It’s that time of year again when everyone wants to lose a few pounds, to get ready for summer and no doubt there will be an array of diets in the media. Many of these diets are unrealistic for the average individual due to not being able to afford countless ingredients, having the time to make meals that require a a lot of prep is difficult, or the diets that restrict the intake of food can be hard to maintain. Not only are they unrealistic, but they’re incredibly bad for you. If you do manage to lose weight on them it’s only a matter of time before you put it back on.
What’s my take on quick ways to lose weight for summer? It’s the right way, and by that I mean it’s the healthy way.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to weight loss, as many people take the approach of less food and huge amounts of cardio. This couldn’t be more wrong. The main contributor to weight loss is in your food. Quite possibly the reason you’re not losing any weight is that you’re not eating enough. You should aim to have three main meals, three snacks and eight glasses of water each day. You’re made up of roughly 70% water, so it is essential to try and drink at least eight cups a day. It will help flush out toxins, is great for your skin and your heart, boosts your energy levels, and helps aid digestion. So drink up!
While cardio is important for weight loss, it’s a combination of strength work and cardio that have the most impact on weight when it comes to exercise. When you strengthen and build your muscles your body will burn off more calories while you’re doing nothing, as it increases your metabolism. Now I know a lot of women don’t like to do a lot of strength training because they don’t want to get “bulky” but you need not worry about that. Women’s muscles are completely different than men’s and are naturally smaller, so you’ll feel stronger be more toned and have less fat. Why would you not want that?
Exercise should be enjoyable. It should be fun and something you look forward to. If you don’t like the gym or don’t have a huge amount of time spare to attend classes, there are plenty of at home workouts available online that don’t require equipment or take up too much of your day. Check out this great beginner’s guide to at home workouts:
If you can afford a gym membership, try out a variety of classes and see which ones you like best. There are all kinds of classes out there, from beginners to advanced, from Zumba to Combat. If you can get a friend or family member to go with you, that will make it even more enjoyable!
It goes without saying that food is by far one of the hardest things to have full control over thanks to the un-ending amount of temptation and media fixations. There are so many labels and articles saying to eat something one week and then next week it says to avoid it like the plague. It’s confusing right?
A great way to start adjusting to healthy eating is to not go mad all at once. It’s the gradual approach that works best. As opposed to eliminating foods, try substituting food instead. When it comes to rice and pasta, opt for the brown versions, as they’re higher in fiber and generally a whole lot better for you. The same goes for bread–swap the white bread for some whole meal; it tastes so much better with less calories! You can also swap those white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Add vegetables to your meals, try some salads, try to eat fruit in between your meals to stop snacking on food that aren’t helping your waistline!
If you eat properly throughout your day, ensuring you eat decent-sized meals that are full of nutrients and vitamins and have healthy snacks you’ll be less like to go on a late night food bender. After dinner have a snack prepared to eat later, so you’re not tempted to just grab a load of biscuits or that last slice of cake. It’s perfectly fine to have something sweet during the day and have a cheat meal every now and again–the key is moderation!
Emotional eating is becoming increasingly more popular due to the stressful nature of our lifestyles. Exercise will help reduce stress, and eating healthier will no doubt make you feel better, but we all still have those days when we just feel down and don’t want to do anything but eat a tub of ice cream, devour a cake, or order a deep-dish pizza and watch our favourite movies. The key to dealing with emotional eating is to consciously take control of the situation. When you’re just about to delve into whatever you’ve chosen, walk away and run a bath, paint your nails, or simply step outside, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself if you really want to eat it.
If you really struggle with controlling you’re eating I would advise you to keep a food log. Record everything you’ve consumed each day and at the end of every day write how this made you feel, whether it was a good day or a bad day so when you feel like eating because of your emotions you can read it and write down what it is you want to eat and why. Chances are that once you’ve walked away and taken control, you’ll realize you didn’t actually want it in the first place.
Also ensure that you’re getting enough sleep. You should be aiming to get between 7-8 hours per night. This will help also help reduce stress and make you feel more energized and refreshed during the day. Those who tend to have less or worse quality of sleep find it more difficult to concentrate and do simple day to day tasks. This has a negative impact on how they feel and can lead to emotional eating habits. Get into a routine, with exercise, the times you eat, go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, and try to avoid using your phone while in bed. You’ll soon develop a healthy sleeping pattern and have a good night sleep every night!
So, here’s a summary of all that:
- You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.
- Enjoy your exercise, aim to combine strength with cardio three times a week for 30-60 minutes.
- Eat three meals a day and snack in between.
- Water is your new best friend. Drink it!
- Avoid late-night binging.
- Take control of emotional eating.
- Get at least 7-8 hours sleep per night.
Follow these 7 simple steps and you’ll have that summer body you’ve always desired. By doing it this way you’ll inevitably change your lifestyle for the better and reap a number health benefits that come from eating right and exercising, what you’ll look like is just a bonus! And don’t forget to have fun!