up. Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is -
This helps three fold -
Of course, the more you exercise the more pronounced these outcomes are but... if you jump in the deep end with crazy intense workouts that leave you feeling like crap and unable to do anything the next day, your depression will kick your butt!
I promise if you start with something doable, you can build on it and start to have regular exercise as one of your happy mood buoyancy aids!
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➡ Do you need structure and accountability to workout consistently?
➡ Do you want expert guidance on the right exercises and stretches for you as an individual?
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