The Revolution in Fat Loss
It’s nearing the end of another year and conversations are naturally gravitating towards New Year’s resolutions. Talk of reflection, optimism, inner growth and overall improvement are on the tip of everyone’s tongue. I think it’s safe to say though that, after joyfully eating through the holidays each year, many people resolve to achieve a healthier weight in the new year.
However, weight loss doesn’t happen just because there’s now a gym key fob on a car key ring. It isn’t magically packed in a bottle of pills and it isn’t achieved based on wishful thinking. A real effort has to be given and maintained over an extended period of time to truly accomplish better health and permanent weight loss.
In order to be part of the small percentage of people who succeed in their New Year’s Revolution, here are several proven practices that jumpstart and sustain a healthier lifestyle.
First of all, stay true to yourself and the goals you’ve set. Outside influences can sometimes be a difficult barrier to overcome. Just because you’ve decided to make changes doesn’t mean others will always understand. Remind yourself that it’s OK
to graciously decline when people offer things that potentially hinder your goals. Whether it’s eating out or skipping a workout, don’t let others deter you from the lifestyle you want.
Being mindful of a healthy diet throughout 80% of your meals will not only help create positive physical changes but it assists with a positive mental outlook as well.
Everyone has a food/guilty pleasure that makes their heart and tummy sing. There’s nothing wrong with an indulgence every now and then. Cheat days can help you from feeling deprived which prevents binging. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has cheat days! However, long-term weight loss results can only truly be achieved through portion control and a genuine dedication to eating clean and healthy.
Clean eating simply means focusing on “real” and whole foods. Foods such as fresh or frozen vegetables (avoid canned because of preservatives and lost nutrition), lean meats (such as chicken and fish), healthy fats and complex carbs will expedite weight loss, muscle gain and overall health.
3. RESISTANCE TRAINING IS KEY
Strengthening and conditioning muscles are the quickest way to see positive results. Not only will lifting weights help burn fat and crank up your metabolism, it also creates power and stability within your core. This helps to prevent injury while also improving posture.
Working out 2-3 times a week with traditional free weight exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, squats, rows, pull-ups and lunges creates a full body routine that you can easily maintain.
4. AEROBIC EXERCISE! YOUR LOW-CARDIO FRIEND
Many people assume that more intense cardio is the way to go but because of the way oxygen is dispersed throughout the body during aerobic exercise, healthier brain and heart functions are a benefit along with the body’s ability to burn more fat. This occurs at a steady heart rate of 120-150 bpm for about 30-45 min. Exercises such as jogging, rowing, biking and hikes, 1-2 days a week, will keep your body in fat burn mode without exhausting yourself.
5. STAY HYDRATED
Thirst is your body’s signal for needing hydration. In today’s society there too many unhealthy options to choose from so the golden rule is to choose water. Think twice about chemically sugared sodas, energy drinks and sweet coffees with a lot of fat.
Water intake is very important when trying to achieve weight loss goals. It keeps your blood circulating which helps during workouts, keeps your skin elastic as you begin to lose weight, assists with maintaining a higher metabolism and helps your body flushes out toxins.
The more active you are, the more water you should consume. The easiest way to gauge your hydration is to make sure your urine is mostly clear. Pee check ladies and gentleman!
6. RELAXATION = RECHARGING
Whether it’s early in the morning, after a workout, during lunch or before bed, make sure you’re giving yourself proper time to unwind. Too much stress can heighten cortisol levels creating a ton of negative side effects such as weight gain and poor muscle recovery.
Turning off your phone to sit quietly in the dark, a leisurely walk with your thoughts, soft music, breathing techniques, yoga or meditation are all good examples of allowing your body to take a break and recharge. 10 minutes of relaxation each day allows your body to re-connect with your mind and helps you to better achieve your goals.
7. PROPER REST IS THE BEST
Sleep gives your body time to recover from fatigue and exhaustion. Without enough rest, your goals become harder to meet because your muscles cannot fully recover. Inadequate sleep has also been associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And let’s be honest, who wants to hear the phrase, “Gosh, you look TIRED.” It’s never been a compliment.
Don’t expect to turn out the lights and hit the pillow blissfully either. As I previously mentioned, relaxation is key. Making a point to disconnect from the online world and tv before bed greatly improves your sleep environment. It allows you to mentally unwind and prepare yourself for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night.
Other things to keep in mind for a good night’s sleep are avoiding caffeinated beverages later in the day and creating a sleep space that lets your body easy fall into deep slumber. Cooler, darker and quiet bedrooms can be beneficial to make you feel like a happy bear who’s hibernating.
Hard work and determination will get you to your weight loss goals but these tips will support the cause. Think about it, Batman is still Batman but when he’s got his utility belt full of gadgets and doodads, he’s even more unstoppable.
Good luck to everyone with their New Year’s weight loss Revolutions!
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