The purpose of this article is to reveal the secret to losing weight. I know you have heard it before but the right way and the healthy way to lose weight is to combine a healthy diet and regular exercise. Its that simple. One does not work without the other with long-term results. Anyone who tells you differently or claims to have a quicker way is probably just trying to sell you something. My goal is to break down a few ideas that will help you along your journey to a healthier you and to assist in creating your very own weight loss plan. The photos above are of a client of mine who followed a regular exercise program and ate balanced, and nutritious meals that followed the guidelines listed below.
To begin with I want to review some key points that we have all heard before in regards to weight loss. To lose weight you need to take in less calories than you burn in a day. Even though this is simple math, I find you spend more time in the day calculating how many calories everything is and how much you need to burn then actually doing anything else. Just keep the basic rule in mind when planning your meals and exercise program. If you really want to calculate your caloric intake, go to www.Livestrong.com and there is a calorie counter program that will do it all for you. Dont skip meals. This is very important as every time you eat or don’t eat, you are having an effect on your metabolism. You want to keep your metabolism revved up throughout the whole day and to do that you need to eat regular healthy meals and snacks. Often times people think if they skip a meal they are actually helping themselves because they are taking in fewer calories. But the opposite is true in this case. By skipping meals you in effect are slowing down your metabolism and telling your body to hold on to fat to be used as fuel later. Avoid fast foods, nothing good can come from them. The only food that should be consumed is fresh and healthy selections.
Next I want to review a few suggestions I give to my clients. Eat 3 healthy meals and 2 healthy snacks everyday. Again, following the train of thought from before, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn in a day. Make sure your selections include fresh fruit and vegetables, and a lean source of protein at every meal and snack. Limit your starchy carbohydrate choices to breakfast and post workout meals only. Most people are intimidated by cooking and eating foods that they are unfamiliar with. Be adventurous and experiment with healthier recipes using whole foods rather than processed. You will feel better in the end. Ensure you are having an adequate amount of water daily. At the bare minimum aim for 8 cups per day, but if you are exercising vigorously you may need to increase that amount to ensure you don’t become dehydrated. If you have a craving for something acknowledge it because it wont disappear if you try to ignore it. For example, if you are craving salt and vinegar chips (my personal weakness), have a handful as opposed to the whole bag. This does require a certain amount of self-control, but in the end you will be happy to have a little rather than none. And you can look at it as a mental recharge as well. Once you get it out of your system, you can refocus on the task at hand. Avoid sugary beverages. They are just plain awful for you and the sugar is stored as fat. Keep a food journal. Keeping a log of what you eat is a great toll to hold you accountable. I find you just need to look back a few days and you can see why you may have no energy, or why you are not reaching your goals. You don’t need to use a fancy book either; just keep a running log on paper.
Now that you have the nutrition side of things down, lets take a brief look at some exercise strategies. As I stated above, one does not work without the other. What you should aim for ideally is resistance training 2 times per week (at the very least) and 30 minutes per day of cardio. Resistance training is so important to weight loss as the muscle that you are working is what aids in burning fat. Ladies don’t worry; you don’t need to build bulging muscles. But by toning the muscles you are doing double duty; you will feel better and burn fat at the same time. Your 30 minutes per day of cardio does not have to be on a treadmill indoors at a gym. You just need to get moving. My suggestion to most people is to find an activity that you enjoy and incorporate that into your routine several times a week. For me it is hockey and hiking.
By implementing the suggestions above, you will be losing weight in no time. The key to success is consistency; although if you fail one day, it’s not the end of the world. Just pick up where you left off and continue on. You should aim to lose between 1-2 pounds per week. I know it doesn’t seem like very much, but in the end you are more likely to keep the weight off unlike those who have tried to do it with a quick fix. What ever your goal is, make sure it is achievable and always within reach.
Most importantly you need to get a good base of support. Find a friend that you can confide in, and tell them your plan. They will be there when you are having a tough day and keep you on track. It always helps to have a workout buddy as well. There is nothing better than having someone to go to the gym with and push you, especially when you know you wont do it on your own.
I hope you have found these suggestions helpful and you are able to reach your goal soon. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.