I often like to write on specific training topics or dive into the deep and murky waters of fitness. I realize that while I really enjoy the gritty scientific details the average person is often looking for things they can start doing today to improve their quality of life, whether that be a better waistline or more energy. Today I am going to attempt to lay out just a couple lifestyle changes that are employable for the majority of people as well as the reasoning for the changes. The tips shared below were chosen due to a combination of bang for buck and ease of implementation. Sure, there are lifestyle changes that may make bigger changes, but the two I lay out below are not only shown to be effective, but are also easy to implement.
To create long term change the development of good habits is key. There are many ways to hit a weight loss goal for example, but if the habits aren’t permanent the weight loss typically will not be as well. This is the reason I have decided to dial back the technicality and focus on seemingly small changes that anyone can start adding into their daily routine. Expect more simple changes in the future as I plan to revisit this topic in the future.
- Eat 30+ grams of protein at your first meal. Meal timing is debatable and there are different reasons to eat shortly after waking and also reasons for fasting, but either way eating a good amount of protein at your first meal can be beneficial. Protein increases satiety, decreases gastric emptying (takes longer for the stomach to empty and therefore stay full longer) and is the building block for a large amount of physiological processes including muscle building. 30 grams is around 25-30% of what is needed for most people fitness goals and puts you on a good path to hitting that goal each day. I say 30+, because I have seen 30 work very well, but some studies use 35 grams so if 30 isn’t impacting hunger throughout the day try 35 grams.
- Take a brisk walk or short workout after every meal. After a meal insulin rises to trigger energy storage (there is insulin increase even in low carb diets, so this can be beneficial for these individuals as well). Everyone knows that large meals can drain the life out of you sometimes and the hormonal response to food is part of why that happens. The good news is that simply doing muscular activity helps improve tissue response to insulin and other hormones and has shown to be more effective at weight management and improving health biomarkers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and HbA1c (long term measure of blood glucose levels) than doing longer bouts of activity where timing was not regulated. Not only was shorter intervention as effective, but it has better adherence than longer routines. I recommend a brisk 10 min walk or a short 10 body weight routine using large motor patterns such as squatting and lifting after every meal.