Weight Loss 101: Basic Tips to Get You Started
Losing weight is hard for everybody, but here are some tips for beginners to help you get started and help you stick to your fitness routine. Read on.
DEVELOP A HABIT NOT A FITNESS ROUTINE
Ever wonder why some people just dive into their fitness routines with nary a thought while the rest of us need the whole day to debate with ourselves whether to work out or not? The difference lies mostly in the habits we have created. People who are successful with their weight loss have automated healthy habits into their lifestyles. They no longer think about what they should or should not do, they just do it. This makes it harder for them to talk themselves out of working out or talk themselves into eating a bag of chips. Below are some examples of healthy habits to develop:
- Decide to work out at a specific time every day and choose an exercise to do during that time. Start with something ridiculously easy, like 1 push up, something that everyone can do. Gradually increase the number of repetitions.
- Decide to drink a tall glass of water as soon as you wake up.
- Exercise every day for 21 days. Most experts argue that a habit is created once it is done for 21 consecutive days. Create the habit first, think about the fitness routine later. Just do something easy that you enjoy.
SEE A PROFESSIONAL
If you are serious about seeing results and have a little bit of extra cash to burn, it is a good idea to consult professionals regarding your weight loss journey.
- See a personal trainer who can keep you accountable and motivated. Fitness trainers will also be able to develop a program that is appropriate for you, your fitness goals and fitness level.
- A registered dietician can design a diet that is both low calorie and nutritious.
DON’T BUY INTO FADS
Everybody wants to lose at least 10 more pounds. A promise of X number of pounds lost in X number of days gives security and structure to dieters, but does it provide an optimal amount of nutrition? Buying into fads can also leave you frustrated, because these weight loss diets don’t necessarily work for everyone. Take the time to find and research what works for you and tweak your eating habits accordingly.
One of the most effective, but often overlooked ways to lose weight is to just start eating high quality food – food that is natural, fresh and unprocessed. It is easy to understand why most people would rather starve and religiously count calories than eat properly, as eating healthy does not necessarily promise rapid weight loss. There IS weight loss though – it is often gradual and slow but long lasting. Once you’ve learned how to take care of your body by eating only what is healthy, you’ll never have to “crash diet” ever again.
SUPER OBVIOUS WEIGHT LOSS SECRET: PORTIONS
This is the part that most people, whatever diet they are on, struggle with – portions. It seems obvious enough that if you want to lose weight you should control your portions, especially with meat, but it’s just so easy to overestimate the amount of food we actually NEED. Here are some tips to help with portioning your food:
- Use small plates. You will still feel satisfied knowing you finished a whole plate of food, just not a plate the size of Texas.
- Eat one food group at a time, starting with veggies. Resist the temptation to put all of your food onto your plate at the same time in the guise of convenience. Eating veggies and fluids first will fill you up, causing you to reach for less starch and protein.
- GET MOVING
HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
Most beginners start at the treadmill, but the problem starts when they never progress from the treadmill. A better way to approach your cardiovascular training is to do high intensity interval training. It burns more fat than both sustained low intensity and high intensity training. Traditional HIIT means you cycle between a minute of high intensity activity and two minutes of low intensity activity. You can start with jogging for a minute and walking for two. Another plus, the ideal amount of time for HIIT is only 20-30 minutes.
Before the advent of exercise programs, such as CrossFit, people shied away from strength training and lifting weights in the fear of “bulking up”. If all the lean and mean bodies of all crossfitters are any indication, strength training definitely does not bulk you up. To maximize your strength training, engage in compound exercises. Compound exercises, like planks and lunges, work multiple major muscle groups while isolated exercises work only one muscle group at a time. The best thing about strength training is that it can actually change your metabolism. You read that right – you CAN change your once slow metabolism. More muscle means more energy is needed to run your body on a basal level which leads to even more rapid weight loss.
INCLUDE A REST DAY
We discussed the importance of working out every day for the first 21 days, just to create a habit. During these 21 days it is important to remember that you must include at least 1 or 2 “rest days” every week. These rest days should include low intensity activities, such as restorative yoga or walking. The purpose of these rest days is to support your exercise habit while giving your body enough time to recover and build muscle.
- STAYING MOTIVATED
DECIDE THAT YOU’RE DOING THIS FOR HEALTH NOT VANITY
It’s quite hard to stay motivated through your weight loss journey. That’s the reason why so many people quit way before they see results. To help you chart the course you must adapt the proper mindset for good health and weight loss. Decide early on in your journey that you are doing this for your health, which is a long term goal and not just for vanity, because you’re always going to be dissatisfied with your body if you do that.
Also, LOVE THE BODY YOU ARE IN. Most people will not get this. The whole reason why you want to lose weight is because you hate the body you are in now, right? Well, let me tell you this, as long as you DO NOT love the body you are in you are not likely to feed it well, provide it with the exercise that it needs and you are always going to subject your body to unhealthy weight loss practices that end up back firing on you.
The next time you are debating your food choices or whether you should work out or not, look yourself in the mirror and say: “You are a good body that has served me perfectly and you deserve to be fit and healthy”. Do you feel how motivating that is as compared to “Oh my god, should I really be eating more bread?”
Love your body and it will love you back.