By: Matt Weik
When someone mentions that they are trying to lose weight and drop body fat, what do they generally tell you is their strategy? More than likely it’s that they’re watching what they eat and exercising. Both are vital pieces to accomplishing such a task but there are a few things that are just as important when it comes to weight loss and your results.
Below, I have three powerful weight loss tips that have nothing to do with exercise but can either help or hinder your weight loss progress. Once you wrap your arms around these tips, you may find your weight loss progress improves.
Wouldn't it be great if we could simply eliminate stress? I mean, stress sucks, right? It's something we all encounter pretty much on a daily basis. We have physical stress that we put our bodies through with daily tasks and exercise. We have mental stress from long workdays and burning the midnight oil trying to button up projects. We have emotional stress that can come from personal issues with friends and family weighing heavily on your shoulders. Stress is all around us and can hinder your weight loss.
Find ways to better manage your stress. This can be putting aside 30 minutes every day to focus on breathing and relaxing. It could be going in a spa or hot tub at night to ease your mind and body. Curling up in bed and reading for 30 minutes before calling it a night. Maybe it’s an intense workout where you can take out your frustrations on the weights, instead of your boss (I saw that smirk on your face, I won’t tell).
The issue with stress, when it comes to weight loss, is that increased levels of stress release a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol, when elevated, can cause your body to hold onto body fat and store it. It can also cause your appetite to increase which can lead to overconsumption of calories – and we all know what that leads to.
Stress can also put even the happiest person in a bad mood. When your mood shifts, it can zap your energy levels and park your butt on the couch rather than staying active and mobile. Stress and being in a bad mood can cause your weight loss to pump the brakes.
Figure out a way that best suits you when it comes to better managing your stress so that the effort you put into your weight loss will not leave you spinning your wheels and causing you to get frustrated.
The key to weight loss is consistency. And the best way to remain consistent is by establishing healthy habits and behaviors. If you follow your diet for two days but then fall off the wagon for the rest of the week, how do you expect to hit your weight loss goal?
For habits to be formed, you need to make them a priority, focus on adhering to them, and through being consistent, they'll become second nature to you and you won't even need to think about them anymore.
Let’s use exercise and your workout as an example. If you wake up every morning at 5am so that you can hit a workout (whether it be at home or at the gym), the first few days or even weeks will absolutely suck – there’s no getting around it because you aren’t used to that habit or behavior. After a few weeks, you’ll wake up and go work out without even thinking about it. It’s a new habit and behavior which can lead to better weight loss.
What I would recommend is looking at your current lifestyle. I’m not saying to put your entire life under a microscope and change every little detail all at once. Rather, I would recommend choosing one area to change and work on that until you’ve established the healthier behavior as a habit that runs on autopilot without you needing to put your focus on it. Then, once that is a consistent healthy habit and behavior, choose the next area to focus on and tackle that.
In making these changes, you may notice that your weight loss goal is getting closer and closer the more you make improvements to your habits.
They say you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been and the same rings true for your weight loss progress. If you aren’t constantly seeing how your weight loss has been trending over time and your results, how do you know you’re on track? You don’t.
Now, I don’t want you to obsess over the numbers which can increase your stress and send cortisol through the roof, but rather hold yourself accountable for a weekly weigh-in. Hop on the scale the same day each week and around the same time – such as first thing upon waking on Sunday morning. Write down your weight or put it in a weight loss app on your phone.
If you are able to do your body fat on the scale, you can record that number as well. If not, I recommend getting your body fat checked every few weeks to ensure you are losing body fat and not lean muscle mass during your weight loss journey. You can get your body fat tested at your gym by one of the trainers, purchase a body fat analyzer online, pick up a scale that also calculates body fat, or get some calipers and have a family member do a skinfold test on you.
By checking your progress, it can keep you accountable and allow you to see if you’re still progressing and getting closer to your weight loss goal. If you are, continue down the same path you’ve been taking. If you find your weight loss has stalled, make some more changes whether it be to your nutrition or your workouts.
With all that being said, it’s hard to see any results in the mirror as you see yourself every day and when there are small changes over time, it’s not a fast-enough transformation that it would stick out to you. However, friends and family may notice and if you are taking progress pictures or measuring your progress like mentioned above, you’ll have physical numbers on paper that you’ll be able to see the changes. Additionally, you should notice as you progress with your weight loss, your clothing will become looser as well.
Author Bio:Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured all over the globe as well as having published numerous books. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Find out more at www.weikfitness.com or on social media @weikfitness.