7 Ways to Speed Up Weight Loss
It truly astonishes me that losing weight is still a mystery and a struggle for many. Apparently the ‘eating less’ model is either impossible, incorrect, or incomplete, because if it were that easy, it would be that easy! The truth is, weight loss is complex and multi-layered. Of course food intake plays a major role in your weight, however there are many tricks of the trade you can apply in order to quicken the process. Here are some simple techniques you can add to every day to increase your ability to create a body that you can live comfortably in.
7. Abdominal Massage
I was once asked by a client, ‘If you can tell me the most important thing I can do to lose weight, what is it?’ My response was, ‘Rub your belly!’ Self-abdominal massage supports digestion, which supports healthy weight. Begin below your navel. Use your fingers or a fist. Lay down or sit upright. In a clockwise motion, begin massaging into your lower belly with medium to firm pressure, and then continue in a circular motion… above the navel and back down and around again. This pathway follows the digestive circuit and assists in nutrient absorption and elimination of waste which leads to weight loss and better health overall. Make sure to do this on an empty stomach, otherwise apply a lighter pressure if performing directly after eating.
6. Eat More
Yep, you heard me. Eat more… more of the good stuff. By good stuff, I’m referring to vegetables, and more specifically, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables. Some examples include: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, cabbage, and Swiss chard. Yes, your doctor was right: Eat your fruits and veggies. But why? If we as consumers are not educated, it is often difficult to sustain healthy habits. During my professional training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was exposed to the ‘crowding out’ theory. By adding in healthier and more detoxifying foods, we will naturally ‘crowd out’ the junk, as well as unhealthy cravings. Healthy foods, especially vegetables, have specific functions in the body, one of the most crucial being detoxification of waste, which leads to weight loss. Currently, the modern American diet is comprised of approximately 5% green leafy veggies. We should be consuming at least 85% of our overall diet in veggies for optimal functioning. Tip: Ask for a side of vegetables when dining out (even if it’s not listed on the menu), or cook more vegetables for dinner and less of the meat and grains. They are very filling.
I know you’re already breathing, or at least I hope so if you’re reading this. Breathing practices are not limited to the meditation cushion or the yoga mat. Increasing the depth and slowing the pace of your breath can make you feel more full. Oxygen is the number one nutrient needed by your cells, which is one of the reasons vegetables are so healthy because they contain huge amounts of water, which is filled with oxygen (yay good old chemistry class came in handy. H2o to the rescue). Oxygen is everything. You cannot survive without it. It is food. Only you can control the amount you give yourself. Breathe deeply, and breathe into your belly. Put one hand on your lower belly and feel the beginning of your inhale move way down into your lower abdomen. Continue breathing in until you feel your entire diaphragm fill up. Then exhale completely. Make it slow. Exhalations are a powerful form of detoxification. Subtle, yet not so subtle. Pay attention.
4. Exercise Less
Before you stop reading, let me explain… Ok, so I used to be a cardio-a-holic. Seriously. If I didn’t do cardio for at least an hour a day, I thought the world was going to cave in on me and I would become Godzilla. First off, my journey began with a truly unhealthy relationship with my body. I subjected myself to insane amounts of stressful workouts that left me exhausted and starving. I was left with all sorts of cravings, especially for unhealthy foods. This lifestyle was impossible to sustain. To my surprise, after leaving heavy workouts behind, I lost weight and my entire digestive system improved. I am only speaking from my own experience. Each of us has a different body, and depending on where you are on your journey you may need more or less exercise. But my point is, find exercise that is balanced for you… for your body. All bodies are made to move, not to sit and eat all day. That’s a fact, or you wouldn’t have legs and a spine. Explore fitness routines that challenge you but do not raise cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes our bodies to hold on to extra weight, and yes, cortisol can be produced during a workout if you are not mindful. Deep breathing comes in handy here too! No huffing and puffing!
3. Call a Friend
Eating is much much MUCH more than just fueling our bodies. We are not gas tanks. Eating is an entire experience. Eating enlivens our senses. The textures, tastes, eating environment, all of it… create an orchestra that makes the human experience more pleasurable. It releases hormones into our bloodstream that make us feel good. This is all wonderful news. However, if we mistake food for our best friend, we may find ourselves using food as a protective layer or even as a numbing agent. The same chemicals (such as oxytocin and serotonin) are released into the bloodstream when you are happy with another person. Hugging does it. Even a good chat. Nutrition comes in many forms, and relationships of all kinds can either be supportive or toxic to our system. Instead of eating a bag of chips when you are stressed out, call a friend. It has less calories, and you’ll feel better after.
2. Hug a Tree
If you want less hips, become a hippie. For real. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I ever got to where I am. I literally crave trees. Ridiculous. And no, I’m not talking about marijuana. I am talking about those things in the ground. All over. Everywhere. The more I am in touch with nature, the less I experience cravings for food. Nature feeds me. We are all part of nature, despite the clever construction of convenient cities and amenities of the sort. When I am around trees, I feel rooted, strong, and light. I feel more full… a type of fullness that, no matter how much food I eat, can only be offered by Mother Nature herself. Make nature a priority. Hike, bike, travel, take a walk outdoors, anything. A little bit goes a long way. Your waist will thank you.
1. Get Naked
I know what you’re thinking… actually, I don’t. But regardless, if you want to lose weight, get naked. Stop ignoring yourself! Take a good look at you. Be kind to yourself despite what your mind may initially experience. Address each of your body parts with love, appreciation, and acceptance. If we do not love and accept ourselves as we are, there is virtually no possibility to achieve our personal goals. If we are in a constant battle with ourselves, there can and will be no winner. Your transformation starts now.