Summer may just be finishing for some of you but starting for others (depending on your location) but regardless of the season if you want to lose weight the sooner you start the better, as losing body fat or weight does not happen overnight or just by going to the gym a couple of times here and there.
Whether you want to lose weight to be healthier or if you want to fit back into those fantastic pair of jeans that are a little too tight then read on as no matter your reason you will want to lose the weight in a healthy way, benefits…the weight will stay off.
Firstly, you need to have a think about what your motivation is and how you are going to achieve your goals:
Goals and motivation
- Is your goal weight loss/fat loss/tone up/muscle definition/increase muscle?
- Time frame (weeks/months) – is there a particular event you are aiming for?
- How much time do you have?
- What type of exercises do you enjoy? (if you choose something you don’t like you are unlikely to stick to it).
The answers to the above will help with knowing what type of exercises you need to do, how often and how you are going to stay motivated.
If your goal is to lose weight, think about what it is you are actually trying to achieve, most of the time it is not the number on the scale that bothers us it is the wobbly bits, or extra flesh (muffin tops etc) and that means you would be better off thinking of your goal in terms of losing fat.
The biggest mistake I see people make is when they believe that the best way to lose weight is to diet by drastically reducing what they are eating – this is very common especially when they want to drop the pounds fast. Dieting may lead to an initial weight loss but it must be done in a healthy way, obviously if you are overeating then reducing what you eat is a good idea but you need to look at what is being eaten and reduce the “unhealthy” foods and increase the “healthy” foods. There is obviously more to it than that but that is another article all by itself.
The problem with dieting is that it is not sustainable, therefore if you stop your diet you are likely to put the pounds back on and and fast!
Quick Weight Loss
If this is what you are after then you need to know that the weight you lose is more likely going to be water weight, so the weight loss won’t be permanent.
Still if it is quick loss you are after here are a few tips:
Zero calories, reduces water retention, helps flush out toxins. This should be your drink of choice, the benefits are numerous and is not costly and can be found pretty much anywhere.
Reduce your carbs
Many people will say cut them out altogether but I think reducing them is better as you need carbs in your diet and afterall the only way we want to lose weight is the healthy way. So cut back on breads, pastas etc.
Salt can cause you to retain water which can give you a bloated puffy look, so reduce the amount of salt in your diet. It is important that you do have salt but check what’s already in your food before you add more, you may be surprised at the amount of salt that is already added.
A great way of cleansing your system and flushing out toxins. Detoxing doesn’t mean having to go on a liquid diet, there are different things you can do to help your body detox, whether it’s using superfoods or drinking green tea.
Increase your exercise frequency and intensity
If you exercise infrequently or take 1 class a week then by adding in more exercise and at a higher intensity you will see results in a shorter amount of time.
Longer term weight loss
For those of you who want to lose some weight and keep it off then you need to make some lifestyle changes. There are really only 2 things you need to do to lose weight it sounds simple and there is no reason it shouldn’t be if you commit to achieving your goals. So the 2 key areas::
Your diet, i.e. what you eat is going to be one of the major contributors to your results, you may have heard the saying that losing weight is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. This is true, no matter how much you exercise if your diet isn’t right then you may not see results, plus when you start exercising your appetite will increase and what you eat makes a big difference. These days everybody is busy and preparing and cooking meals takes time and eats into the little spare time people have. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be time consuming, it’s about making the right choices of foods, stay away from the processed foods, I like to think of iot about eating more natural foods and staying away from man made foods. So go for more fruits, vegetables, good quality meats and fish and stay away from the refined sugars, processed meats, trans fats etc.
The Healthy Eating Plate is a great visual way to see what food groups you should be eating and in what kind of proportion.
Look at how much you are eating and the types of food you are eating. The estimated daily average calorie intake for women is 2000 and 2500 for men, this is an estimate and will depend on your age, height, body composition and how much activity you do. If you consume more calories than you expend these calories turn into fat.
If you already exercise but still not losing weight then it may be your diet that needs to be looked at, but if you are eating healthy and proper portions etc then the only adjustments you need to make would be to your exercise routine.
Are you exercising enough?
You may already be exercising and therefore wondering what you can do to increase your weight loss, or even if you are not exercising and thinking about starting, the following tips should be kept in mind:
Intensity – This is key! The intensity you put into your exercises will show with your results, if you are going to exercise then commit 100% and the more effort you put in the quicker the results. Going for a jog is all good but push yourself to your limit, increase the intensity so you are pushing yourself, if you are just going through the motions and don’t push yourself then your body won’t adapt as it won’t be challenged.
You don’t have to go high intensity all the time, in fact it is recommended you only do HIT| once or twice per week, but it is a great way of getting a workout done in less time and getting faster results.
Frequency – Once a week work out is not good enough, it just won’t cut it, you need to be working out 5 times per week with 2 days rest. How you split these workouts up is up to you.
Consistency – Working out for 5 days a week and having two days off is great but it needs to be consistent, you cannot then take a week or two off and then do another few sessions and take time off. Well, you can but if you do you are unlikely to see any results. Your body needs to be constantly challenged. You should be aiming to work out 5 days per week for approx 4-6 weeks and then you can take a week off where you have a week of active rest.
What exercises are you doing?
Cardio – Always hailed as the best fat loss exercise, this is true but you don’t just want to lose fat you want to lose fat and be lean and strong. Cardio is important for you so ensure it is in your program but make sure your program also includes strength training exercises to help you get the lean strong body whilst losing weight.
Strength Training – Strength training actually helps you lose fat, it helps boost your metabolism and your body will be burning off calories even after you have finished exercising. You don’t need to join a gym you can do strength training with your own bodyweight, squats, push ups etc, and there are plenty of different workouts to choose from that will help you get started.
Combination – Combine both strength and cardio into your one workout, you can split your workouts up so you do 3 days a week cardio 2 days strength or visa versa or combine them both e.g circuit training.
Sports – Sometimes exercising in its traditional form can be a bit boring for some people and therefore has a higher drop out percentage. If you prefer doing something that feels less like exercising then why not take up some kind of sport, cycling, tennis, squash, swimming, kayaking, baseball, horse riding, rock climbing etc, there are all types of sports out there that you can choose from.
Whatever your goals and reasons for wanting to lose weight, it can be done, just don’t give up.