by Kristen Bagwell
As I try to lose the last 8 lbs (again), everyone has a suggestion. Weight Watchers online, take up jogging, cut out all white foods, get some Biggest Loser vitamins and/or supplements…all kinds of good ideas. There is definitely a program for everyone, and the one that appealed to me this time was keeping a food journal, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’m more of a grazer, so I sometimes wondered whether I was even getting enough calories each day. Indeed I was...
In light of this revelation (and with the help of my fitness trainer husband, who, incidentally, refuses to train me himself), I’ve compiled my top tricks for dropping the last 5 (8...11) pounds. What are your suggestions?
Tips for losing the last few pounds (or, “Things Kristen has been doing wrong”)
- Don't skip breakfast.
How many times have we heard this one? I had never paid much attention until lately, but here’s the thing: if you wait more than 2 hours after you wake up to eat, your body assumes you are fasting and goes into “starvation” mode. That means your metabolism is actually slowing down! Yikes.
- What you eat for breakfast doesn’t matter; just eat something...right?
A co-worker went to see a nutritionist last week, and asked this question on my behalf. I love a good scone, or a biscuit – any white carb will do. However, the nutritionist blew this theory out of the water. She advised us to eat something with protein, fiber, or both, as these take longer for your body to break down. That means you’ll have energy over a longer period of time, not the sugar rush followed by the big crash, evened out by the second cup of coffee (substitute diet coke as needed).
Sure enough, I’ve begun following this rule and I am no longer starving all morning. I do miss my scones, though. (The nutritionist very kindly pointed out that a spoonful of peanut butter on top of my scone did not actually add a significant amount of protein. Rats.)
- Exercise in the morning.
Um, riiight…have these people seen my a.m. schedule? However, if you can stand it, morning exercise will jump-start your metabolism and you’ll burn calories more efficiently for the rest of the day. It only takes 23 minutes of cardio* to jump-start your system, so even if it’s jumping jacks, get up and do something!
(*source: Bobbi Brown “Beauty”)
- A glass of wine is fine.
Actually, a glass of wine is delicious. I am a huge fan of a nightly sip once everyone is in bed. However...wine has 120-150 calories per glass, so it is a snack in itself. If wine gives you the munchies (which in my house, leads to the Cheez-Its) you may want to enjoy it with dinner instead.
One other warning: if you drink wine just before bed (as I do), it will not fully metabolize, and is converted to sugar, which is ultimately stored as fat. Example? My dear friend (and post-baby#1 personal trainer) used to call my thighs & rear “your wine bags.” Subtle. To counter this…
- Drink more water.
We've all heard this a million times too, but again, I had no idea why it was so important. Here’s what I found out from reading Frank Ancharski’s blog: (He’s the General Manager @ O2 Fitness in Cary)
Water suppresses the appetite naturally helping the body to metabolize stored fat. It does so by making the kidney more efficient rather than utilizing the liver. The liver then metabolizes less fat and more fat is stored in the body.
Drinking water helps flush retained water out of the body. If your body is receiving enough water, it won’t “save” water for later, and you’ll feel considerably less bloated. It also helps flush sodium from your system, which causes bloating and affects your skin’s suppleness. How odd – to relieve bloating, drink more water!
When your body is hydrated, your colon is more efficient, helping your body eliminate excess waste. Enough said.
Slight tangent from my own personal files: Pineapple juice is another natural remedy for bloating. Try 6 oz unsweetened pineapple juice mixed with 6 oz water or seltzer, daily. The enzymes in the pineapple encourage your body to rid itself of toxins.* (*Source: Eat Right for your Type by Dr. Peter D’Adamo)
- Bonus tip: Keep an eye out for hidden sodium and sugars.
I can see the label readers perking up – you’ve got this one in the bag, right? Now that I am paying more attention, I am noticing that even "healthy" foods can contain excess sugar. My most favorite/unfavorite example? Fiber granola bars. I love love love these granola bars, but some brands have almost 3x the sugar of others. (And are oh so good!) Other culprits: yogurt (both flavored and plain), most frozen foods (especially microwave meals), and crackers (can contain a ton of both sugar and sodium). Diet soda lovers, beware – there is often quite a bit of sodium in these drinks.