For so many of us, happiness seems to be on the other side of weight loss -- I'll be happy once I look a certain way in a bathing suit, or hit a certain number on the scale or achieve a perfectly flat stomach.
But you may be putting the proverbial cart before the horse -- achieving happiness first can actually help you to lose the weight.
Happiness is actually an advantage. If you can increase your chance of being happy right now, it will increase your chance of being successful in the future.
Here are some simple tips to boost your happiness -- and your weight loss power-- right now:
– Drink water with lemon all day.
Being fully hydrated provides energy and clarity, and the lemons provide vitamin C, electrolytes, and antioxidants. Lemons also help alkalize the body, which promotes good health and makes weight loss easier.
– Snack regularly.
Eating small servings of healthy foods frequently throughout the day helps keep your energy up, makes you feel satisfied, and revs up your metabolism.
– Go nuts.
Nuts and seeds make excellent snacks because they contain good-for-you fats and nutrients, and are very satisfying. You only need a small portion (1 ounce) to satisfy.
– Smell something yummy.
Aromatherapy has shown promise in promoting weight loss, soothing stress, and boosting feelings of happiness. Scents that are good for all three include: grapefruit, peppermint, orange, vanilla, and lavender. You can buy essential oils online or in local health stores. Put a few drops of oil onto a handkerchief and carry it with you all day; sniff it a few times when you feel stressed, hungry, or fatigued.
– Eliminate sugar and simple carbs.
Simple carbohydrates create chaos with your blood glucose levels, which affects your mood, your energy level, and your ability to lose weight. Rather than eating sugar, opt for healthier sweets like fresh fruit, and stevia if you need a no-calorie sweetener. After a few days without sugar, you’ll notice that you feel stronger, clearer, and more energetic, not to mention losing weight easily.
– Eat raw vegetables.
Vegetables contain many important nutrients for energy and well-being, and if you eat plenty of raw vegetables each day you will be fueling your body with potassium, protein, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber to keep your digestive system in top shape.
All of these nutrients promote a sense of well-being, happiness, and energy, and they help you lose weight because vegetables are so low in calories that you can eat a LOT of them without exceeding your caloric limits for the day.
Cooked vegetables are also good for you, although they do lose a bit of their nutrients during the cooking process, so eating them raw is beneficial when possible.
– Enjoy some green tea.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and has thermogenic properties that are believed to help boost your metabolism. If caffeine is a problem for you, don’t worries – green tea come in decaf!
– Stay active.
Taking short, brisk walks throughout the day is a great way to keep your energy levels high, boost your mood, and shed pounds. One of the common arguments people give for not exercising is that they don’t have time – well, anyone can squeeze in a few short 10-minute walks each day! If you can’t go for an actual walk outside, march in place while pumping your arms back and forth and you’ll burn nearly as many calories.
– Eat whole grains.
Whole grains are a great source of magnesium, and being deficient in magnesium is a common cause of fatigue. When you feel tired and sluggish, you’re less motivated to exercise and take good care of yourself.
– Avoid caffeine.
It’s so easy to reach for another cup of coffee, tea, soda, or an energy drink when you’re feeling sluggish, but doing so can severely interfere with your weight loss goals. Caffeine increases your body’s production of insulin, which promotes the storage of more fat. If you think you can’t survive without caffeine, try substituting water with fresh lemon. (See tip #1!) You may discover that you actually feel better without all that coffee!
– Surround yourself with color.
Color can be a great helper in stimulating your mood, boosting your energy, and influencing your appetite. The color red is a known energy booster, and can also stimulate your appetite. Orange and yellow are also “high energy” colors. Conversely, the colors blue and green are soothing, inducing calm and helping to reduce your appetite.
– Fight fat with fat.
Did you know that some fats actually help you burn more fat? Olive oil is one of the best – just drizzle a few teaspoons over salads, cooked vegetables, and grains like brown rice. Olive oil helps reduce “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and elevates “good” cholesterol (HDL), contains beneficial antioxidants, and has many other health benefits. Best of all, it helps reduce your appetite by making you feel satisfied for longer so you eat less overall.
– Eat breakfast.
Even if you don’t feel hungry first thing in the morning, eating breakfast goes a long way in boosting your mood, increasing your energy and promoting weight loss.
– Avoid negative people.
Negative people drain your energy, drag down your mood, and put a downer on your goals – including your weight loss goals. Do you have people like this in your life? If so, you may want to limit the amount of time you spend with them. Surround yourself with uplifting, positive people who encourage you and your goals.
– Eat light meals.
There’s nothing like a heavy meal to make you feel bloated and sluggish. Eating lighter meals keeps your energy levels high and your waistline feeling slim and sexy.
– Beat it.
