The concept of losing weight and burning fat is conceptually straightforward. But once you throw the every day and often times, unpredictable events of our lives into the foray, fat loss becomes much more difficult.
In today’s world, there are numerous diets and plans to use. However, with an excess of information and options available to us, people, unfortunately, fall prey to an analysis by paralysis and are stuck in inaction.
Here’s the thing, to get started with losing fat, nutrition needs to be a top priority. While nutrition can easily become complicated, it doesn’t have to. In fact, using these 7 nutritional habits will kickstart your fat loss journey without any confusion.
1. Stay hydrated
Water is so fundamental to our lives that it’s easy to overlook and take for granted. But staying hydrated provides benefits such as removing toxins, affecting DNA structure, delivering nutrients to the brain, metabolism functioning, and joint health through maintaining muscle elasticity and lubrication.
Perhaps the biggest and surprising benefit of water comes in the form of being a natural appetite suppressant. Those afternoon hunger pangs that arise randomly are more often than not simply signs of dehydration. With this knowledge in mind, the next time you feel an urge to snack or venture off into the office refrigerator, drink a few glasses of water first and then see if you’re still hungry.
2. Front Load Your Work
Compared to the promise of rapidly losing fat as some trendy diets promise, focusing on being prepared can seem like a bore. However, behind every successful person who has lost (and kept) weight off for the long term will be someone who is prepared. When you’re prepared, you’re able to operate with more control and certainty along with preventing any potential scenarios of being unprepared leading to binging on some not-so-good foods.
The easiest way to prepare yourself is to front-load your fitness. A financial adviser tells you to set aside money for retirement, college for your kids, and unforeseen disasters to name a few. The same thing applies to your nutrition. Brainstorm some potential future events and scenarios like deciding what’s for lunch and dinner since you have a busy schedule. By front-loading your work, you now have a solution for the potential obstacles that could sidetrack your fat loss.
3. Prioritize micronutrients
By now, you most likely have heard of the big three of nutrition: carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fats. When people talk about improving nutrition, there’s a tendency to only focus on those three. Doing this is essential paying attention to only the exterior of the car, but neglecting everything inside such as the engine and other parts.
And of course, this isn’t going to lead to a healthy automobile. Your body is the same way. Your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) play a vital role in your creativity, outlook on life, energy levels, prevention and treatment of diseases, metabolism, and weight loss. Speaking of weight loss, a study with more than 130,000 adults discovered that individuals who increased their daily intake of fruits and vegetables lost weight over a four-year span.
If you’re coming from a place of eating very few vegetables, aim for five servings and then eventually build up to ten plus daily servings.
4. Don’t drink your calories
Calories from drinks aren’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s merely that drinking your calories is an easy way to go over your targeted daily caloric intake. Next, when you’re aiming to make changes to your diet, you want to find the easy wins before embarking upon the more difficult challenges.
If you have a soda addiction or simply drink multiple glasses a day of other calorically dense drinks, start reducing the intake by at least 1-2 portions.
5. Be aware of your food triggers
How many times have you reached for a snack even though you weren’t hungry?
If you’re like the rest of us, it’s been numerous times. Everywhere we turn, our emotions are being tempted through various forms of advertisement. These discreet psychological cues and triggers affect our emotions which leads to us mindlessly eating.
Examples of emotional food triggers that lead to mindless eating can be when you’re stressed at work, watching your favorite tv show, or having a snack bowl that you just reach into out of habit.
6. Have protein with each meal
While you don’t have to overstuff yourself with chicken breast as some fitness outlets would have you to believe. Protein, nevertheless, is an important macronutrient that needs to be prioritized for optimal health and fat loss. Protein is the basic building block of life and is used inside every single cell of your body.
A few of the vast benefits of protein is building lean muscle, maintaining strong bones, maintaining proper motor skill functioning, and managing your appetite. These are far from being set in stone, but a general recommendation is for women to have at least one palm size serving with each meal while men should start with two portions.
7. Have some go-to meals
If you were curious why people like Steve Jobs and all the presidents wear practically the same clothes every day, it’s to avoid decision fatigue. Every day, we make decisions or take action on things that require mental energy and there’s only so much in the daily reserve. Therefore, it’s critical to conserving your energy for the tougher decisions of life.
With that said, eating a handful of the same meals throughout the week will work wonders for your psyche and fat loss. No more wasting mental bandwidth and stressing in some cases about what to eat.
A general template could be:
- Your protein of choice
- Your preferred carb of choice (I.e. Sweet potato, rice, etc)
- Vegetables for micronutrients
- Healthy dietary fats
The serving size and makeup of the meals are up to you and your specific goals.
At the beginning of your fat loss journey, it’s about accumulating as many small wins as possible to build momentum. There are numerous options to lose fat, but focus on these seven habits before introduction any sort of fancier techniques or methods. When you focus on the fundamentals and make nutrition fit your preferred lifestyle, you’re going to increase your chances of long-term success.