It’s that time of year again where New Years goals start slipping and old habits start showing their ugly little faces again. It is said that creating a new habit takes about 21-28 days. However, most quit before they reach that mark. Creating a new habit can get harder before it gets easier. That is why sticking it out is so important to long term success.
Weight loss and health improvement is the number one resolution people make at the beginning of every year yet according to the CDC.gov, 36.5% of the American population remain overweight or obese.
How is this happening?
Maybe it is because some do not see results quick enough to boost motivation. Or pehaps figuring out exactly what to do is challenging. Or maybe they lack the motivation and support needed to succeed.
Whatever the reason, I can almost assure you that more often than not, it is because we are overcomplicating the whole process.
If something is too complicated, the chances of sticking to it are slim.
Losing weight and getting in shape is not easy. It sucks sometimes. Finding time, energy and motivation is hard enough. Tack on not knowing what to do or where to start and you’re likely to give up before you have even started.
Deciphering fact from fluff is nearly impossible. However, in all honestly and from personal experience, it does not really matter what weight loss and fitness program you pick.
Why? Because if one is not working or fitting your lifestyle, there are plenty of other options out there to try! What matters most is staying consistent.
We all want the easiest method with the quickest results. There is nothing wrong with losing weight quickly as long as adhering to the program is safe and realistic. (Living on juices is not safe or realistic!)
No matter which method you choose to lose weight or get in better shape, there a few things that you can do to speed up your results and save some time and effort.
4 Weight Loss Hacks to Save Time and Effort without Sabotaging Results
Some of these tips go against the grain of what we have been told for years when it comes to losing weight. However, the information I share is not only based on extensive research but also personal experience.
#1- Consider Skipping Breakfast
Yup, I said it. Shocked? Before you think I’ve lost my mind for suggesting such blasphemy, hear me out.
There has been a lot of discussion and research lately about the health benefits of intermittent fasting including anti aging, better mental clarity, improved insulin levels and improved energy. Just to name a few.
Intermittent Fasting basically means intentionally skipping meals for a specific amount of time. There are several ways this can be done. Generally, you consume your calories in a specific window of time and then refrain from eating for a longer window of time.
The first thing you are probably thinking is, “wont this decrease my metabolism?”
Quick answer, no. Longer answer, check here.
Let’s think for a second, what does “breakfast” truly mean?
It literally means “Breaking a Fast”. When you sleep, your body is fasting. During this time, cells are regenerating and your body is repairing itself.
There is nothing wrong with prolonging this fast after you wake up in the morning.
So why does skipping breakfast have a bad reputation?
It is theorized that skipping breakfast can lead to overconsumption later in the day and also decreases metabolism.
I have had many clients say, “I didnt want to hurt my metabolism by skipping breakfast so I ran to starbucks and got a 400 calorie bagel with cream cheese and a Non Fat Grande White Mocha with whipped cream.”
YIKES, I would rather them have skipped breakfast.
This meal is not going to help boost your metabolism enough to burn the excess amount of calories you just consumed.
Also, Ingesting excessive carbohydrates and sugar first thing in the morning is just as likely to cause overconsumption later in the day because of how quickly our bodies break down these nutrients.
Eating in the morning has less to do with “boosting metabolism” and more to do with preventing you from becoming famished and overeating later in the day.
If eating breakfast is challenging for you, then stop stressing about it. You are not dooming your metabolism or sabotaging weight loss goals.
What matters most is being more mindful of WHAT you are eating and not, WHEN.
#2- Stop Forcing Six Meals a Day
Next, stop focusing so much on eating frequency and start focusing more on what you are consuming.
“Quit eating breakfast.”…“Dont eat six meals a day”. You’re probably wondering what stupid suggestion I am going to make next. That’s why you should keep reading. There is a method to my madness, I promise. My goal is to help show you how to save time and energy in reaching your weight loss and fitness goals.
This is a very touchy subject with a lot of debate surrounding the topic. But hear me out.
EVERY SINGLE weight loss program emphasises the importance of eating six meals as the Holy Grail of weight loss.
However, there has been emerging research to show that what you eat matters more than when you eat. Starvation mode or decreased metabolism does not happen from skipping a couple meals. It is the result of long term calorie restriction.
Often times, I find that clients skip a meal and then feel like they have to make up for lost calories later in the day or at the next meal.
Overconsumption and making up for lost calories is the most probably cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight, NOT SKIPPING MEALS.