When you feel sluggish, turn on some music with a fast-paced beat and dance. Take good music with you wherever you go; while you’re walking, doing chores, shopping, driving, and waiting for appointments. The upbeat music helps you feel more positive and energetic, which reduces your appetite.
– Spice up your life.
Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper have thermogenic properties, which means they increase body temperature and boost metabolism so you burn more calories. Spices like these (and many others) are also known mood-enhancers, inducing feelings of contentment and well-being.
– Think positive.
A positive attitude has a LOT to do with your overall state of well-being, including your weight. The more positive you can be, the more energy you will have, and the more likely you will be to eat well and exercise each day.
A negative attitude, on the other hand, makes you feel irritable, angry, depressed, and disinterested in making healthy lifestyle choices.
Positive thinking takes practice, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t take to it like a duck to water. Simply keep working at it day by day and before you know it, it will become a habit.
– Visualize the new you.
Visualization is a powerful process used by everyone from business people to pro-athletes to enhance performance and achieve goals. Another benefit you may not know: visualization makes you feel great when you do it right!
Try performing a few “mini-visualizations” throughout the day and focus on the new, slender, healthy body you are in the process of creating right now. 21 – Take naps.
– Make nightly sleep a priority.
Beyond short naps, make it a priority to get a full night’s sleep each night. It’s easy to skimp on sleep when other things seem more important, but your energy level, mood, health, and weight all depend on you being well-rested.
– Get some sun.
Sunlight helps promote vitamin D production, and vitamin D helps promote weight loss. Being deficient in vitamin D contributes to all kinds of health problems, including depression, heart disease, and diabetes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend too much time in the sun – as little as 30 minutes twice a week is enough for adequate vitamin D production.
– Move around.
If you are sedentary for a large part of the day, like sitting behind a desk or in a car, be sure to get up and walk around as often as possible. Moving around and stretching for a few minutes each hour is a great way to boost your energy levels and metabolism and make weight loss easier.
– Make time for yourself.
Having some “downtime” to do things you enjoy is important for a healthy mind, mood, and body. Even better, engage in some physical activities you enjoy so you’ll burn calories while you enjoy yourself.
– Have an active social life.
Interacting with others is important for your sense of connection, which directly affects your mood and energy levels. You don’t have to go out clubbing every night, but at least get involved with some social events that allow you to interact positively with other people.
If you don’t have a big circle of friends to socialize with, consider volunteering for some causes that are important to you. It’s a great way to be more active in your community while forming friendships with other like-minded people.
Laughter is a fantastic booster for both your mood and your energy levels. And when your mood and energy levels are high, you’ll be less likely to eat for emotional reasons. Make laughter a high priority in your life. Don’t wait for laughter to come to you; look for opportunities to laugh every day.
Many of the foods that comprise our modern diet have an acidic effect on the body, which promotes weight gain, fatigue, and poor health. Acidifying foods include sugar, coffee, tea, meat, seafood, dairy products, and most grains. Eating more foods that have an alkalizing effect on the body can dramatically increase energy and wellness and contribute to a healthier body weight.
Alkalizing foods include most vegetables and fruits. Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of alkalizing foods can have a dramatic impact on your mood, energy levels, and weight.
– Be enthusiastic.
One sure recipe for fatigue is to be pessimistic and irritated about the things you need to do each day. Do you grumble and groan about doing chores, work tasks, exercising, and eating right? If so, turn that around by deliberately becoming enthusiastic about your daily activities. It helps if you can find one good thing about them to focus on.
For example, you may not want to exercise, but if you focus on how good you’ll feel after you’re finished, it will be easier to feel enthusiastic. Likewise, if you struggle to feel enthusiastic about your healthy eating plan, focus on something about it that you like – even if it’s just the thought that you’ll be grateful for your discipline when you’re enjoying a smaller sized body!
– Stress less.
Stress is a common contributor to excess weight – especially belly fat! Unfortunately, we are more stressed these days than we’ve ever been before. The good news is that managing stress is very easy with a little bit of awareness and determination.
Spend time each day winding down, emptying your mind of scattered thoughts, and relaxing your body. Soak in warm baths, curl up with a good book, sit quietly in a serene location – whatever would make you feel more relaxed, do it daily and notice how much better you feel and how much more easily you lose weight.
– Breathe deeply.
Deep breathing is an excellent energy-booster because it floods your blood with rich oxygen. When your blood is fully oxygenated, all of your cells and muscles function better, and you just plain feel more energetic. Added bonuses are that breathing deeply helps reduce stress, suppress your appetite and calm anxiety, so do it regularly throughout the day!
– Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your nervous system and makes you feel sluggish and tired. You may think that’s a good thing when you feel keyed up from a long, stressful day, but it doesn’t help you actually relieve stress – just distracts you from it for a short time. Worse, alcohol consumption can interfere with normal sleep cycles so you feel tired the next day. Alcohol also dehydrates you which further contribute to feelings of sluggishness.
– Monitor your hunger.
Do you ever forget to eat because you are so busy that you aren’t paying attention? The obvious problem with this habit is that by the time you do eat, you’re ravenous and you’ll eat way more food than you really need.
– Take vitamins.
Most of us don’t get the daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, sometimes because of our own poor eating habits, and sometimes because the quality of supposedly healthful foods isn’t as good as it could be.
Taking a daily multi-vitamin supplement can help fill in the gaps, and you may also want to consider other supplements beyond that, like vitamin C, fish or flax seed oil, and B vitamins. All of these help promote more energy, a better mood, and healthy weight.
– Strength train.
Cardio exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but you shouldn’t stop there! Strength training is excellent for strengthening all of your muscles and boosting your metabolism and energy levels.
Be sure to focus on your abdomen and back muscles too – they help you form a strong “core” so you feel strong, stable, and yes, more energetic so you can keep up with the daily demands of your life.
– Feed your spirit.
Spiritual emptiness is a common cause for overeating. Do you ever feel restless or empty and reach for food to feel better? If this is a habit for you, you may be surprised to discover that you can quiet that feeling without eating.
Organizing your home, vehicle and work space has a multi-tiered effect on your overall sense of well-being. First, the very act of clearing clutter and getting organized is incredibly motivating. It boosts your energy and makes you feel productive. Secondly, if you’re really moving a lot of stuff around, you burn more calories. Finally, a harmonious, ordered environment helps you feel calm and focused, which makes it easier to stick to healthy lifestyle choices.
– Pamper yourself.
If you spend the majority of your time seeing to other people’s needs, it’s easy to feel run down and fatigued. Take time to pamper yourself each day and watch how your energy increases, your mood improves, and your desire for unhealthy food diminishes.
Self-pampering can take many forms; the key is to do things that make you feel nurtured and well cared for. Get a professional makeover, go antiquing, enjoy a night out with friends, get a weekly massage, see a movie, or buy yourself something nice.
– Stretch daily.
Never underestimate the restorative power of a good stretch! Stretching your body has numerous benefits beyond simply making you feel great. Stretching relieves tension from your muscles, improves circulation, increases flexibility, improves balance, and more.
Stretching not only benefits your body but your mind and emotions too. After a good stretch you feel more relaxed, peaceful, centered, and grounded. Stretching is one of the best ways to boost your mood, increase your energy, and make you feel good physically.
– Always have goals.
Okay, you probably already have “THE” goal in mind – the weight you want to reach – but having other goals is a great way to keep yourself feeling motivated and energetic. You can set all kinds of mini-goals within your main weight loss goal; for example, set a goal to be able to run a mile and work up to it gradually.
Or set a goal to lose so many inches a month from your bodily measurements. Beyond weight loss goals, you can continually set goals for other aspects of your life, like personal development goals, educational goals, relationship goals, and more. Always be striving to grow and develop yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
– Take responsibility for your results.
Be willing to take full responsibility for your weight loss results. While you may face obstacles and challenges that are out of your control, you still always have choices. Excuses are for people who plan to fail! Being willing to be responsible for your own results no matter the challenges you face empowers and strengthens you and makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve your goals with ease.
– Take a break.
If you start feeling overwhelmed because you took on too many changes too soon, take a break.
Take smaller actions toward your weight loss goals, while also allowing a little more flexibility in your routine. If exercising 6 days a week is making you feel exhausted, try cutting back to 3 or 4 days a week, or choose a workout that isn’t overly strenuous. If you’re struggling to stick to a healthy eating plan, try eating healthy for two meals a day and allowing yourself a modest treat for the other meal.
- Educate Yourself
The tips we’ve provided in this brief guide are just the tip of the iceberg – there is much more to learn about how food affects your mood, your energy levels, and your weight. It’s not always about “calories in, calories out”.
Educate yourself about which foods are truly beneficial, and which will work against your goals to have more energy, a better mood, and a slim body.
- Making Wise Decisions, Moment to Moment
To permanently improve your energy, mood, and overall health, makes wise moment to moment decisions all day, every day. Awareness is key, as is the willingness to take new actions rather than slipping back into old habits.
Before you eat, drink, or do anything, stop and ask yourself, “Will this help or hinder my goals? Will this make me healthier and slimmer in the long run, or is it just a quick fix to make me feel good right now?”
Keep the big picture in mind and make wise decisions that will give you the natural energy, good health and happiness that you really want – not just another pound loss on the scale.