A Weight Loss Tip for Every Day of the WeekArticle posted in: Lifestyle
Every day is a challenge when you’re trying to make a change. Meet them head on with these weight loss tips designed to help you succeed on your journey every day of the week.
SUNDAY: Get moving, and arm yourself with healthy options.
The couch and all that Sunday night TV (or daytime playoff football) are inviting, but getting up could help your whole week. In a 2008 study of 48 healthy adults, subjects consistently gained weight on Saturdays from eating too much, but from not moving enough on Sundays. You don’t have to become a workout fanatic to fix this: Just take a light walk or stay on your feet for an extra hour today to help keep activity levels high.
One activity that could help you lose all week: Food prep. In a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, a larger portion of time spent on food prep was associated with healthier eating habits—like eating more fruits and veggies—and with saving money on food. But prepping food every day all week is tough when you’ve got a job, kids and a million other tasks piling up. Use Sunday to give yourself a head start: Cut portions of unlimited veggies and easy fruit options from the Grocery Guide and load the refrigerator with healthy snacks you can feel great about. When hunger strikes on Tuesday, these options will be just as convenient as a cheat.
MONDAY: Eat a protein-rich breakfast with a big glass of water.
You’ll probably start the week at peak motivation—there are more weight loss-related Google searches on Monday than any other day of the week. So use that motivation right away: Sit down for a protein-rich breakfast with a big glass of water.
Why protein? By eating it, you could actually curb your cravings for snacks in the evening. In a 2013 study, overweight study participants who ate breakfast with 35 grams of protein ate fewer high-sugar, high-fat snacks in the evening when compared with those who ate cereal or no breakfast at all.
If you drink the water before your meal, it can help you lose weight all month: In a study at Virginia Tech, people who drank 16 ounces of water before meals lost 36 percent more weight over three months than those who didn’t drink.
TUESDAY: Start on a new, healthy habit by stacking.
It’s easy to do something once, but creating a habit is hard. You can make a healthy habit easier to stick to by “stacking” the habit with one you’ve already got. The strategy is simple: Take a habit you’re already accustomed to—like brushing your teeth—and start doing your new, healthy habit each time you practice the original. So if you want to start taking a daily multivitamin, but can’t always remember, try doing it right before you brush your teeth. Or if you want to perform a healthy stretch each day, but can’t remember, try performing the stretch while the shower is warming up—you never forget to shower, so you’ve got the time built in.
By “stacking” habits in this way, you won’t need as much motivation to do new, healthy things. Each Tuesday, review the habits you’re stacking. If you’re succeeding, add one more.
WEDNESDAY: Refocus on your goals.
On Wednesday, your motivation may start to falter, and with good reason: Every advertisement you see is tempting you to forget your long-term goals to achieve some short-term satisfaction. Tip the balance in your favor: Spend some time refocusing on your goals, and get some positive imagery before your eyes.
Start with your focus: Close your eyes and remember why you’re on this journey—to feel better, have more energy or get a specific reaction from yourself when you look in the mirror. Imagine the positive feelings you’ve had when you’ve made great choices early in the week. And imagine the feelings you’ll feel and things you’ll do as you reach intermediate goals. Get some warm and fuzzies going about your success.
Then reinforce your rekindled motivation: Find healthy, inspirational images that reinforce your goals. Just be careful to choose realistic imagery: In a Dutch study, dieters who consistently looked at pictures of models who were too thin engaged in more “goal-inconsistent” behavior than dieters who looked at normal-sized models. And doctors from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases found that unrealistic weight loss goals sabotaged results. So find images of real people that fit into your real goals, and post them somewhere you’ll see them as often as you’re being assaulted by advertisements. Hang these healthy pictures on your bedroom mirror or near your desk, and get over Hump Day the healthy way.
THURSDAY: Weigh (and measure) yourself this morning.
How often to step on the scale is tricky: Studies actually show that you can obtain better results by weighing yourself every day. Minnesota scientists found that dieters who stepped on the scale each day lost twice as much weight as those who did so less frequently.
But the numbers can be discouraging and misleading: A Canadian study found that water retention on the first day of the menstrual cycle caused heavier weigh-ins. And other studies have found that people are heaviest on the weekends, and lighten up as the week progresses.
Thursday morning, then, is great for weighing in: You’ve had a few days of success, and are far from the weekend splurges. Weighing yourself consistently, at the same time, can help you see how you’re actually progressing. And doing so in the morning means you’ll be at your lightest, which can be even more motivating.
Still, your weight is subject to what doctors call “normal cyclic fluctuations”—that is, the scale can be funky. So don’t rely just on that number: Find other ways to measure, and do them on Thursday, too. Get a tailor’s measuring tape and use it to measure your waist, chest, calf, thigh and arm measurements each Thursday a.m. When one decreases, choose to celebrate that progress instead of focusing on whether another measurement (or the scale) has gone up.
FRIDAY: Have a healthier happy hour.
Marking the close of another work week for many, Fridays are a great day to kick back with coworkers or friends. But festivities of this kind can wreak havoc on your weight loss. From calorie-laden alcoholic beverages to fatty fried appetizers, happy hours pose lots of threats to your trim-down. But just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you have to skip the celebration. Just be prepared. Pack a portable Nutrisystem bar or snack to enjoy prior to the clock striking five so that you’re not ravenous when you arrive. Or, accept the fact that it’s dinner time and instead of reaching for fries and chips to hold you over, order a healthy meal like a salad. Stick to seltzer or, if you absolutely must imbibe, opt for a lower calorie option like a light beer or dry wine, and limit yourself to one. Here are some other tips for keeping the fun in Friday happy hours without sabotaging your slim-down.
SATURDAY: “Cheat” smart.
You’re probably not surprised to find out that studies suggest that Saturday is the day when most dieters go overboard. If you’re on the Nutrisystem program, you know that there are plenty of guilt-free indulgences built right into your plan (did someone say ice cream sandwiches?!). Make sure to keep a stash of Nutrisystem desserts and snacks on hand so you’re covered when cravings strike. (Want to check out the top 20 most popular Nutrisystem snacks and sweets? We’ve got it all broken down for you in this article.)
Try overcoming your snack attack by drinking plenty of water and planning some fun activities for the day that don’t involve food… you may end up being so distracted, you forget about your craving. If you absolutely can’t stop thinking about a treat, make sure to choose wisely: Pick something you really want and enjoy for your splurge so you can calm the specific craving you’re feeling and jump right back on the weight loss wagon. If it’s chocolate you’re after, don’t try to quell your craving with crackers. Instead, eat a small amount of dark chocolate. If it’s ice cream you crave, choose a fat-free, individual-sized carton or a scoop of frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruit. Then return to the plan that’s given you success for the last six days and don’t let your indulgence spiral into full-blown diet derailment.
And don’t forget to check out our awesome Recipe Section, full of healthier takes on all your favorite treats.