On paper, it seems like losing weight should be easy: getting calories from food, and burning calories through activity. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in nutrition to understand this part of weight loss, and for many people, that’s how losing weight works. However, some people find themselves hitting a brick wall, discouraged and frustrated that they haven’t lost any weight. In the Body Reboot book, we discuss some of those frustrations and how for many, implementing a low-carb way of eating and living has given those who haven’t been able to lose weight hope. In addition to considering getting healthy via eating fewer carbs, we cover other tips increase your odds of losing weight and help you feel better along the way.
Drink More Water
Drinking water has tons of benefits, one being that it helps cleanse your body and keeps the cravings at bay. Redbook also recommends adding some sea salt in your water, which is also great if you go on the keto diet because you will need the added sodium.
Here's your permission to dump that electric-green juice craze down the drain. A better plan is to sip water throughout the day. Research shows it actually helps you cut down on calories. Often, thirst is confused for hunger. And try salt water, while you're at it. When it comes to H20, salt is not the enemy. “Water needs electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride to be best absorbed,” says Jenny Westerkamp, an R.D. in Chicago, which explains why they're added to popular sports drinks.
She recommends adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt or real salt (unrefined and unbleached) to your water before chugging. “The electrolytes in the salt will push water into the cells where they need to be, rather than letting the water get flushed out, causing you to go to the bathroom every other minute.” You'll notice a spike in energy after staying hydrated, too, and you'll be less likely to give in to cravings which are even harder to avoid when you're running on empty.
Get Rid of the Distractions
Getting rid of distractions is something you must do if you want to lose weight and stay focused on your diet. Examples of distractions include TV, emails, or even social media. Unless they encourage you to follow your diet and make positive decisions, it’s better to steer clear of them. My Fitness Pal provides more tips on how to get rid of distractions:
“All too often when we eat, we’re also multitasking: watching TV, answering emails, scrolling through social media,” says Jess Glazer, a certified personal trainer and founder of FITtrips. “These habits are detrimental to having a strong, clear, healthy relationship with food, and they can hinder our ability to make dietary changes.”
“In order to truly focus on what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, why you’re eating those specific foods and, most importantly, how those foods make you feel, you need to starve the distractions,” Glazer says. That means when you eat, just eat. “Focus on your food, the process it went through to end up on your plate, where it came from and how it nourishes you.” With this technique, you’re more likely to finish a meal feeling satiated.
Even if you start the keto diet and you find your appetite is less (which is due to the filling fats and protein you eat), it’s still a good idea to practice mindful eating. Be aware of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling, as Greatest recommends.
Jenifer Tharani, MS, RD, also encourages mindful eating as a general strategy. Eating slowly, bringing attention to flavors and textures of foods, and checking in frequently for fullness all promote a feeling of satiation—even when cutting back on portion sizes. “I ask patients during follow-up weight management sessions whether they felt satisfied with eating smaller portions, and they always say yes,” she says.
Are you getting enough sleep? It’s hard to get into the right mindset to lose weight or stick to any diet when you’re sleep deprived. Decide to get more hours of sleep, and you’ll feel like you can start a diet and make better decisions. See why Greatest says sleep is so important below:
When the scale won't budge, dietitians often take the focus off diet and exercise entirely, exploring issues of stress and sleep instead. “Both lack of sleep and high cortisol levels are associated with lower levels of leptin, a hormone that is key in energy metabolism, weight, and our hunger signals,” says Jen Scheinman, RDN. “Individuals must tackle sleep and stress to succeed in weight loss.”
Tharani agrees: “For some patients, I don't even talk about food, because food is not their main barrier to weight loss. Instead, stress and lack of self-care are what keeps them from losing weight.” Tharani recommends practicing yoga and meditation to decompress. When stress levels are under control, restful sleep tends to follow.
Eat Healthy Fats
Keto dieters will tell you that any fat goes while on the keto diet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on the healthy fats. Healthy fats include avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Redbook elaborates more on the type of fats that tend to have less saturated fat.
When you're trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is eat anything fatty, right? Wrong. You just have to make sure you're eating the right kind of fat. While eating certain types of fat are definitely no-nos when you're trying to lose weight — looking at you, saturated fat! — adding healthy fats into your diet is a game-changer. Research has shown eating good-for-you fats like avocado on a daily basis — even if that's just throwing some onto your salad for lunch — can leave you so full and satisfied that you're not reaching for unhealthy, sugary snacks later on. And without all those excess calories, you're bound to drop unwanted weight.
Cut Back on Calories
If you desire to lose weight, Healthline argues it’s important to cut back on the calories, even if you are on the keto diet. If you’re eating more than your body is burning for energy, then it’s going to be challenging for you to lose weight. However, the good news is that on the keto diet you will be burning a lot more fat, so unless you have issues losing weight, keeping track of your calories may or may not be something you need to do.
A large number of people who have trouble losing weight are simply eating too many calories.
You may think that this does not apply to you, but keep in mind that studies consistently show that people tend to underestimate their calorie intake by a significant amount (14, 15, 16).
If you are not losing weight, you should try weighing your foods and tracking your calories for a while.
Here are some helpful resources:
Calorie calculator — Use this tool to figure out how many calories to eat.
Calorie counters — This is a list of five free websites and apps that can help you keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake.
Tracking is also important if you're trying to reach a certain nutrient goal, such as getting 30% of your calories from protein. This can be impossible to achieve if you're not tracking things properly.
It is generally not necessary to count calories and weigh everything for the rest of your life. Instead, try out these techniques for a few days every few months to get a feel for how much you’re eating.
Have a Life Outside of Weight Loss
Part of weight loss success is not always focusing on it 24/7 because otherwise you may overthink it and end up overeating. Distraction is essential and so is enjoying hobbies where you don’t have to think about your diet all of the time. WebMD has some great ideas:
When your weight loss efforts lead to boredom or too much self-focus, get occupied with something else. “I eat more if I'm bored,” says Virginias, “especially if I'm eating in front of the TV.”
So take a break from the siren-call of the tube, and get occupied with things that have nothing to do with food.
For some, that might mean becoming involved with local politics, discovering yoga, or enjoying painting. Or maybe you want to help a child with a science project, repaint the bedroom, or take a class. The key: Have a life outside of weight loss.
Already busy enough? Then at least eat your meals at the table. “The TV is distracting, and I'm just not conscious of eating,” Virginias tells WebMD. “Once I'm at the table, with a place setting, I'm much more aware of what I'm eating.”
At the time of writing this post, we're currently giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book because it's our mission to increase awareness and to help people lose weight and get healthy! If you help us cover the cost of shipping, we’ll send a copy to your door FREE. Go over to this page to see if there are any copies left.
Sources: My Fitness Pal, Greatest, Redbook, Healthline, WebMD
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Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!