I LOVE analogies when it comes to nutrition! Analogies help keeps things simple, fun and easy. One of my favorite analogies is talking about “secret weapons.” Brenda, what are you talking about?! I’m so glad you asked as I am REALLY excited to share with you lifestyle changes and goals that will help you to attack your weight loss goal, aka the secret weapons! Here are five secret weapons to begin using today that a majority of us are not taking advantage of:
Secret Weapon #1 – Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! The fiber content helps us feel more satisfied on fewer calories all while booting our energy and immune system. A great goal is to “strive for five.” That is, five cups in total most days of the week. Ideally this would consist of two servings of fruit and three plus servings of vegetables. One serving is about one cup. You can do this!
Secret Weapon #2 – Fiber
Expanding on secret weapon #1 is learning more about the daily importance of dietary fiber. Fiber helps to slow digestion keeping us fuller longer. In addition, fiber cannot be broken down and used for energy by the body. Choose whole grains over white refined carbohydrates and eat your five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Men generally require around 35 grams/day and women can aim for 25 grams/day unless otherwise noted by your doctor.
Secret Weapon #3- Hydration
Water is gasoline to our metabolism. Many of us underestimate the importance of proper hydration when it comes to reaching our weight loss goals. Our body is made up of around 55-60% water! Let’s take a 150 pound person for example: 83-90 pounds of this body is water. If you are feeling tired and sluggish ask yourself if you are drinking enough water to meet your body’s fluid requirements. At a minimum we all need at least 64 ounces a day or 8 cups. If you are not reaching at least 8 cups of water a day this is a great initial goal. A long term, ultimate water goal according to the Mayo Clinic is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Secret Weapon #4- Sleep
Associations between sleep duration and weight loss are well established. Evidence suggests there is a strong relationship between sleep duration and healthy weight. Hormones that help regulate our appetite called leptin and ghrelin will fluctuate out of range when we do not meet our sleep needs and therefore leave us feeling hungrier. In addition, when we are lacking sleep there is an increased amount of inflammation in our bodies and many of us will also exercise less. It is found that 7-8 hours of sleep each night is the sweet spot!
Secret Weapon #5 – Food Journaling
Visuals speak loudly! Try writing down what you eat and drink for at least a week. I promise something will jump out at you about your nutrition plan that you just never thought of before or recognized that may be getting in the way of reaching your goal. Journaling helps us stay accountable and motivated. It does not have to be anything fancy – old school pen and paper works great or if you prefer more fancy and modern try tracking on an application such as My Fitness Pal.
The food journal is a tool I often like to use in coaching as it is helpful in pointing out all the amazing habits you already have and will help me to make very personalized nutrition pointers to optimize your plan to reach your goals. Please give me a call if you’d like your journal reviewed!