1. Eat 3-4 Meals a Day
A common weight loss strategy is to eat small meals frequently throughout the day. Unless you’re tracking all of your calories, this isn’t the best method to lose weight. Research indicates that calorie intake is directly proportional to eating frequency, additionally, there is zero metabolic or satiety advantage to eating six times a day versus three times a day. Small meals don’t prompt your body to register the meal as an adequate amount of food, so your body doesn’t reduce or eliminate its eating-related responses. Even if you are eating the same amount (or more) of the food as you would on a three meal per day diet, it’s likely that eating six small meals per day will never make you feel full or satisfied. A diet that does not satisfy you is a diet that is not sustainable long-term. The bottom line: eating small frequent meals is more likely to lead to constant hunger, lack of satiety, and over-eating.
2. Eat High-Quality Foods
Almost anyone who has tried to lose weight has heard the phrase “a calorie is a calorie.” While it’s true that, regardless of the food you eat, you will lose weight if you create a caloric deficit, the reality is that maintaining a caloric deficit with low-quality food is almost impossible. The quality of the food we eat has a direct impact on our health, satiety, energy levels, and athletic performance. Protein and fiber are critical sources of satiety and appetite reduction. Think about it, eating 500 calories of chicken has a drastically different effect on your body than eating 500 calories of potato chips. The chicken (quality protein) will leave you satisfied and full for hours, while the chips (low-quality food) will have you reaching for another snack in no time. The chicken leaves you satisfied! Creating a caloric deficit is the only way to lose weight, and choosing high-quality foods is an important factor in helping you consume fewer calories. You don’t have to eat grilled chicken every meal to eat quality foods, just focus on eating lean protein, healthy fats, and good carbs and you’ll be on your way to improved weight management. Try to think of your food as fuel for your active lifestyle, the better fuel you choose, the better you’ll feel and perform.
3. Set Micro-Goals
Focus on small changes at a time. I like to set a challenge for myself each week. They can even be easy challenges! The whole point is to make living healthy into a game. Here’s how it works: Each Sunday, I reflect on the last week and pick a something I want to improve. For example, Last week, I wanted to work on drinking more water, so my challenge was to drink 200 ounces of water a day. If I completed the challenge every day of the week, I stack a new challenge on it for the next week. So, the next week, I might challenge myself to drink 200 ounces of water a day and only eat three meals a day. If I fail to complete the challenge, I repeat it each week until I do. When I first started creating a healthy lifestyle, I made the mistake of trying to change everything at once. I quickly go overwhelmed and just gave up. Eventually, I realized that I was most successful if I just tackled one habit at a time. Setting micro-goals allows you to zero in on one habit at a time and build a strong foundation for weight management without getting overwhelmed.