Change your Habits to Lose Weight
Ok so we all know that to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit i.e. consuming fewer calories than we expend consistently but where is it you can really make that improvement?
It is important to identify where you are at and are potentially over consuming so you can take ownership of your situation and in to a position where you can start to lose weight.
Tracking your calories is always a good way to see where you are going wrong and gain back that control but before that, I want you to address the habits that are causing you to over consume.
Here are 3 of the common habits my own clients have had that have led to over consumption of calories and some simple solutions to address this.
Alcoholic drinks are referred to as ‘empty calories’ meaning they give us calories but very little nutrients. It is a common area where we can over consume calories without really thinking it. Even those that I coach who are very good at tracking their intake fail to input calories consumed from alcohol.
That half bottle of wine you had on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday doesn’t seem much but it has actually amounted to 1000 calories. Throw in a couple of house measures of gin and tonic into Saturday and you are up to 1400.
That might be an extra day’s worth of calories for some people and so even if you had been ‘on point’ with the rest of your intake these extra unaccounted for calories could be the reason your weight loss has stalled or been reversed.
Alcohol may also lead us to make poor decisions when it comes to food choices both during the time of drinking and the day after (speaking by experience here of course). So your ‘extra’ calories may be up a lot higher than 1400 now.
Getting control of this habit may be the key to making the improvements to your health and the body shape that you want.
Solution 1 – Understand the WHY and HOW behind your goals. If you can connect to the reasons why you want to lose weight, be fitter and healthier and realise how it would make you feel physically and mentally once you achieved that goal then you will be more likely to do what is necessary during the process.
Solution 2 – Track your alcohol intake, you will soon realise you need to substitute a good bit of food for alcohol to remain in your calorie target, never a good thing. Remember alcohol is ‘empty calories’.
Solution 3 – Compare how you feel after a day of not drinking versus a day of drinking. Are you more positive? Did you sleep better? Were you more productive at work? Are you more motivated to move and/or exercise? If so remember this, this is important.
Portion control is important when you are trying to lose weight. You can be eating the healthiest of meals but if you are eating too much you will still gain weight. This could be an easy area that you can adjust slightly to start seeing progress. You don’t need to be eating tiny portions of food, far from it but having an understanding of portion sizes, and calories per food item is key.
Solution 1 – Add Vegetables and salads to your meals. Whatever you are eating serve it with a side salad or some vegetables while reducing some of your higher calorie sourced foods. You will end up eating more food for fewer calories. Also consider substituting higher calorie foods for vegetables. For example if you are having a stir-fry replace some of your noodles with vegetables. This will lower the calories for that meal. If you are making spaghetti bolognaise, instead of using mince, split it so you use 60% mince 40% chopped mushrooms.
Solution 2 – Measure out higher calorie items. For example many people assume avocado is a great food to eat for breakfast or add to a salad as it is packed with healthy fats. This may be the case but it is also a relatively high calorie food in comparison to other fruits and vegetables. A medium sized avocado is around 320 calories. Similarly, coconut oil and olive oil tend to get a good rep as a healthy fat food, this makes people think they can use greater amounts of them when cooking compared to other oils. The truth is they are the same calories as vegetable oil and it is easy to lose track of the amount we are putting into our meals. Cutting down on the amount of oil you use in cooking is an easy way to reduce overall calories. My advice would be to measure out your avocado, oil portions when using them. This will give you an understanding of the calories per gram for that food and give you a bit of control to not over consume.
Solution 3 – Eat from a smaller plate or bowl. If you lack a bit of discipline when serving up a bowl of pasta, chilli, porridge or any meal for that matter, using a smaller plate may help you to eat less. If you want more food to consume consider solution 1 and serve with a side salad.
Are you wasting calories snacking throughout the day or in the evening on high calorie foods? Could this be an area you could be improving?
Why are you snacking? Are you hungry? If so try solution 1 below.
Is it boredom? If so try solution 2 below.
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so try solution 3 below.
Solution 1 – Eat more Protein. Protein has been shown to suppress the appetite and make you feel fuller for longer. A breakfast higher in protein for example may stop you from feeling the need to snack throughout the morning.
Solution 2 – Perhaps try to acknowledge the times you feel bored and instead of reaching for the biscuit tin stimulate yourself by going for a walk, reading a book, stretching, phoning a friend or doing an exercise. Try to flip these periods around in your favour. Snacking shouldn’t be the answer to your boredom.
Solution 3 – Have some go-to lower calorie alternatives that you could replace the higher calorie snacks you’re craving. For example switching fizzy juice for diet alternatives. Choosing lower calorie crisps or lower calorie ice cream.
Hopefully you found this helpful, if you need help in building better habits please get in touch.