Maybe you’d like to lose some weight or maybe you’re just trying to maintain what you’ve already built and stay healthy and energized all summer long. Either way, you can’t go wrong with my summer slimming tips. Because the great part about approaching weight loss/maintenance holistically is that improved health will follow.
Before embarking on any weight-loss program it’s important to ask yourself: why are you overeating or over-drinking? It’s important to get to the root of the unhealthy behaviour so you can work towards altering that behaviour permanently instead of constantly battling with your inclinations.
And because weight is such a complex interplay of diet, lifestyle and mental and spiritual health, I’m breaking this blog into two sections. The first will highlight some of my top tips for nutritional weight loss strategies. And if you’d like to read on (and you should!) head over to part 2 where I outline a few important lifestyle factors that will have a huge impact on your weight.
Here are 9 ways to manage your weight through proper nutrition:
- Manage your blood sugar: This is SO important. Make sure to include protein and fibre at every meal and get in healthy fats as well throughout the day which help slow down the digestive process, delay stomach emptying, and therefore, slow glucose absorption. Better blood sugar control means less crashing, fatigue and less sugar/carb cravings.
- Get a water bottle: When you first feel a pang of hunger, don’t reach for the regular processed snack. Instead, reach for a glass of plain water. Often, we feel we’re hungry when we’re really just dehydrated. Try water first. If you’re still hungry in 10-15 minutes, head for a healthy snack.
- Pack snacks: Don’t wait till you’re starving to eat. Waiting until you’re famished or ‘hangry’ to eat encourages binge eating and bad food choices. On top of that, that kind of ravenous feeling means your blood sugar is low and crashing blood sugar naturally increases adrenaline and cortisol, which leads to weigh gain over time. Try packing some nuts, seeds and fruit, sliced veggies and hummus.
- Slow Down: It takes the brain about 20 minutes after beginning to eat to register food is on the way, so if you’re scarfing down your food in 10 minutes and heading for seconds, your brain hasn’t even had a chance to register that you’re full in the first place. Put your plate away for 20 minutes after finishing your meal. If you’re still hungry, help yourself to a second serving of whatever veggies you were eating.
- Vegetables are your friends! Eat as many fresh vegetables in a variety of colours as you can with every meal. Veggies are low in calories and high in fibre, which means that you’re filling up on the good stuff (vitamins and minerals to support your health as well as cut down on cravings) Aim to eat at least 2-3 cups of vegetables at each meal.
- Limit animal protein consumption (especially concentrated proteins like red meat): Animal proteins are harder to digest which causes a strain on the body. Overconsumption of hard-to-digest animal proteins can lead to health conditions like leaky gut and allergies both of which overwhelm the immune system and increase circulating toxins, which ultimately get stored in fat. Everyone would benefit from consuming more well-balanced vegetarian dishes. If you’re a big meat eater, try going meatless one day a week and work your way up.
- Make sure to get enough plant-based protein: When it comes to eating vegetarian meals, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein which will keep you satisfied for longer. This is easy to do with legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains (lentils, dry beans and peas), eggs and limited amounts of dairy products if you can tolerate them. Don’t forget, seeds like hemp and quinoa are complete proteins. And if you combine any whole grain with a legume/nut/seed you create a complete protein as well! Fun!
- Do not drink liquids with your meals: If you’re thirsty, try to have a glass of water 10-20 minutes before the meal. While you are eating, you want your body to be efficient at digesting the foods and absorbing the nutrients you are consuming. You don’t want to dilute your beautiful stomach acid – it does so much digestive work for you! Maintaining the right pH balance in your stomach helps with natural body cleansing functions & efficiency. A few sips of water is fine, but don’t guzzle back a glass of water during meal time.
- JERF: Just Eat Real Food! It goes without saying, eating REAL food will help keep you healthy and help manage your weight. And when you limit/avoid processed foods you automatically limit or avoid added sugars, chemicals and trans fats, which are a huge culprit in weight gain and a host of other health conditions…For more on hidden added sugars: check out my interview with Damon Gameau who made That Sugar Film to help enlighten people about the bitter truth behind hidden sugars.
Now, stop counting those calories and go out and get some vitamin D (aka: sunshine!). Check out part 2 of my summer slimming strategies here.