34 Tips for Optimal Weight
This article was originally written for The Dragontree.
In this series on weight (you can read part one, part two, and part three), I’ve discussed numerous factors involved in weight gain. Now, I’m going to simplify it all in this list of strategies for healthy body weight. Although there are 34 items in this list, I’m not implying that you need to keep them all straight in your mind in order to have a weight you’re happy with. I’m offering you many angles because I know your capacity to employ them varies. Start from the perspective of being whole and well, and consider these nice things to do for yourself.
- Get enough sleep, and make sure it’s good sleep. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night, but don’t exceed 9 unless you’re sick or recovering from something demanding.
- Be active. Move your body throughout the day, every day. There’s no way around this one. Make it non-negotiable. Sustained, mild exercise is fine. Try to get in a brisk walk after any large meal. If you like an intense work out, try interval training.
- Get our Rituals For Living Dreambook and participate in a year-long system to help you stay engaged with your health goals. My wife and I created this workbook/planner and it’s available for pre-order now. We’re using crowd funding through Kickstarter to support the printing costs, which means all orders have to be in by Tuesday, May 26th in order for us to hit our funding goal and have the project go live. (If we don’t hit our goal, your money is refunded.) We’re proud of it and truly believe it will change lives. LINK
- De-stress. Get a massage, do yoga, meditate, listen to relaxing music, change jobs, slow the pace of your life – whatever it takes to reduce the physiological and psychological stress responses that contribute to weight gain.
- Don’t overeat. Don’t use fullness as a gauge of when to stop. Stop at what feels like 80% of your capacity or less (this volume is usually about 1 ½ times the size of your closed fist). Put less on your plate. Consider getting smaller dishes.
- Eat more slowly. Don’t take a bite until your mouth is empty from the previous bite. Breathe. Always be sitting. Nourishing yourself deserves this space.
- Don’t do anything else while eating. Don’t drive, don’t work, don’t wrestle alligators. Just eat.
- Minimize your consumption of sweeteners of all kinds. Fructose-rich sweeteners are the worst of them. If you’re going to consume any kind of sweetener, go for stevia, xylitol, erythritol, lo han, sparing amounts of raw honey, or whole fruit.
- Try to drink only non-caloric beverages. It’s too easy to drink hundreds of calories without thinking about it. (Of course, it’s okay to drink a beverage with calories if the beverage is your meal.)
- Minimize your consumption of sweet juices. Just in case the last item wasn’t clear. This means any fruit juices, plus sweet vegetable juices like carrot. Eat a whole piece of fruit or a carrot if you want something sweet.
- Make more of your own food. Eat less at restaurants and less food made in factories.
- Eat at roughly the same times each day. Your body thrives on routine.
- Don’t go too long without eating. This means eat breakfast. Then don’t go more than about 4 hours between meals.
- Don’t snack between meals. Let your stomach empty completely and allow yourself to become hungry.
- Drink enough water. If you use pounds and ounces, divide the number of pounds you weigh in half, and drink that many ounces of water a day. If you do metric, divide the number of kilos you weigh by 30 and drink that many liters of water a day.
- Don’t eat close to bedtime. But if you must, let it be whole, pure, natural foods in modest amounts.
- Have a little protein at each meal. It’s slow to digest and easy on the blood sugar.
- Eat healthy fats. Like those found in almonds, walnuts, oily fish, chia seed, hemp seed, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, flax seed, eggs, ghee, and butter from grass fed cows.
- Minimize your exposure to plastics and disruptive and persistent chemicals. Whenever possible, buy drinks and liquid foods in non-plastic containers. If you eat canned foods, look for cans with a BPA-free lining. Don’t put plastic in the microwave with your food. If you purchase home goods that have a strong smell, open windows, put them outdoors, or run an air filter.
- Eat plenty of cultured foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, etc., supply beneficial microorganisms.
- Avoid foods you have a known sensitivity to. If you suspect food sensitivities, get yourself checked, or try the free Coca Pulse Test.
- Never feel guilty while eating (or digesting). Or, to put it in the positive, get yourself in a light and positive mindset when eating (and afterwards).
- Savor your food. Do everything you can to maximize your enjoyment – eat slowly, remove distractions, wait until you’re hungry to eat, explore the textures and flavors, choose great food, etc.
- Get your thyroid healthy. If you have a known low thyroid disorder, I recommend seeing a naturopathic physician for this, since taking prescription thyroid hormone will never fix the problem (although it may need to be part of the plan).
- Broaden your temperature comfort zone. Let yourself experience coldness and heat more often.
- Check any prescription drugs for weight gain as a side effect. If so, look into changing drugs, or at least seriously evaluate the trade-off you’re making.
- Despite witnessing the great prevalence of obesity, don’t buy into the idea that it’s inevitable for you. See this as a challenge of your ability to determine your own perspective, regardless of what others do or say.
- Eat plenty of fiber and consider a supplement (always taken with plenty of water). It’s one of the few totally safe supplements that actually supports weight loss. Take it before a meal if you tend to overeat.
- Avoid mindless eating. Don’t have a bowl of food in your lap while watching a movie, don’t hang out next to the food table at parties, etc.
- Prepare food for times when healthy fare won’t be available. Bring some to work, to seminars, on trips, etc. Boiled eggs, pre-cut veggies, fruit, nuts, etc.
- Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store.
- If you suddenly gain weight, lose it quickly so it doesn’t affect your weight set point. It’s sometimes easier to lose new weight than old weight.
- Be grateful. I believe your food is more likely to do good things for you when you spend a moment contemplating where it came from, who grew it, how it got to you, and how much you’re going to enjoy it.
- Love yourself, forgive yourself. Regardless of the shape of your body.
Copyright 2017 by Peter Borten