1 – Drink Water
Water is incredibly important to your body and has its hand in almost every action your body takes to stay alive. It helps transport nutrients, aids digestion, helps regulate body temperature, cushions your joints, and allows your organs to do their jobs efficiently.
Your kidney’s and liver are the organs responsible for removing waste and toxins from your body, but they require water to do this. The liver also has the important role of breaking down adipose tissue (ie. fatty acids) to be used as fuel. When you experience even slight dehydration, your kidney’s perform their duties at a slower rate, and the liver is forced to pick up the slack. Between working overtime removing waste and toxins, the liver doesn’t have the resources left to efficiently metabolize fats. Give your body a break and allow your kidney’s and liver to function at their best by drinking more water. It is recommended to have between 8 – 12 glasses of water per day.
Are you dehydrated? If you feel thirsty your body is telling you it is either already or becoming dehydrated. You can also check out the colour of your urine. If it is pale yellow or clear – you’re hydrated. If its dark yellow, you likely need to increase your water intake.
2 – Eat Protein
This macronutrient has many critical roles in our body and when it comes to fat loss, protein is the queen of macronutrients. First, protein has the highest thermic effect of feeding out of all foods. Thermic effect of feeding is a fancy way of describing how many calories your body burns while digesting any given food. All food needs to burn some calories to be digested, but protein requires the most, giving you a metabolic advantage.
Second, protein has one of the highest perceived satiety of all foods. It is continually found to be the most filling per calorie when compared to both fats and carbohydrates. This means that after eating protein you will feel full and will be less likely to crave something sweet or salty.
Finally, protein is the only macronutrient that can build and maintain metabolically active tissue (ie. muscle). Your body burns a lot of extra calories maintaining and building this tissue. So, the more muscle and lean body tissue you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. Feed your muscles, strengthen them and you will literally burn calories as you sleep.
High-Protein Foods: Chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, tuna, shrimp, greek yogurt, protein powder, cottage cheese.
3 – Eat Vegetables and Fruits
Not only do they supply your body with the antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients it needs to thrive, they are essential to fat loss. Whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables help to preserve metabolically active tissue (ie. bone and muscle), contain a lot of water, are high in fiber, and are low calorie. This means that you can eat high volumes of fruits and vegetables and fill your stomach, all for a low-calorie content.
1 Cup of Watermelon has 47 calories | 1 Cup of Carrots has 52 calories | 1 Cucumber has 47 calories.
4 – Lower Your Cortisol Levels
Stress can make or break your health goals. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is essential to life and good health, but just as with most things, too much cortisol can produce negative outcomes.
It is normal and healthy to have spikes in your cortisol levels to assist your body in metabolizing stored fat. This spike is often experienced after exercise and helps your body direct fuel to your brain, muscles, and organs. The problem occurs when your cortisol levels stay too high, for too long.
Having chronically high cortisol levels don’t directly cause weight gain, but the associated factors certainly make it easier for you to gain weight. This stress hormone can force you into a catabolic state (ie. loss of muscle tissue), which produces a decline in bone health and a reduced metabolic rate. Additionally, the hormone ghrelin increases with high levels of cortisol, stimulating your appetite, hunger, and cravings. Cortisol also alters blood glucose levels, which can inhibit fat loss.
How to Manage Stress: You don’t need to make huge changes to get big results. The best way for your body to recover is through sleep. Go to be earlier and aim for 7 – 9 hours of restful sleep each night. This will allow your body to relax, repair, and decrease cortisol levels. Additionally, adding exercise (low – moderate intensity), reducing alcohol intake, and eliminating smoking have all been linked to healthy cortisol levels.