Although your health and fitness goals may be forefront in your mind, the path to achieving them isn’t always clear cut. As a figure competitor, personal trainer and nutrition coach, I’ve made it my mission to help women improve their body composition through a non-dieting approach that includes plenty of healthy foods, exercise and a positive mindset. From my experience, I’ve learned there are many reasons why we engage in behaviours that go against our goals.
To help you get back on track, I give you five proven strategies to that will end yo-yo dieting for good!
1. Stick it out
When you decide you want to lose weight, gain muscle or improve your health, it’s important to find an approach and stick with it. Most calorie-restricted diets work; however, the trick is to find one that you are able to stick to long-term — whether it’s low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free, wheat-free, vegetarian, vegan or simply more nutrient dense and portion-controlled. Oftentimes, we don’t see results fast enough, so we throw in the towel long before our body has the chance to progress. I recommend sticking to a new plan for at least eight weeks. According to this study, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
2. Pay more attention to nutrients than calories
Foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients typically do not satisfy. When you eat nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to function optimally. Plus, you will feel much more satisfied. Aim to add fruits and vegetables to most meals. I recommend one to two fists of veggies and/or fruits. If you are trying to lose weight, include more veggies than fruits (3:1 ratio). However, if you have difficulty getting in the recommended amount, be sure to add in a Greens supplement.
3. Cut back on cardio and lift more weights
By increasing lean muscle mass, you speed up your metabolism. Since muscle requires energy to sustain itself, you are more likely to burn more calories at rest. Aim to do at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day, while incorporating resistance training three days per week.
4. Believe in “you”
When you start something brand new, your mind will tell you all sorts of things. The key is to focus on your goals and the reason “why” you want to achieve them in the first place. Oftentimes we give up because we simply don’t “believe” we can get there, or perhaps we feel we don’t deserve it. Mindset is everything. Always focus on the positive; such as how far you’ve come on your journey. You can improve your mindset by reading personal development books, meditating, practicing yoga and by surrounding yourself with those who inspire you to be better.
5. Prep meals ahead of time
We all lead very busy lives when it comes to work, family and social commitments. This means many of us rely on fast food for fuel. Unfortunately meals out of the house are typically higher in calories, sugar, sodium, preservatives and unhealthy fats. Instead, we recommend preparing your meals ahead of time. Studies suggest that “eating in” is healthier for you. Personally, I keep meal replacement shakes and bars with me at all times to prevent me from getting stuck without a healthy alternative. Let’s face it — there are going to be days when you aren’t prepared. In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is allow your hunger to get out of control as this often leads to binge eating.
Need a hand when it comes to determining what to eat or how to exercise? Check out my programs at www.laurajacksonfitness.com
Also, make sure to download a free copy of My Flat Tummy Secrets