Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

7 Tips to Lose Weight Naturally

It has become an accepted idea weight loss only occurs through sacrifice, though that is not the case. Use these 7 tips to lose weight naturally (and without the sacrifice)!

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Paleo, keto, intermittent fasting… Only a tiny fraction of diets sparking interest of those hoping to drop pounds.

But with paleo, you have to sacrifice whole grains and dairy. And on the keto, there is no margin for error to keep the body in ketosis. And in regards to intermittent fasting, you may have to give up early morning breakfast with your kids.

Really, while these diets may work for some, it has become an accepted idea that you can only lose weight through sacrifice. However, this is simply not the case.

Sometimes small changes, like adding protein to snacks and taking the stairs, are what turn into the largest results. To top it off, the results are sustainable and long-lasting!

Ready to lose weight without sacrifice? Find out the simple steps it takes to lose weight naturally!

7 Tips for Weight Loss Without Sacrifice

Natural ways to lose weight and belly fat include eating a wholesome breakfast and eating healthy snacks. What’s more, long-term weight loss can be achieved without making large sacrifices!

1. Eating a Wholesome Breakfast

Coined the "most important meal of the day," consuming a protein-rich breakfast is undoubtedly valuable. The morning meal breaks the nightly fast, keeping blood sugar levels at bay while providing the body the energy it needs to jumpstart the day.

Eating a wholesome breakfast does not have to be a feat, either. These high-protein, low-carb breakfast ideas will nourish the body without taking major time off your clock:

Overnight oats, which can be made the night ahead. Unique flavor combos include blueberry almond, pumpkin, and apple pie.

• High-protein smoothies, including chocolate mint, chocolate banana, and peach, raspberry, and basil.

• Plain Greek yogurt topped with berries, sliced almonds, or other favorite fruits, nuts, and seeds.

• A cup of cottage cheese with sliced peaches or pineapple for natural sweetness and added nutrients.

• Hardboiled eggs paired with a slice of whole-grain toast or piece of fruit.

2. Healthy Snacking

Most people believe sacrificing snacks is mandatory to lose weight. However, embracing snacks may actually assist in natural weight loss!

Snacking is valuable for keeping hunger and blood sugar levels normalized between meals, ultimately combating against ravening on food come mealtime. It is important, though, to snack healthfully, and include satiety-offering protein and fiber-rich snacks.

Enjoy healthy snacks to fight midday cravings, at work, or whenever a snack attack arises:

• 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds, almonds, or other favorite nut and seed varieties

• 1 cup carrot sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus

• 5 pieces of prosciutto and 4 dried figs

• 1 cup of lightly salted edamame

• ¼ cup of edamole paired with ¼ cup of sliced bell pepper

• 1 cup, or 8 fluid ounces, of chocolate milk

3. Watching Portion Sizes

Think you have to sacrifice favorite foods to reach and maintain a healthy weight? Think again!

In fact, you can eat foods often deemed as "off-limits" on a diet! However, it is important to enjoy these foods by watching portion sizes. Tips for portion control and real weight loss include:

• Drink water before and during meals. Also, aim for at least 64 ounces of water daily.

• Fill up the plate with non-starchy veggies, including salad greens, broccoli, and peppers. Doing so can fill up the stomach.

• Split restaurant meals and share them with someone else at the table. Or, use the other half for tomorrow's lunch.

• Ration out portions rather than eating straight from the bag.

• Practice mindful eating, which involves paying attention to hunger and satiety cues. It also discourages using electronics and other distractions at the dinner table.

4. Practicing Meal Prep

Preparing and cooking healthful dishes for all meals can certainly cost measurable time. But setting a couple of hours aside once a week and dedicating it to meal prep can provide nutritious foods throughout the week. This is without sacrificing all your time!

Using a beginner's guide for meal prep can be useful to get you started. Step-by-step, meal prep tips include:

• Step #1: Take food requests, especially if cooking for more than just yourself.

• Step #2: Compile a grocery list, as doing so makes for swift trips to the store. It also lessens the risk of grabbing for unintended foods such as chips and cookies.

• Step #3: Shop the store's perimeter where the most nutritious foods tend to exist. This includes lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.

• Step #4: Prep meals and snacks.

• Step #5: Store the meals, making sure to organize appropriately.

Taking advantage of a weight loss meal delivery, such as bistroMD, can also make meal prep a breeze! Unlike most fad diets, bistroMD is built on the knowledge and expertise of Dr. Caroline Cederquist.

Each meal is scientifically balanced with the right nutrients to shed weight. The bistroMD meals also challenge the myth food made to lose weight has to be bland and flavorless!

5. Staying Active

In hopes to lose weight fast, you may be resorting to countless hours at the gym. But sometimes it really is not the time devoted to workouts, but rather the efforts put into them.

In fact, even a quick workout can still offer great results! In fact, studies have shown even small bouts of exercise can improve heart health, memory, happiness, and longevity, just to name a few.

Insert small activity throughout the day to gain many health benefits, including weight loss. Ways to increase physical activity include the following:

• Walk the dog around the neighborhood in the morning.

• Take the long route to the bathroom at work and at home.

• Use the stairs over the elevator.

• Park far away from entry doors, including at the store and work.

• Encourage walk meetings with coworkers.

• Stand while talking on the phone.

All-in-all, dismiss a sedentary lifestyle and start living more active. Because, truly, any exercise is better than going without.

6. Ensuring Adequate Sleep

Sleep deprived? Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain in a number of ways.

First off, cortisol tends to increase when sleep deprived, in turn increasing appetite. The hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin may also become imbalanced. This can reduce feelings of fullness and heighten cravings.

Sleep deprivation can further slow down metabolism, along with lessening energy. Low energy levels can compromise workouts and the desire to cook a nutritious meal.

Chronic lack of sleep can negatively impact heart health and many other body systems as well. It can also lead to depressive feelings and negatively affect cognition.

To deter these risks, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Create a healthy bedtime routine and stick to both regular sleep and wake times to help influence a good night’s rest.

7. Managing Stress

Some stress can encourage and spark motivation to reach goals. However, too much of it can impede weight loss results.

The body stores fuel, slows down metabolism, and dumps out harmful chemicals such as cortisol when stressed. To make matters worse, stress eaters tend to prefer high-carb and fat foods because they trigger an increase in the brain chemical serotonin that induces a calming effect. These compounding factors can lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal region.

So, it is time to part with chronic stress! Limit stress with the following strategies:

• Take a walk in nature

• Practice yoga or meditate

• Do some deep breathing

• Call a close friend

• Exercise

• Play with furry friend

• Read a favorite book

• Listen to music

All-in-all, practice positive coping techniques rather than relying on food, alcohol, and other harmful practices. Stress relief is also personal, so do what works best for you.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on March 13, 2013. Updated on September 30, 2019.

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