We get asked regularly about body composition and how to reduce body fat. Whether you participate regularly in our CrossFit classes, have an outside training program, or are still thinking about a new fitness routine, your activities outside the gym can have a big impact on your fat loss goals. Those “other 23 hours” of the day are where much of our progress takes place, so you need to have a good game plan for your daily life.
Today, I’m going to share two habits from our Healthy Habits program, starting June 1, that you can implement TODAY to start making progress toward your fat loss goal. These habits are not quick fixes, but rather ongoing traits to facilitate long-term progress.
Keep Calm and Chew On (Your Food)
If you haven’t revisited your 7th grade biology notes lately, you may have forgotten that the first stage in the digestion process is actually chewing your food. Due to the hectic pace of daily life for Chicago professionals, we often fail to practice this simple habit. Chewing properly allows for an improved digestion process – smaller food particles are absorbed more quickly and completely than larger ones. In addition, the chewing process triggers the release of key enzymes that assist in breaking down your food and signaling to your body that you are full.
When you inhale your meals quickly and/or without chewing completely, the signaling within your body for hunger regulation can’t keep up, your digestive system may become overloaded and you are likely to over-consume (leading to weight gain). In addition, the larger food pieces require more gut bacteria to break-down, which can create abdominal discomfort, gas, bloating and other unpleasant side-effects.
Habit: Try putting down your fork after each bite or chewing your food five to ten times before swallowing. You will find that you are more aware of when you become full, and are less likely to experience any post-meal digestive discomfort.
Drink More Water
It may sound obvious, but even with increased awareness around the importance of water, many people still don’t get enough. Let’s start with the fact that your body is comprised of 60-75% water. Water helps maintain a balance of essential body fluids we need to transport nutrients, regulate temperature, and create saliva. Consuming water with meals also helps you feel satiated faster without adding any empty calories from things like fruit juice, soda, or energy drinks. Additional benefits include healthier, younger looking skin, improved digestion and nutrient absorption, increased energy, and improved brain function.
When you don’t consume enough water, you’re performance may also suffer at the gym. Muscles that are dehydrated shrivel and do not work at full capacity. If you have experienced “bonking” in a workout (feeling depleted / lightheaded partway through), it is often due to dehydration (not lack of food as is commonly thought).
Habit: Aim to consume 8-10, 8oz glasses of water per day. To make it easier, get a re-usable water bottle that you can keep at your desk. For peak performance, consume about 17oz of water two hours before coming to class or other strenuous exercise. You will find your hunger is better regulated and that your body functions more efficiently.
Want to Learn More?
Chewing food and drinking more water are just two of the more than two dozen habits for fat loss we are introducing as part of our Healthy Habits program. These habits, when added together, create big results and lasting change. To learn more about the program, attend one of our FREE kickoff meetings this week available through the link below.
The kickoff meeting will introduce you to the fundamentals of nutrition and the structure of our program. You will come away with valuable information whether you elect to participate in the full program or not.