- Do not skip meals or go on crazy calorie restrictive diets. Skipping meals increases the stress response in the body which leads to fat storage. It increases glucose secretion into the blood stream so increases risk of insulin resistance and diabetes type 2. It can also lead to adrenal stress and thyroid dysfunction. Skipping meals or low-calorie restrictive diets also increase the risk of binge eating and over eating of high sugar snacks as a quick energy fix.
- Eat 4-5 meals per day, rather than including snacks. The human body is not designed to be constantly digesting. Digestion process takes 6-8 hours from consumption to excretion. It takes 4-5 hours to move food out of the stomach into the small intestine for nutrient absorption. If you are eating and snacking constantly your stomach will never slow down. It needs some to rest before going again. That is why eating every 4-5 hours is ideal as it will have time to rest a bit before going again and avoid overworking. If you leave it too long between meals, you will stress the brain’s nervous system and put the body into ‘fight or flight’ mode. The consequences are as per item 1.
- Opt for higher good fats to carb ratio in your diet. You body will need the higher fat to help with hormone synthesis. At this stage of your life with oestrogen and progesterone fluctuating and decreasing in levels, until they drop completely, it is super important to support hormone synthesis; all hormones. Good fats are also crucial for the production of steric acid which is a fatty acid that provides support to heart, helping it cope better with stress. They also help maintain adrenal function and thyroid function.
Furthermore, your metabolism will be slowing down at this stage meaning you will not need as many carbs as you did previously as you will not be burning them as readily. It is also highly likely that with the drop in metabolism you will also feel more tired and less inclined to move as much as you used to. Once again, meaning you will require less carbs as fuel.
- Take up strength training. Strength training helps increase muscle mass to fat ratio, which not only helps burn more fat, it also improves insulin sensitivity. This means that your body can cope better with carbohydrates, reducing risk of insulin resistance and diabetes type 2.
Increase muscle mass also helps improve activity performance, which helps you work harder and increases your energy levels. All of this together, increases your metabolism and increases fat loss.
- Eat protein with every meal. This goes hand in hand with point 4 about increases muscle mass. Though protein also serves in helping all cells repair, recover and rejuvenate, not just muscle tissue. Vital for hormone synthesis.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Hydration is crucial for hundreds of functions in the body. Relevant to this article, it is crucial for improving fat metabolism, meaning you can break fat down easier as hydration helps take the fat out of the cells and into the blood stream in the form of triglycerides, and then burn them as energy during activity.
Hydration also helps build muscle tissue.
- Get 7-8 hours sleep per night. Inadequate sleep decreases fat loss for various reasons. These include reduced metabolism, increases stress and inflammation in the body, and over eating.
Determine what time you need to get up in the morning and be sure to go to bed at least 8 hours before that. Even if you are staring at the ceiling for a while initially, you will still be resting so will still see benefits. As you persist, it will become easier to fall asleep quicker.
If you struggle falling asleep or staying asleep, you can try a few of the following:
- Turn off all electronics at least half an hour to an hour before bed. The blue light from the gadgets interrupts sleep. Even if you use blue light protectors, the excitement or stress from emails and/or social media posts interrupts production of melatonin your sleepy hormone.
- Avoid caffeine after 12:00pm as this can interrupt sleep.
- Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Allow at least an hour, preferably two, between eating and sleep. Otherwise, the body will be too busy digesting to rest properly.
- If you find yourself waking to go to the toilet, especially between 2:00 and 3:00am, you really need to implement the above points to improve sleep. Your bladder can cope with the load, it should not need to empty during sleep. This waking indicates that your liver is overworking during the night instead of resting. The above points are all guilty culprits that can be causing this.
- Aim at completing 10,000 steps per day. This is the ideal amount of activity that not only improves heart health, but also increases your total daily energy expenditure (energy out) and therefore is a simple way to increase fat loss.
- Spend time laughing each day. Laughter not only increases production of serotonin, your happy hormones, it improves your mood, reduces stress, improves digestion, improves your mental health and improves blood flow. All of this together increases fat loss!
- Spend at least 10 minutes per day doing something you love, by yourself, for yourself. This could be breathing exercises, gardening, meditating, warm bath, sauna, basically anything you enjoy, that is just for you. This decreases your stress, improves your mood, and therefore takes the body out of ‘fight or flight’ response and aids fat loss.
So there you have it. 10 simple strategies you can implement every day to help you increase fat loss, feel better and live better.
- Coach Terri