With a few remaining months left of the year, you might be thinking:
”I’ll just wait until January” or “I can’t make much progress at this point anyway”
If this is you, let me be the first to burst your bubble.
You can absolutely make progress toward your weight loss goal by the end of the year! And if you’re still thinking, “well I don’t want to overwhelm myself with weight loss during the holidays”…let me also be the one to set the record straight.
Healthy gradual weight loss does not have to be an all-or-nothing effort! In fact, you’ll be much more successful if you go about it by starting small. How many times have you tried to completely change everything about your habits overnight and had to give up within a few weeks? So many, right?
Instead, you can simply focus on a few really impactful areas of your lifestyle to support your ideal metabolic health for weight loss.
Here are 3 recommendations to get you started:
#1: get moving (+ bundle up!)
Depending on where you live, it might be getting cooler in the coming months…but that is no excuse to not stay active or increase your movement!
Personally, I’m a midwest girly and I walk my dog outside all year round. For me, it’s not about the weather being too cold, it’s about not wearing warm enough clothes!
Now, if the lower temps aren’t a problem for you (jealous), all the more reason to get moving more! Staying active, especially by getting in 8,000-12,000 steps a day is one of the best methods to support healthy weight loss.
Getting in steps is so effective because it’s a non-stressful form of movement. You might have heard of it referred to as NEAT movement or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. This is the calories we burn in a day from moving that is not from structured or more intense exercise, and it’s a bigger chunk of our calories than we think!
It’s easy to assume that workouts have the most influence on our potential calorie burn, but it’s really our NEAT movement that has a much larger percentage and ability to increase our total daily calorie burn (aside from our resting metabolic rate).
All this being said, to support healthy weight loss for the rest of the year, really focus on your NEAT movement. This can include going for more walks throughout the week, getting a walking pad for your work space, parking further away from stores when running errands, and taking the stairs whenever you can!
It really does add up.
#2: Put sleep back on the top of your priority list
If you’re envisioning a holiday season where you have already lost some weight and feel good in your festive, comfy clothes – then you need to get DEAD SERIOUS about your sleep.
Yup, sleep is just as or more important than the nutrition and exercise side of weight loss.
Sleep has such a big potential to help or hurt your weight loss efforts.
When we don’t get enough sleep (at LEAST 7 hours), one of the first things that will be impacted besides your energy levels is your hunger hormones. The hormones I’m specifically referring to are leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your brain that you are hungry and leptin tells the brain you are full and satisfied.
When sleep is lacking, ghrelin is going to rev up telling you that you’re hungrier than normal and leptin isn’t going to trigger satiety as much, telling you that you’re hungry AF all day long. And you can probably relate to this! There are some days when you wonder why you’re so hungry all the time. It’s no coincidence that this happens the day after a bad night of sleep.
Imagine not getting enough good quality sleep all the time and you’re trying to lose weight. Talk about a disaster!
Another interesting point: a University of Chicago study compared body fat percentage with sleep duration for participants on a restricted diet. They lost 55% less body fat and 60% more lean muscle tissue when they slept only 5.5 hours per night vs 8.5 hours.
Not only that, but the group who slept less experienced more hunger (because ghrelin was decreased).
All in all: it’s clear that not getting enough sleep is the opposite of what we want if you’re trying to make some healthy weight loss progress.
How can you start getting better and MORE sleep?
Set an alarm on your phone to tell you to start getting ready for bed
Stick to a sleep routine where you go to bed and wake at similar times every day
Put your screens away at least an hour before bed (read that one book for fun!)
Use blue light blocking glasses in the evening hours to increase natural melatonin production
Get some morning light! (like 10-20 minutes) This supports your natural circadian rhythm
Work with your spouse to support your goal of getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night (sometimes it’s a team effort!)
#3: Pack in the protein
When it comes to achieving healthy weight loss, yes calories and energy balance are important, but I also care about your sanity. AKA: calorie counting sucks.
Something simple you can think about instead over the next few months? Your protein intake. Just that. No counting total calories. Just take tabs on what your daily protein intake is like.
If we aren’t actively thinking about it, protein can be tricky to get enough of actually. And the thing is: it’s SO helpful for a weight loss goal.
Protein is one of the most satisfying macronutrients (compared to carbs and fat) and it takes the longest to digest. Protein really makes such a big difference to how full and satisfied you are in a day. If you want to experiment, go ahead and eat less than 100g of protein one day and then eat 125-150g of protein or more on another day. You will absolutely notice a difference in how you feel.
The other helpful thing about protein? It makes it much more tricky to overeat. If you want to support your weight loss goal without stressing about tracking calories every day, just focus on getting at least 30 grams of protein at a meal or more. That’s it. The chances of you overeating compared to a meal with 10 to 15 grams of protein are much much smaller.
For example: let’s say you made some spaghetti for dinner and there was some ground beef in your pasta sauce, but it probably only totaled to about 2 ounces of ground beef (or 15 grams of protein). It has some, which is great, but you’re going to be grazing the pantry a few hours later.
On the other hand: let’s say you made spaghetti but made sure you had at least 4-6 ounces of ground beef with it by making meatballs. You were super satisfied by focusing on the protein first and didn’t need any seconds of pasta. You were easily full until bedtime.
Which scenario would you pick? Hint: more protein!
When it comes to daily goals for protein, the good rule of thumb is getting .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (or realistic goal weight). You can read a lot more about protein in this blog post too.
Sharing some other really helpful resources to help you with protein too!
One final reminder when it comes to making progress with weight loss: this is not an overnight process and the more consistent you can be over several months, the more successful you will be.
Don’t pressure yourself to see results in a few weeks, because that is never going to end well. We can’t stick to quick-fix methods forever, and we always want to do what’s best for our metabolic health long term.
If you’re reading this with a few months left of the year, you can absolutely create some new foundational habits to support your weight loss in that amount of time! You don’t have to do anything crazy and you definitely don’t have to wait until the new year.
If you need more help to lose weight, we have a few different options:
Get on the waitlist for the next round of Metabolism Makeover and get early access to resources