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How to Lose Weight Without Supplements

The holiday season can be a stressful time for those us us trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. It may be tempting to turn to supplements – especially when beautiful women on Instagram and Facebook convince us it can be easy and worth every penny to at least try them, right? Though we know very little about whether weight loss supplements are safe and effective, it is possible to lose a bit of "extra fluff" without relying on social media's magic potions. It can also be easier than you think by working some of these simple tips into your daily routine!

Woman standing on a scale

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) reports that 21% of women have used weight loss supplements in an attempt to change the numbers they see when they step on the scale.

Drink water

This tip is a no-brainer and one you already know! Hunger is often confused with dehydration. Next time you feel like a snack, have a glass of water instead. Even mild dehydration can alter your body's metabolism, so aim to drink eight glasses a day and limit soda, caffeine, and alcohol. We know that drinking water before meals promotes weight loss. Studies show people who drink two glasses of water before meals feeler fuller and eat less. Try it before your next meal!

Eat carbs (real carbs!)

Replace refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bagels, cereal, and pretzels with complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which slows digestion and promotes stable blood sugar levels. They are full of antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation in the body. We should always choose whole-grain carbohydrates over refined varieties. Eat them as you would find them in nature- bread made from wheat that's milled, brown rice simply taken straight from the plant-complete with fiber and phytonutrients the way Mother Nature Intended.

Choose healthy fats

A common misconception is that we should eliminate all fats. In reality, we couldn't live without fat. The body utilizes dietary fat for energy, hair, skin and nail health, vitamin absorption, and every single function. Good fats protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and depression, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Choose nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. Healthy fats consumed during meals can also help you feel more satisfied.

Emphasize lean protein

Our bodies require protein for cell growth and renewal, blood sugar stabilization, and energy. We're made out of the amino acids that make up protein. Many foods contain protein, but the richest sources are animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, fish, and plant sources like beans, nuts, and seeds. When choosing animal protein sources, be conscious of how the animal was raised and what it ate. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are healthier and more ethically-sound choices than feedlot meats. Organic yogurt and cage-free eggs are great for vegetarians, while tofu, tempeh, and peanut butter are good vegan protein sources. (Wander over to the "Stuff I Love" on my site to see my absolute favorite coconut peanut butter made from only two ingredients; peanuts and coconut-YUM!)

Eat breakfast

By eating a hearty breakfast, you'll jumpstart your metabolism and reduce cravings. When we skip breakfast, by mid-morning, we're hungry and more likely to overeat. Studies repeatedly show eating breakfast is associated with maintaining a healthy weight. If you're not ready for breakfast first thing in the morning, listen to your body and eat as soon as you can.

Eat more frequently

It's crucial to eat frequently throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels and decrease the chance of getting too hungry and binging. Try to keep track of your meal choices and balance your caloric intake. Feeding your body regularly lets it know food is available, and it's okay to burn energy rather than conserve and store it as fat.

Work your body & mind

Exercise leads to decreased bodyweight, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate, healthy blood pressure, and improved mood. Aim to be active at least 30 minutes every day to help keep your body healthy and lean. It doesn't have to be expensive- any movement is better than none. If you're already maintaining an exercise routine, you can even add some additional calorie-burning activities to your practice. Examples would be taking the stairs whenever possible instead of an elevator, adding a daily walk, or jog to your routine. Even playing in the park or gardening will help you keep your body healthy. The important thing is to keep moving and consider choosing activities that keep you moving in your free time. It's just as essential to keep your mind active. Boost brainpower by adopting a positive mindset, praying, meditating, reading, doing Sudoku, or other games/activities that engage your brain.

Get proper sleep

Research suggests that those who sleep five hours or less weigh five pounds or more than those getting at least seven hours of shut-eye per night. Over time, weight gain can increase more rapidly in those who get five hours of sleep than those getting seven hours. Lack of sleep disrupts circadian rhythms and can lead to fatigue, low metabolism, and an overactive appetite. Abnormal leptin and ghrelin levels- hormones that tell your body "I'm full, stop eating"- can go awry with too little sleep. So sleep more, eat and weigh less! Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Learn to cook

Cooking meals at home allows you to control portion sizes and quality of ingredients, and it cuts your intake of sodium, fat, and calories. Avoid frying foods by learning to roast or bake, and eat more raw foods to boost flavor and cut calories. Use herbs and spices to reduce salt intake. An easy habit of controlling portion sizes, start serving your meals on your salad plates instead of your dinner plates, which are huge these days!

Keep track of what you eat

Be a food detective, and investigate what you choose to put into your body. Check labels, and avoid ingredients like sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and chemical elements that are hard to pronounce. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended- whole and unprocessed. When was the last time you saw an ingredient list on a stalk of broccoli or fresh filet of salmon?



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