The easiest and most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to focus on what you’re eating instead of how much you’re eating. Ditch the fad diets and calorie counting. A restrictive dietary approach decreases your metabolism, prevents your body from burning fat and creates an unhealthy relationship with food.
Fat burning starts with hormones and hormones are most affected by the types of foods you eat, not the amount of calories you consume. By eating better quality, more nutrient-dense foods, you’ll feel better, enjoy food more, support blood sugar levels and lose weight faster. In other words, eat to make your hormones happy and your body will reap the rewards.
The big question is, “what foods make hormones happy?” The first step to happy hormones is to start with a healthy nutrition foundation by choosing natural, whole foods over man-made, processed products. Find healthier alternatives when you can or plan it as your weekly “cheat” meal when you can’t. In addition, here are 10 tips that support hormone balance and boost fat burning.
1. Eat More Mindfully
When you improve how you eat, you’ll naturally improve what you eat. Start by creating a relaxing mealtime ritual. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and giving thanks for what’s on your plate. Next, slow down, engage your sense, take smaller bites and chew each bite at least 20 times before swallowing. This will greatly improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption and help you feel full faster.
2. Stay Hydrated With Water
All of your body’s chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. Stay hydrated by starting each morning with a large glass of water and pack a bottle to refill throughout the day. Add lemon wedges, sliced cucumber, fresh mint or frozen berries for variety.
3. Choose Whole Foods
Choose natural, whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (cookies and pasta). Whole foods naturally contain more nutrients including fiber that help lower the glycemic load (GL) of a meal to prevent an insulin spike. In general, the less refined a food is the more nutrients it contains.
4. Read Food Labels
Make it a habit to always read food labels. Look for minimal ingredients. Avoid labels with refined sugars, flour, words you can’t pronounce, and anything listed as “low-fat,” “fat-free,” or “sugar-free.” Aim for less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
5. Swap Your Salt
Replace table salt with a high quality, unrefined sea salt, such as Celtic or Himalayan. Unrefined sea salt has the opposite effect of table salt, helping to reduce fluid retention, increase hydration, balance electrolytes, nourish the adrenals and support the nervous system.
6. Plan Balanced Meals
Skipping meals or restricting calories can result in overeating and poor food choices. Instead, eat 3 balanced meals and 1-2 snacks that focus on quality protein, natural fats, and non-starchy veggies. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels so you can maintain consistent energy throughout the day. Plan your meals and pack your snacks ahead of time so you don’t end up “starving” with lots of unhealthy temptations.
7. Start With Protein
Enjoy plenty of high-quality protein at the beginning of each meal, especially breakfast as this sets the tone for healthy choices the rest of the day. Protein promotes fat burning, reduces cravings, and provides high satiation. Protein-packed morning meal ideas include a protein shake, eggs with nitrate-free bacon and veggies, yogurt medley, cottage cheese or hard-cooked eggs with avocado.
8. Sweeten With Success
Avoid artificial sweeteners and refined sugars by choosing healthier sweeteners that help stabilize blood sugar levels, such as cinnamon and stevia. Cinnamon, a naturally sweet spice, can actually slow the rate carbs are digested by 29 percent! Stevia, a naturally sweet herb, contains zero sugar, calories or toxic ingredients and has zero effect on blood sugar levels.
9. Learn to “Lemonize”
Add freshly squeezed lemon to water, tea, salads, chicken, fish, and vegetables for extra flavor. Lemons pack in health benefits by supporting weight loss, improving digestion, balancing pH, aiding detoxification, and providing a decent amount of vitamin C and potassium.
10. Select Greens Over Grains
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Eating more vegetables is a great way to increase fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants into your daily diet. Include more veggies by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for pasta, wraps, and rolls.
11. Befriend Natural Fats
Natural fats are your best friend for fat loss as they have zero effect on blood glucose levels. Fats also add flavor, decrease sugar cravings, promote satiation and increase nutrient absorption. Fats lower the glycemic load of any type of carb, meaning the sugar from that food enters the blood at a much slower rate. The lower the glycemic load, the better. Figure-friendly fats include avocado, coconut oil, walnuts, etc.
12. Favor Fruit For Dessert
Naturally sweet and packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber, fruit helps reduce inflammation, curb cravings, and support weight loss. Try these delicious fruity dessert ideas. Dark chocolate is a good option, packed with polyphenols and magnesium. Highly recommended: Alter Eco dark chocolate bars.