Small Changes Matter in Weight Loss

I am a runner who has been trying to loose 10 pounds for quite a while. I often feel frustrated because I do exercise. I run 5-6 miles about five times a week. But I still feel I have a few extra pounds to lose. Plus, I want to be in a better shape for my next marathon. I believe I have reached the dreaded exercise plateau. Because smaller changes are easier and longer lasting then huge ones, I’ve decided to tweak my lifestyle instead of attempting a complete overhaul. Here are some small changes that may bring big results.

Exercise Changes

From many people’s experiences, varying the workout activities is important to challenge the body to boost its metabolism. Besides running, I have decided to bike 10-15 miles on days when I don’t run. Biking works a different group of muscles and strengthen them. Besides cross-training, it has been shown that varying the workout intensity helps avoid the exercise plateau. I choose different days of the week as low, moderate or high-intensity days. When I run or bike, I do interval training that includes a few minutes of low intensity training followed by a few minutes of high-intensity training. The low and I think the idea of varying the intensity of each day is an attainable goal. If I know that today’s hard work means a bit of a respite tomorrow, I think I’ll be able to push myself harder. Interval training is a small tweak that has big results. A workout can be measurably more effective simply by increasing the intensity for brief period of time, then backing off.

Diet Changes

Instead of a croissant at breakfast, I’ve been eating a yogurt. It seems to stave off hunger for at least an hour longer. I’m slowly removing carbohydrate snacks from my diet in an attempt to eat less. New findings show that a high protein diet can help squelch hunger. Protein foods work by suppressing ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite. Researchers found that foods high in fat actually raised levels of ghrelin and increased hunger. Carbohydrates soon made people even hungrier than they were before they had eaten. But it was the protein foods that lowered levels of ghrelin substantially, helping to keep hunger pangs in check.

I also have tried eating healthy snacks throughout the day. Snacking makes me eat less at each meal, and I don’t feel very hungry at lunch or dinner time. My favorite snack is nuts. I mixed one cup of unsalted roasted peanuts, 1/3 cup of unsalted roasted sunflower seeds and 1/3 cup of unsalted roasted soynuts. It is healthy, low-sodium and keep me going for a long time without feeling hungry.

Attitude Changes

Negative thinking and self doubt die hard. According to studies, it is best to reward your behavior, and not your weight. You are probably used to rewarding yourself and being rewarded by others for losing pounds, rather than for altering your behavior. It has been shown that it is more productive by creating a system of rewards for the positive changes you make, rather than the numbers you see on the scale. Make your rewards based on your ability to stick to your goals, and on your changes in thought. When you are able to go through an entire day without self-defeating thoughts, you deserve a reward.

This change is the most difficult and the most important. How we speak to ourselves internally greatly affects how we make life choices. I have started to take note of every time I feel fat during the day. When those thoughts come, I label them as negative energy, and move on. If I do not engage in defeatist thinking I will want to eat better and make healthier lifestyle choices. After all if you don’t value yourself, how will you take care of yourself? Losing weight is should be a holistic activity that brings about positive changes on the outside as well as on the inside.