Obesity rates are rising throughout the western world. For most of us, that means that many of us have a pound or few to lose. These days, being a little overweight is almost perceived as normal. However, we all know that to maintain a healthy life we should be keeping our weight in the healthy range. Failure to do this leads to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and many other unpleasant health issues.
We are all so used to instant gratification that it can be hard for any of us to get into better eating and exercising routines. We all want the weight to fall off yesterday and to look and feel like we did 10 years, or 10 pounds, ago. The best way to lose weight successfully for the long term is to start with a sensible eating plan and stick to it.
Lose Weight Naturally
For those who are seeking a healthy lifestyle, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will have you glowing and full of energy in no time. Fresh foods prepared at home have much lower levels of fats, sugars and salt, than most foods bought on the run. Preparing food yourself is not only more cost effective but also allows you to have a better idea of the calories and carbs that you are consuming.
Fresh vegetables, nuts, fruits, and in particular, berries are full of antioxidants which have many health benefits. Natural foods such as cocoa beans, and chocolate, in particular, but also green tea and red wine (in moderation), are extremely high in flavonoids and phenolic acid which have recently been found to reduce fat secreting enzymes and triglyceride production in the fat cells of lab mice.
To lose weight naturally and safely is a fairly basic equation: eat less fuel than you are burning off. What does this mean? Eat less than you usually do, and exercise more than you usually do. Having said this, it is important that you maintain this ratio in a healthy balance. No one can exist forever on lettuce leaves and run 5 miles daily. Taking diets and exercising to extremes is not healthy, will burn you out, and leave you extremely bored and feeling dissatisfied.
A varied healthy diet and an exercise routine that you enjoy will be far more successful in the weeks ahead than a harsh diet with an unpleasant exercise component that you can’t maintain long term. Harsh diets and dreaded exercise routines will only led to broken diets and rebound weight gain. Generally the results of those diets are weighing more in the end than you did before you started.
Committing to a healthy and sensible lifestyle will enable you to maintain it long term. This will lead to permanent weight loss and not yo-yo dieting.
How To Lose Weight Safely
Slow and steady wins the weight loss race. Yes, we all want to drop a dress size overnight, but this will never happen safely. Fad diets and pills that claim to allow you lose ridiculous amounts of weight fast do sound tempting and better still, easy. However, they are never safe weight loss options. Generally, all you lose short term is muscle tone and fluid. The minute you rehydrate yourself, the pounds go straight back on.
It is important to not lose your muscle tone. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in a day. Another way of thinking about it is, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. This is clearly a win-win situation for everyone. Combining some muscle resistance into your workout routine will not only having you looking more toned and terrific, but the extra muscle will be doing your metabolism a great favor.
Harsh low carb diets can be dangerous in the long term as the body starts to burn up muscle as fuel. While low carb diets can allow you to drop weight quite quickly initially, losing your muscle in the long term is counter productive to permanent weight loss.
Most diet experts agree that a safe weight loss goal is 1-2 pounds per week.
Easy Tips To Lose Weight
* drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Not only will the water prevent you from becoming dehydrated while working out, the water will assist your body in flushing all those toxins out that are being broken down from the stored fat cells. Drinking plenty of water can also help alleviate the hunger pangs a little. Anyone participating in a low carb diet (less than 100 carbs daily) definitely needs to keep their fluid levels up to minimize kidney damage.
* exercise first thing in the morning. Many people swear by exercising before breakfast. The theory behind this is that your body is forced to burn up stored fat as there is no energy floating around your body from consumed food.
* don’t eat for an hour before or after exercising. This is similar to the theory above, where your body is forced to burn stored fat for its energy rather than whatever you have just put in your mouth.
* eat every 3-4 hours. Smaller portions broken up into meals every 3-4 hours is better for your metabolism than 3 big meals spaced further apart. When you body is receiving a constant supply of food it is happy to start burning fat as it realizes there is more food coming. However, once you go past the 4 hour mark your body instantly goes into starvation mode and clings to every last calorie that hits your lips next. For the doubters out there, take a good look at those you know who constantly seem to be eating and are super thin. Then there are the others who hardly eat a thing and gain weight just by looking at food. Having said this, we are not saying that you should eat 6 huge meals daily, rather divide what you used to eat during the day into 5 smaller portions. Better still, have 3 smaller meals, and 2-3 super healthy snacks, such as fruit or vegetables or low fat cottage cheese.
