About this time of year, many of my athletes come into my office asking about dropping weight. Whether it is for health, performance or vanity reasons, a request to drop 5-15 pounds is common. Perhaps with the snow thawing and weather warming, your overall health and/or summer races are on your mind too. One thing I emphasize with my athletes is that weight loss is not easy. It takes commitment every day and throughout the day. However, there many tricks with respect to eating and exercising that will increase your chance of success.
Methods of Eating
1. Eat slowly. Commit to at least 10 minutes for a snack and 20 minutes for a meal (minimum). Chew your food thoroughly. Put the fork down and drink water between bites.
2. Eat with someone. Enjoy conversation; this will naturally slow your eating pace.
3. Cut food into small pieces. This creates the allusion of a greater volume of food, as well as - again- slows your eating pace.
4. When it is time to eat....just eat. Don't watch TV or work on the computer. Focus on the food. Avoid eating in the car or at your desk.
5. Relax and enjoy the meal. Try to clear your mind of the stresses of the day. Stress triggers a release of cortisol in the body, which leads to fat storage in the body.
6. Eat only until pleasantly satisfied. Again- that mindful theme is showing up. If you slow your eating pace, it is much easier to notice when you are satisfied vs. stuffed.
7. Eat frequently. Don't let yourself get too hungry or too full. Throughout the day, be mindful of hunger signals other than stomach growling: headaches, fatigue, and loss of concentration, for example.
1. Decrease the amount of time spent being sedentary...especially at work, where it is easy to sit for 3-4 hours at a time (or longer). Take breaks and get up and walk - even if just for a few minutes.
2. Increase the amount of non-exercise activity. Remember the mantra "take the stairs?" The more you can increase energy expenditure in little ways like this, the higher your total calorie burn at the end of the day.
3. Do exercise snacks. This relates to number one. Exercise snacks are brief, 10-minute sessions of exercise, such as a walk. Use your morning and afternoon breaks to walk laps around your work building instead of visiting the office kitchen or vending machine.
4. Get involved in physical activity with others. Being active with others is not only more fun, but also keeps you accountable. Find a league, team or club.
5. Avoid sedentary night routines. You come home from work, sit down for dinner and then watch TV on the couch for the next 3 hours. Sound familiar? How about walking in place, doing jumping jacks or jump roping during commercials? It's the little steps that add up to big benefits.
6. Start a regular exercise program. Until you start it, it will never be part of your routine. First sit down and plan your workouts for each day. Then put that plan into action.
7. Schedule exercise as an appointment. Do you use the calendar in Outlook or on your phone? Make an appointment with yourself to be active; be sure you have a "no cancellation" policy.