The advice of “eat less and exercise more” has been touted as the key to fat loss success. Ah, if only it were that simple. The truth is that weight loss is tricky, and while consuming fewer calories and moving more is a great start, that’s not all there is to it. Getting healthy and losing weight is more of a whole-body journey than people like to acknowledge, including your mindset and how you prioritize self-care. Here are three other fat loss tips to consider when you want to lose extra weight aside from that “eat less and move more” trope.
1. Choose Foods That Fill You Up
Sure, smaller portions are good for losing weight, but not if the food you’re eating doesn’t actually fill you up. Trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you should starve yourself. Get rid of the belief that deprivation is smart or sustainable, because it’s simply not. If you equate “weight loss” with eating miniature portions of the same types of foods over and over, think again. This type of attitude will lead to diet burn-out, and chances are you’re going to get really bored—and really hungry—and binge on some not-so-healthy foods in rebellion.
Instead, focus on eating until you’re 80% full—your stomach takes a minute to let you know you’re full, but you don’t want to stop when you’re barely satiated because that’s not going to work long-term. Add in fiber-rich foods that will keep you fuller, longer. And focus on finding recipes that elevate the basics (chicken, salads, etc) with fun new flavors and add-ins. Just because you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean your meals need to be boring.
2. Incorporate Stress Management Into Your Day-To-Day Life
Stress plays a much bigger role in physical health than you might think. People have long been discussing the mind-body connection but it’s now more true than ever: stress can have seriously negative impacts on your physical health. One can be the inability to lose stubborn belly fat (link to belly fat stress blog). Also, stress is a vicious cycle that can cause you emotional overeating or insomnia—two things that don’t make it easy to lose weight.
Manage your stress with daily meditation, gratitude, yoga, and quiet time. Disconnect from devices at least an hour or two before bed to cut down on cortisol-boosting blue light. And above all, treat stress management just as importantly as you would exercise or nutrition. The truth is, it matters just as much not just for your weight loss but your overall health and longevity.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Yes, you’ve heard it a million times before. No, you may not realize just how much your shut-eye affects your weight. Science shows that sleep deprivation raises levels of a hormone called leptin in your body, which actually makes your body crave fatty, carbohydrate-rich foods. This hormonal imbalance also causes you to feel less satiated after you eat. Getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep most nights will not only keep your appetite in check, but it will give you enough energy to tackle your workouts and make you better able to deal with stress.
Are you starting to see how fat loss is more of a whole-body journey than most people say? It’s not just a matter of calorie restriction and more exercise; losing weight is affected by the quality of food you eat, the lifestyle you lead, and how much you prioritize your own well-being, too!