Put another way, you are not sabotaging your weight loss goals by eating less frequent meals. Consuming excess calories is the most likely culprit.
In all honesty, I despise meal planning. I do it because I know it has to be done in order to stay on track with my health and fitness goals. However preparing and consuming six meals a day is exhausting. The less I have to think about eating, the better.
I used to be that trainer who preached the, “six meals a day to keep your metabolism blazing” mantra. This is what I was taught.
However, this is only ONE way to space your meals and lose weight. NOT the only way. I will say that eating more frequently during the day does offer its own set of benefits. However, you can still reach your goals if this method does not fit into your lifestyle.
My point of this is not compare what is right or wrong. It is to shed some positive light on the fact that skipping meals alone is not preventing you from losing weight.
Here are some other reasons eating so frequently does not work for me: (You can find out more here. I dig in a little further) But for now:
- It creates a habit of eating every 2-3 hours even if I’m not hungry or I’m still full from my last meal.
- The meals are typically small and unsatisfying due to the distribution of calories per meal. Waiting until my next meal seems like eternity and I never feel satisfied. Which brings me to my next point….
- It forces me to constantly think about food
- If I forget a meal on the go, I feel obligated to find something to eat in order to keep my “metabolism burning” so my body doesnt go into “starvation mode” and cause me to store fat. (It takes a long time for our bodies to enter starvation mode)
- Thinking of six meals a day to eat is exhausting, time consuming and frankly, annoying.
- I am a busy mom and wife who does not have time, energy or even motivation to think about so many meals during day.
Therefore, if it is possible to reach your goals with less stress and focus on eating so frequently, go ahead and stop forcing yourself to eat every couple hours.
However, if skipping meals sets you up for failure by causing overconsumption later, then stick to what works for you.
Between meal frequency and eating or skipping breakfast, overconsumption will lead to weight gain more than timing your meals perfectly.
#3- Workout Harder, Not Longer
These days, I am lucky to get four workouts in a week.
It seems like I hear so many women frustrated that they can never get their workouts in. I am definitely one of them.
But something pretty remarkable happened when I stopped stressing about how many workouts I was going to squeeze in a week.
I started enjoying exercise more and was seeing BETTER RESULTS.
Why? Because I had to make every. single. workout count.
I don’t have time to mess around. My goal is always to get as much done as possible, as quickly as possible. Doing so automatically increases my intensity which increases results.
This brings me to High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.
HIIT is BY FAR the best way to burn fat while helping to build muscle simultaneously.
The greater the intensity of your workouts, the more calories your body burns AFTER the workout is over. Your body requires a certain amount of oxygen following to help the muscle repair and restore itself back to normal, metabolic functioning. The harder the workout, the more energy (calories) it takes to help return to normal.
This means you can be burning more calories while resting. Pretty cool, right? I would much rather be burning calories while sitting on the floor playing with my babies than doing something I dread like spending an hour in the “fat burning zone” on the treadmill.
So, if you are struggling to find time to workout, remember that results are not necessarily based on how much you workout but more importantly, how intense and intentional your workouts are.
#4- Stop Counting Calories Daily
Thinking in terms of weekly calorie consumption matters more than daily calories. We all exceed our daily calories one or two days of the week. This is not going to make or break your goals.
Its the total number of calories under or over what our bodies burn throughout an extended period of time that causes fluctuations in weight.
So, if you go over your daily caloric goals one day, reduce calories by skipping a meal or cutting portion sizes the next to stay on track.
And remember, if you under eat a couple days, you DO NOT need to make up for lost calories. As long as you are not intentionally starving yourself, it is okay to skip meals.
Often times it seems people feel obligated or allowed to eat extra if they miss a meal. Instead, skip it and forget it!
In conclusion, my goal is to help you feel more relaxed in your health and fitness journey. Fitness and weight loss is not a one size fits all thing so these options may not be for you. However, being aware of other options that can help you reach your goals is far more encouraging than following things you don’t enjoy or do not fit into your lifestyle.
And remember, when one thing isn’t working, DO NOT GIVE UP! Instead, find something that does!
PLEASE NOTE: Following and/or participating in any exercises, workouts, or following any tips or advice is solely your discretion. I strongly recommend speaking with your healthcare provider before following any workouts or tips that I provide. I am not a healthcare professional. The information I provide is based on my own personal education and experiences. I obtain a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist. However, I am not an expert in physical therapy.
What is your experience with eating frequency, skipping breakfast and workout intensity? I would love to hear from you!!
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