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3 Simple Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

3 Simple Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

As the old saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” I highly agree with this, especially when it comes to weight loss. Unless you’re a bodybuilder, fitness model or trying to trim down for a shoot, as a regular everyday person, it is hard to sustain a lifestyle full of restrictions. Most people that lose weight quick and gain it back just as quick. Sometimes they gain more than what they started with.

I spent three years overseas and gained 18kg/39.6lbs in that time. Mainly due to a lot of partying, eating and just enjoying the good things in life while travelling. Another three years later since my return, I am happy to say that I have lost it all, slowly but surely.

I have also managed to travel, party, eat the foods I love and still make progress. It is such a great feeling to be able to find that balance between all of the things I love and still reach my fitness goals. I wanted to share my three top tips on how I was able to achieve this without any crazy diets, restrictions or having to give up anything I enjoyed.

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Consistency

Such a simple thing but most often forgotten. We don’t need to turn into a gym junkie or eat clean every single meal. Great for those that have that type of discipline, but if you’re anything like me, it just isn’t sustainable.

Start with creating one habit that will help you to reach your goals and keep it realistic and consistent. For me, it was hard to go back to the gym when I hadn’t been in years. I started with small baby steps and eventually built it up over time. I went for a walk once a week, which turned to twice a week. Then I started to run once a week. (When I say run, I really went for a jog).

I started to get bored with that so I decided to try yoga once a week as it wasn’t strenuous and was actually good for my busy mind. This eventually led me to joining a boot camp, fitness groups and then hitting the gym every now and again alone. Now I go to the gym six times a week without anyone training me as I am literally addicted. If you keep consistent, the tiniest bit of effort makes a massive difference, it all adds up over time.

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80/20 Rule

I made a YouTube vlog about this, as it is a rule I absolutely live by in all aspects of my life. Some people do 90/10 but to be honest, I’m not that disciplined and I love food and socialising way too much. I love pizza, pasta, white rice (I am Asian after all) and I love having a nice sugary treat. Donut time is my weakness.

The 80/20 rule means to eat well 80% of the time and the other 20% is to eat whatever you want, not to the point of binge eating where your stomach wants to burst and you feel sick you could throw up, but in moderation. In saying this, I have been known to eat a whole pizza to myself every now and again, but I am also training quite hard so I don’t feel bad about it.

I still ate the food I enjoyed but made small tweaks. Instead of normal pasta, I would use high fibre pasta made of vegetables or even the wholemeal alternative. Instead of white bread, I would use wholemeal or rye and instead of white rice, I switched to brown. I still eat white rice though; it’s in my Filipino blood!

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Keep Busy

Sometimes it can feel like a drag having to work out, especially when you are starting to get back into things. Keep yourself busy so you aren’t on the couch eating snacks all day in front of the TV. Get outdoors, go have coffee with friends, take a walk and listen to music.

For me, I love the outdoors so I am forever chasing waterfalls, hitting the beach, hiking and taking in the beauty of nature. I find that when I am lost in the moment, the last thing on my mind is to stuff my face with food.

Find new hobbies. If you’re meeting up with friends, suggest a nice stroll somewhere scenic, go check out some nature hot spots in your area and just get busy living. You may even find that you enjoy it and it keeps you away from eating out of boredom.

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Weight loss is a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight. It would be great if it did but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. Any progress is till progress and more often than not, other people will notice the difference before we do.

Aim for a lifestyle that is sustainable and you know you can enjoy. It’s not about the destination, it’s about progress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Every thing starts from the first step, no matter how big or small. Take a moment and think about what you can do that will enable you to reach your goal and just do it. As simple as it sounds, I swear it’s true.

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    Featured photo credit: lilmissmaz via instagram.com

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    Published on March 8, 2019

    How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

    How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

    When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

    Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

    Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

    How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

    How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

    Think about your current workouts:

    If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

    In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

    A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

      A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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      Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

      Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

      Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

      Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

      This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

      Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

      Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

      The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

      Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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      Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

      Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

      The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

      The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

      Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

      Meet Strong Stan

      Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

      While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

      While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

      Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

      Meet Flexible Fiona

      Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

      Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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      To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

      Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

      It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

      Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

      Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

      What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

      In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

      In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

      So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

      You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

      If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

      If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

      Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

        Final Thoughts

        If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

        Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

        Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

        With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

        More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

        Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

        Reference

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