* weigh yourself weekly first thing in the morning. Most people’s weight fluctuates through a day or week. Select a day of the week to weigh yourself and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to jump on the scales every day, or twice daily, as you will only end up being discouraged. Don’t forget that all that water you are drinking actually weighs something on those scales!
* measure inches rather than pounds. Muscle weighs more than those flabby bits. Once you start toning up it can be disconcerting if you stop losing weight off the scales or even start to weigh more. This is where the tape measure and clothes come in. If you are looking better in your clothes then you are still losing fat overall. Your waist and hips may still be getting smaller but the muscle you are building up is weighing more. Another good reason to not become obsessed by the bathroom scales.
* incorporating lean protein into each meal is a great tip for leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Diets rich in good quality lean protein, for example, chicken, fish, or low fat cottage cheese, have also been proven to be effective in keeping the lost pounds off.
No successful weight loss campaign is complete without mentioning exercise. Exercising not only burns calories, but if done correctly can speed your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you have finished. A workout routine that incorporates an aerobic component and some resistance work is going to be best for losing those inches. The aerobic component will burn the calories and fat, and the resistance component will increase your muscle, allowing your metabolism to be more effective.
You should be exercising 3-4 times weekly minimum. Start off slowly and build your times up. Warm ups and cool downs are essential for minimizing muscle strains and injuries. Once you start becoming used to your workout you will need to up the intensity and times to achieve the same benefits. Concentrate on reaching your target heart rate and staying in the correct zone for aerobic or fat burning. These charts are easy to obtain online and are posted in most gyms.
If you are considerably overweight or out of condition you should seek a medical clearance before starting off around the block in your running shoes.
Select an exercise that you actually enjoy for maximum pleasure. This will also reduce your chances of giving up.
Exercise with a buddy for extra encouragement if you need it. Socialising and exercising at the same time will help the time go faster and not seem so hard.
Include the whole family in such pursuits as walking the dog, skating, roller-blading, skiing, running, or just playing. Every extra bit of movement will be burning more calories.
A weekly workout with a few different activities lessens the chances of injuries and boredom. Mix it up a bit. Try some of these exercises:
* Walking is an effective way of burning calories and fat. Walking is a free activity that is low impact on the joints and a great place to start for those who haven’t exercised for a while. Walking is also great for warming up and cooling down before running and jogging.
* Jogging is great form of aerobic exercise for those with some level of fitness. As time goes by you will be able to pick up the pace and increase your distance.
* Skipping rope is another great and cost effective way to shed those pounds. 10 minutes of skipping rope is equivalent to a 30 minute jog. Great for the time challenged and a portable piece of exercise equipment. Also invaluable for when the weather prevents running and walking outside.
* Weights and bands are great for strength and resistance work. Depending on your budget, you can either workout at home or in a fitness club. There are numerous DVDs out there to give you some workout tips. Strength training can either be incorporated with an aerobic workout or performed separately on a different day.
* Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise with minimum impact on sore joints like knees and hips. A vigorous swim will burn calories and can make a nice change from a jog or walk.
* Aqua aerobics is the perfect solution for those with joint problems, rehabilitation, pregnant ladies, and the elderly or unfit. The water acts as both a cushion for the joints and resistance for the muscles. Highly recommended for those who have difficulties exercising without encountering discomfort.
* Exercise bikes are highly effective ways of burning the calories and the fat. The great advantage to exercise bikes is that you can install one at home and pedal away at all hours of the day and night when the gym may be closed. Exercise bikes also make a great option when the weather is too nasty to exercise outdoors. Nowadays, exercise bikes have plenty of built-in programs to prevent boredom setting in and you can see how many miles you have pedaled and how much of your lunch or dinner you have burned up. Heart monitors can make these calculations even more accurate. For those with lower back problems recumbent exercise bikes are probably a better choice. These are a little more like sitting in a proper chair and correct posture of the lower back is maintained. They are also easier to step through to get on and off.
There is no quick and easy way to lose weight successfully and permanently. A sensible and healthy diet combined with exercise 3-4 times weekly at minimum is the best formula. Once you become accustomed to the workouts you will enjoy them and miss them when you can’t do them.
Select exercise routines that you enjoy and this will make it easier for you to participate.
Crash dieting and fad diets are dangerous for your health and only result in less muscle tone, slowing down your resting metabolism. The more muscle tone you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.
Permanent weight loss is a lifestyle decision incorporating pleasurable workouts with a healthy and fresh diet. Once you start to reap the benefits you will be highly motivated to continue.