I am taking a detour from my recent home and food path. Today we are covering modern living. Life seems to become more demanding every day. For many people, health, nutrition, and exercise seem to be a luxury item in their calendar that can be cast aside. If we stop to consider that our body is the tool we use to carry out our mind’s work, we might take better care of it. You can’t run a car without proper maintenance and fuel.
With the summer months coming up fast, I thought this might be a good time to put a reminder out there if you, like so many others, have been thinking, “I really need to lose ____ lbs before summer begins.”Sound familiar? Just ahead you will find the basics. Please keep in mind these are basics. You might need more information. I will be happy to field any questions.
Before you start:
Set realistic expectations. You are not a Hollywood star (unless, of course, you are a Hollywood star). They have time, “people”, and lots of money to get their desired results. They also get paid to look good. Don’t compare yourself. It will never work. Just be the best you that you can be.
You will have to work…sometimes hard, sometimes when you don’t want to work.
You are not going to lose all the weight in one week. I am going to guess it took you more than one week to find it. With hard work and diligence, 2 pounds per week is a realistic goal for us normal folks.
I estimate that the key to maintaining a healthy weight is about 80% nutrition. Recently, I was at a meeting where I overheard some colleagues discussing weight loss. One of them declared how hungry she was because she has been doing “the cabbage soup diet”.Seriously?You have heard it before…diets don’t work. You must change your mind. Eating and living well is not a phase. It’s a lifestyle change.
Eat more often, weigh less. You have probably heard it before but were afraid to try it. I promise it works. By eating smaller amounts of the right foods you keep your “fat furnace” going. I recommend six small meals per day spaced 2-3 hours apart. You may want to make one of them a little larger if you are eating your family meal. Just be careful not to overdo it.
Maintain a balanced food plan. I have said before how strongly I believe in “all things in moderation”.Food is no exception. Nobody should be eating no carbs, or no protein, or no fat. Our bodies are made up of what we put in it. You need to eat a variety of things to get all of the nutrients that sustain a healthy body. Your meals should be comprised of some carbs and some protein and a small amount of fats are fine, too. The key here is to eat the right kinds of things. There is a great deal of information available on the web. Choose trusted sources.
I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing how to read food labels. Get familiar with terms and know what you are eating. Your goal should always be to incorporate as many raw ingredients as possible into your recipes. That doesn’t mean you should never use anything processed. Just strive to keep it real. Include many fruits and vegetables. Regardless of the bashing carbs have gotten, I have yet to see someone who got fat eating vegetables. As a simple rule of thumb, color is better.
Simply, lean muscle burns calories. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn.The more calories you burn, the less fat you will have. More lean muscle mass, then, is the gift that keeps giving. Ladies, you do not have to look like a bodybuilder to reap the benefits of this.
Try to incorporate strength training into your fitness plan 3 days a week to start. You can accomplish this with resistance bands, dumbbells, or at the gym if you attend one. If you don’t have any of those things right now begin with some simple calisthenics using your own body weight. The key is to get the muscles moving… without delay.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that you have to train like a marathon runner to get the most from cardio. Most people would benefit greatly from a nightly walk around the block. Mind you, that doesn’t mean taking Fluffy for a stroll. It means a brisk, sustained walk (20-30 minutes should do).
To begin, you should do some sort of cardio at least five days a week. Six days would be better. Try to make each session no less than 20 minutes. However, if you only have 15 minutes, there are studies that indicate that two 15-minute sessions in one day are as effective as one 30-minute session.
You can use whatever method suits you, but find a way to track your progress. A scale is a good start. I also like body fat calipers. It is not necessary for you to be incredibly skilled at taking the measurements. All that is really important is that you take them with some consistency so you can compare results. A simple skinfold caliper is inexpensive and you can even enter your measurements here to do some calculations. Again, knowledge is the key here. Be sure to log your results weekly into some sort of notebook.
Now is the time to revisit that New Year resolution. There are 8 weeks left until Memorial Day. I am officially declaring that “Wear Your Swimsuit Weekend”. Are you up for the challenge? Ready. Steady. Go!