Summer is fast-approaching (even if this unseasonable, even snowy, weather means it doesn't feel like it)! And at this time of year, many of us start to think about getting our bodies fighting fit and beach-ready, especially if Christmas and the Winter months have taken their toll on our waistlines. ;)
Here are some simple tips, and recommendations for easy lifestyle changes, that can help you lose weight and keep it off. The healthiest and most effective method for long-term weight loss combines a nutritious diet with plenty of physical activity.
Getting out and about
Jogging is an effective method of ridding your body of excess fat.
Cardiovascular exercise, like running, gets your heart rate up and keeps it elevated. It is best to do cardiovascular exercise for about 30 minutes, three or four times per week. Some people make the mistake of trying to tone up and increase muscle mass without doing any cardio. This is a mistake because the muscle that you build may remain hidden under a layer of fat.
Using what you've got
Body weight exercises are perfect because they do not require any gym equipment (and are therefore more affordable!). You can use your own body weight to build strength and increase flexibility.
Sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups all use your own body weight to build strength in specific muscle groups. You can easily do these exercises for about 15 minutes each morning and evening. As a reminder, this type of exercise should be combined with cardiovascular exercise for maximum benefit.
You are what you eat
Reducing your daily caloric intake and your consumption of saturated fat, cholesterol and sugar will help you lose weight.
Get your protein from healthy sources, such as plant-based foods which can offer lean, complete and balanced protein. Nutritious, enzyme-rich fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet. They are generally low in fat and calories, yet high in dietary fibre - ideal for both weight loss and a healthy digestive system. Replace unhealthy, processed and chemical-laden foods with nutritious, natural whole foods.
Feel the burn
When it comes to losing weight healthily and keeping it off, your metabolism plays a key role. Consider ways in which you can burn some extra calories each day. Walk the stairs instead of taking the lift. When out shopping, park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of searching for the nearest parking space. Wear ankle weights while vacuuming and doing other household chores. Eventually all these extra burned calories will add up to a natural increase in weight loss.
Many people find that it is easier to stay motivated to exercise if they regularly attend a gym. Certain exercise classes can create a sense of healthy competition and obligation to attend classes regularly. Hiring a trainer at the beginning of your new lifestyle change may also help you to maintain your exercise and diet programmes. Find out what keeps you motivated and use it.
Plan your meals out a week in advance. Make a list to take to the shop and stick to it. Avoid walking through the aisles that are packed with sugary treats, processed foods and tempting unhealthy snacks.
Eating a balanced, healthy diet to reduce your caloric intake and exercising to increase the calories you burn will lead to weight loss - it's as simple as that. Having said that, healthy lifestyle changes will not lead to fast weight loss so be patient. You can lose weight and keep it off for the long-term, if you do it right!