How to lose fat and feel better: practical tips for a happier you
Feeling tired and fat? When was the last time you felt energetic and in control of your day? How do you feel right this minute?
Chronic low energy and mood is devastating for all aspects of your life, affecting you socially, financially and personally.
You probably think you need to make huge changes to feel better, but there are simple things you can do that will improve your condition both in the short and long term.
1. Start eating meals
Your body hates states of excess: way too many calories is bad, so is way too few. Cycle these back to back and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel - and look - like a wreck.
The best way to start eating well is with tasty, fresh, balanced meals that give you enough energy to get through the day. Don’t worry right away about micro-managing your calorie intake and dropping pounds. Just start out with good, quality food and you can always cut down the portions once you’re rocking that.
What makes a good meal
- Quality homemade with natural ingredients
- Substantial contains ~25-35% your daily calorie needs
- Balanced features protein plus carbs and/or fat
- Vegetables there's no replacement for fresh produce
It doesn't have to be complicated or weird. Making a homemade, fresher and higher quality version of what you're already eating is a great start.
Here are some meal ideas
- Try making a grass-fed hamburger, with salad and sweet potato fries
- "Deli" sandwich with fresh meat (turkey, roast beef, or lean ham), cheese and of course veggies (tomatoes, lettuce, onion, peppers)
- 5 minute fat-loss pizza
- Muesli with plain greek yogurt and fruit
2. Drink more water
You can go for weeks without food but only a couple of days without water. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that water is a really really important substance for your body. And the same way you know optimizing your diet is critical, so is optimizing your hydration.
How to get better hydrated
- Drink more water. This is obvious, but aim for ~50% of your bodyweight in oz. So if you're 200lbs that means 100oz, or just a bit under a gallon. I recommend keeping a water bottle with you at most times that you can sip from.
- Improve your electrolyte balance Overeating in general and processed food in particular tend to load you up on sodium at the expense of potassium, magnesium and other goodies. You end up bloated, thirsty (which is often mistaken for hungry) and hungover (without the fun!).
To correct this, you first and foremost must eat less processed (packaged) foods. You can also supplement with balanced, non-sugary electrolyte supplements like Emergen-C.
3. Get moving
When you sit for long periods of time your body goes into "Slow" mode. From this perspective, there is nothing going on and it's best to wind things down and conserve energy. Imagine a pack of lions lazying about the savannah.
Fortunately for the lions they have hunger and hunting that gets them into "Go" mode. That's when they become energetic, focused and able to drive all of their energy towards a single goal. Paradoxically, the only way to start having more energy is to start expending more energy, physically. If you want to maintain a state of high-energy, "Go" mode, you must maintain an active lifestyle.
If you’re starting out, aim to get at least 1 activity per day. This could be walking your dog or walking around the mall, pick-up basketball with your friends, a yoga class, couch25k. Just start moving because the fact that you're doing that is far more important than what you actually do.
If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, it may seem difficult at first. Start out by logging just 2 minutes every day and watch your sessions go longer and longer as you develop the activity habit. Keep it up, and you will soon see why exercise is considered the most reliable treatment for fatigue and depression.
Summing it up
Making big changes in how you feel doesn't have to be super complicated or difficult. Often, there are small, practical steps you can take that, over time, will build up to transform your life.