Over the past year I have noticed a thickening around my stomach. I am tall and lean and am lucky that my weight is fairly constant so this thickening concerned me. At first I attributed it to menopause and thought that I would have to live with it forever but I wasn’t too happy about that prospect so I did some research.
What did I learn? My weight gain wasn’t from menopause. And I could fix it. So I did.
#1 – I cut out sugar.
I know I know. Easier said than done. But seriously, if you can even reduce the sugar in your diet the weight will fall off.
I have very little sugar in my diet. Eating it makes me feel sick so I tend to avoid it. I do have to admit, however, to an addiction to coconut water and KIND bars. I travel a lot and they are very convenient so I consume them regularly. On average one large bottle of coconut water and 1 KIND bar (at least) a day.
The first step to my weight loss was cutting those things from my diet. I cut nothing else. I still eat Tostitos and french fries and Pad Thai. I just don’t do coconut water and KIND bars.
In 2 weeks, just not eating sugar, a lot of that thick stuff around my waist evaporated.
Just by not eating sugar.
#2 – I increased the fiber.
A recent study showed people who added more fiber to their diet, without changing anything else, lost almost as much weight as people on a heart healthy, low fat eating plan.
Without changing anything else.
Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber a day, men 38 grams. Most Americans get half as much as that.
Why does fiber help with weight loss? Because it makes you feel fuller and you eat less. Eating a baked potato, with the skin, will keep you feel full longer than a bag of potato chips because of the increased fiber.
So how can you increase the fiber in your diet? Easy. Some food high in fiber: legumes, peas, raspberries, avocados, pears, broccoli, and oatmeal. Personally, I added 1 cup of peas to my lunchtime meal and it made a huge difference for my mid-afternoon hunger pangs.
#3 – I got my heart rate up.
I know. When you read this one you will just want to throw in the towel right away. Images of gym memberships and Pilates classes are enough to send you to the fridge for a pint of ice cream.
Don’t be daunted. Really, it’s not that hard to get your heart rate up.
Studies show that the average person needs 30 minutes of sustained exercise 5 times a week to increase the body’s weight burning capacity.
30 minutes. That’s nothing.
How about a stroll with your hubby after dinner, dancing around the living room with your kids, walking the dog in the morning before you head out to work. Maybe even a jog with girlfriends if you feel like it. Or an evening bike ride.
Really, all the things that you used to do as a kid. Just do them now as an adult. For 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
No gym memberships required.
#4 – I slept.
Did you know that not sleeping well can have a huge effect on your weight?
When we are tired in the morning we are more likely to turn to sugar laden lattes and pastries to wake ourselves up. And when we are groggy in the afternoon we tend to reach for comfort food to get us through the rest of the day. Conversely, if you wake up refreshed after a good night’s sleep you tend to greet the day in a positive way. Perhaps a healthy breakfast and then a walk for the dog and off you go for your day.
Lack of sleep also affects your metabolism. Your body’s ability to properly use insulin is affected, sometimes by as much as 30%. When this happens your body stores fat in all of the wrong places. Not the goal.
The goal is sleep. 7-9 hours a night. I know, you have a lot of TV to watch. But try it. See what happens if you get enough sleep. You might like it.
#5 – I reduced my stress.
Did you know that stress is a killer for weight loss, even if you are eating right and exercising regularly? Why?
For two reasons. The first is that the stress hormone Cortisol has been shown to increase the appetite, particularly for foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. The other is that stress, like sleep, interferes in insulin regulation and more of the food we eat gets turned into fat.
So look where you can reduce stress in your life. This past year my life has been very stressful. I was in a relationship that wasn’t serving me and I was really suffering. Right around the time I decided to lose the weight I extracted myself from the relationship. My stress evaporated (mostly).
And with it those 5 Lbs….
Many of us are looking for ways to lose 5 lbs quickly. Millions of dollars are spent on gym memberships and fad diets every year.
But losing weight doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive. Try these few tweaks. See what happens. Lose those 5 lbs.
For me the 5 lbs lost has made a world of difference. Eating those peas and taking my 30 minute walk every day are things that I look forward to because doing them actually FEELS healthy. I didn’t feel so lumpy in those summer dresses that I pulled from the back of the closet. And I had my bikini on by the pool today. I am SO glad I did that research and made an effort to change.
Perhaps feeling just a little bit lighter will change YOUR life in more ways than one. Or 5….
Looking for more ways to lose some weight? Contact me and I can help.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.