If you want to break a weight loss plateau or maintain weight loss, I have three simple rules that can help, and they all relate to nutrition. Some health and fitness experts say it’s unnecessary to create rules and restrictions for weight loss because it can evoke an urge to rebel, binge or go in the other direction. While this is true to some extent, I also believe that people crave a little bit of structure. Eighty percent of your weight loss results are based on nutrition: what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat it. If you’re really serious about losing weight, keep reading for my three easy rules that will steer you toward success starting today!
Rule #1 – Stop eating 3 hours before you go to bed.
Set a time three hours before you to go sleep at which you will stop consuming food. Don’t worry, I promise you won’t die of starvation! In fact, you’ll wake up in the morning with a flatter tummy and feeling fantastic.
Create a sign that says, “The kitchen is closed at 8 p.m.” or whatever time is three hours before bedtime. Let everyone in your house know you need their help to keep you accountable. Most often, we snack after dinner simply because everyone else is and because we’ve made food part of our ritual to relax and unwind in front of the TV at night. By getting the whole family on board, not only will you improve the health of everyone in your household, but you’ll also have greater success yourself.
Rule #2 – Plan your meals the day before.
Planning out your meals the day before will help you stick to a healthy diet. In order to do this, you need to know how many calories you can consume tomorrow to create a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories. Creating a daily deficit of 500 calories will result in a 1-pound-per-week weight loss; creating a daily deficit of 1,000 calories will result in a 2-pound-per-week weight loss. Knowing how many calories you burn in a day will enable you to plan your meals accordingly.
The best way to get an accurate understanding of your daily calorie burn is with a calorie-monitoring device. While there are many websites that provide an estimate based on your answers to a few questions, they will provide you with just that: an estimate. If you’re really serious about losing weight, I recommend investing in a calorie-monitoring device like the Bodybugg, Fit Bit or Go Fit Wear, all of which are incredibly accurate. Planning your meals based on the number of calories you burn will take out the guesswork and ensure your success.
Rule #3 – Write down everything you eat.
Write down every little thing you eat—from the meals you plan out to the impromptu handful of pretzels or unplanned glass of wine. Everything that goes in your mouth should be written down along with calorie content.
In my opinion, the best place to keep track is on your phone because it is always with you and easy to access. Keep track of what you’re eating as well as when and why. Your notes will give you with a better understanding of your calorie intake and nutritional habits.
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