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7 Quick Ways to Lose Weight Before Summer

7 Quick Ways to Lose Weight Before Summer

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    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.

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    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:

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      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?

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      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.

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      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!

      More by this author

      Effective Ways To Stop Negative Thoughts From Getting You Down Get Healthy and In Shape: 15 Diet Myths Debunked! 10 Things Only People With Orthorexia (Eating Disorder) Would Understand When You Start To Pick Up Running, These 13 Amazing Things Will Happen 15 Simple Exercises and 20 Easy Recipes That Keep Your Heart Healthy

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      Published on November 14, 2018

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

      Symptoms of Fatigue

      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
      • mental blocks
      • lack of motivation
      • headache
      • dizziness
      • muscle weakness
      • slowed reflexes and responses
      • impaired decision-making and judgement
      • moodiness, such as irritability
      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
      • reduced immune system function
      • blurry vision
      • short-term memory problems
      • poor concentration
      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

      Causes of Fatigue

      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

      Medical Causes of Fatigue

      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

      Anemia

      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

      Diabetes

      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

      Sleep Apnea

      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

      Thyroid disease

      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

      • Lack of sleep
      • Too much sleep 
      • Alcohol and drugs 
      • Sleep disturbances 
      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
      • Poor diet 

      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

      1. Tell The Truth

      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

      • How you feel
      • What time of day it is
      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
      • How your mind and body reacts

      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

      2. Reduce Your Commitments

      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

      4. Express More Gratitude

      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

      5. Focus On Yourself

      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

      7. Take a Power Nap

      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

      8. Take More Exercise

      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

      9. Get More Quality Sleep

      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

      10. Improve Your Diet

      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

      12. Get Hydrated

      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

      The Bottom Line

      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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