When it comes to losing weight, we are always told to first improve our diets and exercise more. But there are countless other ways that can aid in our weight loss journeys and life long health that have nothing to do with what we eat or buying a gym membership.
Here are four lifestyle interventions that have helped me (and my clients) lose weight, have more energy and achieve optimal health and well-being.
Add More Activity To Your Day
Getting to the gym for workouts is not always realistic for some people – the good news is that traditional exercise is not the only way to live an active lifestyle.
There are all sorts of ways to add activity to your day. Walking, gardening, cycling and mowing the lawn all can contribute to a reduction in body fat and a healthier lifestyle.
Other alternatives include getting off the train or bus one stop early and walking to your final destination, playing outdoor games with the kids, walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
I always recommend that my clients choose activities that they enjoy, rather than those they think they’re ‘supposed to’ be doing.
Sleep Enough But Not Too Much
Getting adequate sleep is crucial to losing weight and staying healthy.
But new research has also found that sleeping too much can lead to weight gain – perhaps even more than not sleeping enough.
So what’s the ideal time? According to the study, any less than seven hours per night is not enough… but any more than nine hours is too much.
Getting adequate sleep is important for many reasons – when we are well rested, we actually make better food choices. But did you also know that adequate sleep is important because it reduces the production of cortisol hormone, which inhibits fat loss?
Manage Your Stress
Stress also increases cortisol levels, and excess cortisol levels affect other hormones, metabolism, brain function, deplete the immune system and inhibit fat loss.
There are many ways to help you manage your stress and keep cortisol levels in check.
Easy ways to alleviate everyday stress include meditation (even 10 minutes a day of deep breathing without distraction has been shown to help!), yoga, Reiki and exercise.
Mindfulness is also something that can help you to become more aware of any triggers that are causing your stress. Becoming more self-aware of your thoughts and actions will greatly affect your ability to cope with stress, leading to improved well-being.
While many prefer to watch TV or scroll through their e-mails while eating, this can lead to consuming more calories.
This is because you are not focusing on what or how you are eating, and the tendency is to over-eat. This is tied to the fact that it takes 20 minutes for the message to get from your stomach to your brain that you had enough to eat.
One study found that people who were distracted during their meal actually ate 10 per cent more at the time and ended up eating more calories later on in the day as well.
So there you have my four lifestyle interventions. Which one might you implement this week? Remember, it’s small steps that lead to BIG changes 🙂