One of the most common questions that I am asked is, “how can I lose weight?” So I thought that it was time to just lay it out here.
Even though the road to losing weight is different for each and every person, there are some common rules that seem to work for everyone. Follow these seven rules and you are bound to start moving in the right direction. I have tested them on myself as well as many of my clients with great success. So at the very least, you must give them a try!
1. Know why you want to lose weight
If you don’t know why you want to lose weight, you’ll lose motivation very fast. Your purpose should be something that really motivates you. It should be something that you want to have or don’t want to have anymore which outweighs the pleasure you get from eating. For example, you may want to feel lighter again, or maybe you want to be able to keep up with your kids, or maybe you want to be able to look in the mirror and say “I feel sexy.” Too often we cave at the first roadblock thinking ”it’s not too bad after all – it’s okay to eat just a little bit more.” Your purpose will safeguard against those moments and remind you why losing weight is important to you. Find your reason why today.
2. Give your system a rest
Most of the people I have met in my life eat late dinners and early breakfasts. This only allows their digestive system to rest for six to eight hours. However, from my experience, leaving your stomach empty for 12 to 14 hours overnight is the best first step to combat belly fat. Of course, if you are thirsty, drinking water as well as unsweetened and non-caffeinated tea is fine.
3. Be aware of constant sugar feeding
When your body lacks macronutrients in its bloodstream, you lose weight as it is forced to use its own reserves. Therefore, it is important to make sure you that you space out your meals with at least three to four hours in between.
Having a cup of tea, coffee or soft drink in between meals however, increases your blood sugar levels, restricting your body from using its own reserves. This is common in Malaysia as most people like to drink a teh tarik in between meals. Given that this drink contains condensed milk and six tablespoons of sugar, it should count as a meal in its own right! So for these three to four hours that your stomach is “resting,” only drink water.
4. Make sure that half of your plate is veggies
This rule should be enforced at EVERY meal. If you look at the dishes in Asia, half of the plate consists of rice or noodles, then meat or fish. If you are lucky, a tiny portion consists of veggies. You must turn the proportions around! Make half of your plate veggies, one quarter carbs like rice and the other quarter protein like fish. You will get more nutrients, minimise your calorie intake and still feel full.
5. Document each meal
We often eat more than we think we do. Pleasant conversations, phone texting and watching TV all distract us from knowing what we are actually eating. Start taking pictures of every meal and then review them in the evening. I receive dozens of pictures from friends and clients every day and it’s amazing to see how the meals change over time.
If you do this you may notice that you also eat when you’re not even hungry. We often do this just because it is the time to eat (e.g lunchtime) or we are bored or stressed - I am guilty of this too! In these situations, it's important to take a step back and reflect - am I really hungry or only “mouth hungry?”
6. Chew 20 times, minimum
I once counted how many times the person who was sitting opposite me chewed each mouthful of food. If I was lucky, I counted up to 10 times, but for the most part, they only chewed seven times before swallowing. The number of times that you chew may seem trivial, but it actually affects your digestion (the digestion of carbs starts in your mouth by breaking them down with enzymes) and makes you eat much more than you actually need.
7. Drink water
You should be drinking one litre of water per 25 kilograms of your bodyweight. This will not only help you to normalise digestion and hydrate your system, but it will also help you to lose weight. Drinking enough water each day makes you feel full, flushes toxins out of your system and helps you digest food better.
As I always recommend, start with one step at a time. Instead of trying to change everything overnight, tackle each point, see how you go and then move on to the next one. Given that your brain can only focus on around seven goals at the same time, choose one or two health goals to focus on each week as you will have other goals to work on in terms of work or family too!