The top strategies for a healthy weight include sleeping better, eating better, moving better and drinking better.
Notice I didn't mention anything about less or more of something, and there is not a specific measurement such as four times, or 20 minutes or seven servings. That is the part you have to decide on your own. “Better” means you have to figure out what you are doing now, and improve on each of those areas. Here are some specifics to get you started.
Making these four things “better” is a long-term, sure way to lose weight. Here's to getting healthier in 2014!
It might sound boring, but my husband and I invested in a top-of-the-line mattress for our Christmas gift to each other. That is where I place sleep on the spectrum — first! If you aren't sleeping well, everything else might just as well go out the window.
Jill Koegel is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer based in Omaha. She blogs every Wednesday. Read more from Jill.
There are so many ramifications of good sleep (and of bad sleep), but I will stick with the vague statement that applies to weight loss: Good, quality deep sleep will help you lose weight.
This is my favorite since it is my area of expertise. I understand that “better” is very different from one person to the next.
Start with a food journal for three days, and determine what your most challenging food, time of day, or habit may be.
Then select one challenge at a time to overcome. This doesn't mean you completely avoid that food or you have “blown it,” but it does mean that you make an attempt for a week or two to change your frequency and/or amount of that food or behavior. It also means that you need to continue keeping track. Eating better will challenge your body to burn calories more efficiently and to use extra body fat for energy. You will likely reduce your overall calorie intake, which will help in weight loss.
If you aren't exercising at all, this means exactly what you are probably thinking. Get up more often, clean the house, shovel the snow, take the stairs and walk the mall.
If you are exercising a little, or inconsistently, increase your total weekly minutes, or commit to a group fitness or yoga class as part of your weekly routine.
Finally, if you're like me and doing a lot of exercise, it might mean taking a day off more often, so that your exercise becomes easier, your body is less sore, and you reap more benefits overall. On your day off, be sure to fuel your body carefully with healthy proteins, less sugar, and heart healthy fats such as those from fish and nuts.
It will be hard for me to cut the caffeine out completely this year. I have to set my expectations to an achievable level, so in my world, the goal is to stop drinking caffeine by 3 p.m. each day.
Of course, drinking enough water is not negotiable either. Many people ask if diet soda, coffee, or other beverages are “bad,” and my answer always depends on the answer to the question, “Do you drink at least 64 to 80 ounces of water every day?” Drink enough water first, and then you can have other beverages in moderation.
Another way to cut out extra calories and lose weight is to reduce or eliminate alcohol or sugary beverages.