Weight loss is a big undertaking, and it is complicated. Counting calories, following low-carbohydrate diets, and reducing portion sizes are common strategies for losing weight, but there may be more to the weight loss journey can include more components, especially if keeping the weight off long-term is one of your goals.
In fact, anything from food choices and physical activity to stress management and mindfulness can affect weight loss. In addition, turning healthy choices into long-lasting habits can allow for lasting results. No worries, though, if thinking about all this makes the weight loss journey seem overwhelming. Lark works to bring together each part of your weight loss journey through caring, supportive, and insightful coaching.
Weight Loss Basics: Why Go Beyond Calorie Counting?
The way to lose weight is to reduce calories consumed (from foods and beverages) so that they are fewer than calories burned (or expended). Many apps rely on calorie counting to help users lose weight, but such a rigid and one-sided approach can have drawbacks.
- Counting calories can become an obsession or start to feel more important than choosing nutritious foods or listening to the body’s hunger cues.
- It can be tempting to exercise solely to burn off extra calories.
- Counting each calorie accurately can feel burdensome because of the need to measure, weigh, or count foods and ingredients.
Lark records calories when you log food, but does not obsess over them, or ask you to do so. Instead, Lark’s helps limit calorie intake with tips such as the following.
- Reducing portion sizes of high-calorie foods is a simple way to reduce calories.
- Swapping lower-calorie for higher-calorie foods more often helps naturally reduce calories.
- Looking for nutrients such as fiber and protein helps reduce hunger so you are likely to eat less overall.
A more nutritious diet does not directly cause weight loss, but it can help. A body of research, cited by organizations include the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, suggests that healthy eating patterns can both lower health risks and improve weight control. While details may differ, these may be general patterns.
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Smart Coaching for Smart Results
When is the best time to learn about new ways to lose weight? Lark’s nutrition coaching catches you in the moment when you are thinking about what you eat and drink, that is, right when you log a meal or snack. That way, your choices are fresh in your mind, and you may be receptive to analysis and suggestions, such as:
- What was a good choice at that meal.
- What may not have been the best choice
- What could be better next time.
The feedback is simple to avoid overwhelming you. Instead of commenting on every aspect of the meal, Lark points out one or two aspects to consider and possibly work on. Making one or two small changes every so often can, over time, lead to healthier habits and lasting weight loss.
Lark offers additional insights, too. For example, Lark might notice an increased consumption of more-nutritious foods, such as vegetables or whole grains, or a decrease in added sugars. These trends are observations that you may not necessarily have made on your own without a personal coach noting and analyzing everything you tell it. With a smart coach, you can simply follow recommendations and expect good results.
The Magic of Habits for Long Lasting Results
A major problem with most “diets” is that they are temporary. Eventually, going off of a diet and returning to previous eating patterns leads to weight regain, and with it, increased risk for chronic health conditions.
Lark encourages changes in choices that are designed not to be a “diet,” but a set of habits that can last a lifetime. Examples of habits that can contribute to long-lasting success include the following.
- Choosing black coffee instead of a flavored coffee beverage, or getting a smaller size.
- Having a piece of fresh fruit, or fruit salad, instead of a smoothie.
- Selecting plain oatmeal and yogurt instead of sugar-sweetened, flavored varieties.
- Having a burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard instead of bacon and mayo.
- Ordering or buying brown rice and whole-grain pasta instead of white versions.
- Eating an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter instead of a handful of trail mix.
- Ordering tacos instead of burritos and thin-crust instead of thick-crust pizza.
- Trying broth-based soups with vegetables instead of cream or cheese-based soup.
Making Sure Life Is Worth Living
Some people argue that there is no point in living longer if life is too boring to enjoy it. Lark agrees. Fun times and special occasions are what makes life worth living, and treats definitely have a place in any healthy diet and lifestyle. Birthday and holiday parties, work gatherings, family reunions, and get-togethers with friends are all part of life, and they all typically involve less-than-healthy food.
These events are fine. The food at these events is fine. The only catch is to keep it in moderation. Lark offers coaching around:
- Emphasizing the overall average, such as a daily or weekly overview of what you ate, instead of worrying about a single meal or day.
- Keeping special events to occasional occurrences and not everyday ones.
- Selecting small portions of one or two “must-have” foods (say, a slice of pizza or a cookie) and loading the rest of your plate with more nutritious veggies, lean proteins, and other low-calorie choices.
Opportunities for Losing Weight All Day and Night Long
It is a good thing Lark is available 24/7 in your smartphone because food choices are just one small part of the weight loss journey. The rest of the day and night offer nearly constant opportunities to support weight loss.
A daily (or near-daily) workout certainly burns calories and helps with weight, but moving around throughout the day also helps. Lark tracks activity and nudges you to stand up and take a moving break if you have been sitting long enough to stall metabolism.
Does it sound too good to be true that a great way to reduce hunger and balance hormones is to get more sleep? You are in luck! If you have been cutting yourself short on sleep, getting more can help you lose weight effortlessly.
Have you checked in with your stress recently? Managing stress better is another trick for getting hormones back under control if they are out of whack. Specifically, stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are designed to increase fat storage and hunger, which are opposite to your goals in weight loss.
Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization are in-the-moment stress management techniques, while prioritization and mindfulness on a daily basis can help lower overall stress, too. Lark’s coaching includes stress management programs.
How Lark Brings Together Each Part of the Weight Loss Journey
Let Lark Be Your Guide
Healthy foods, proper portions, exercise, sleep, and stress…it is a lot to think about, so a personal coach can come in handy. Lark is like a weight loss manager who can do the worrying and organizing for you so all you have to do is take it one small choice at a time.