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The desire to lose a couple of pounds is such a common one these days. But some people go about it the wrong way.
Losing weight is a balance of two things, diet and exercise. Many people either do one or the other, but it's the combination of both of these factors that gives you results.
Like most things, it's important to set a goal and S.M.A.R.T goals are the best. By giving yourself a main target and then small targets along the way to measure progression, you can stay on track and stay motivated. It's also super satisfying when you reach each of those smaller goals, knowing you're one step closer to the finish!!! When deciding on your goal, keep in mind that the recommended weight loss per week is between 1-2 pounds. This can give you a relative time frame. For example, to lose say 10 pounds, it would take roughly 5-10 weeks. Now this seems like a lot of time and this is where one of the big problems lies. Some people try to lose too much weight in the first couple of weeks, and they get very close to their goals, but end up falling short because they say it's too hard. In some cases, they end up putting on even more weight after this period, which is terrible!! Reaching your goal may take a while but it's worth it!!
Diet makes up one half of the plan to lose weight. It's important to try and maintain a balanced and healthy diet whilst you shave off a couple of pounds. So here are a few suggestions to help:
Drink lots of water.
The average man should be drinking 3.7 liters and the average women should be drinking 2.7 liters per day. This gives you a rough guide line to work with, although it's great if you drink more. A lot of the time when you're hungry, you pick up a little snack to try and calm your stomach. Instead, try having a glass of water. Most of the time just a glass or two of some good aqua can really calm those cravings you have, and there are no calories in water!!
Eat plenty of fruit/veg.
Unfortunately, sometimes drinking some water just doesn't cut it, and you're left still feeling hungry. In these cases, I'd suggest a nice fruity snack, maybe an apple or banana. Fruit in my opinion is great! It's low in calories and fat whilst being high in fibre and vitamins. So it's got few bad things and lots of good things, and the same is true of vegetables. Plus the fibre in fruit and veg helps you feel fuller for longer. It's recommended that you have five different coloured fruit/veg a day—this way you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Try out low calorie options.
I'll admit that calorie counting can be tedious and difficult to do—that's why I don't really do it even when I'm trying to lose weight. However, I do try to pick out lower calorie options for things I eat daily. For example, my coffee; I try having it black so there are very few calories, instead of having it with milk. Or if I am having milk in say cereal or porridge, I go with almond or coconut knowing they have less calories than cow's milk. These changes build up and eventually you are shaving a good few calories off your total intake.
Working out fits hand in hand with dieting when trying to lose some weight. After all it means you are burning more calories which results in weight loss. Here is some advice for exercise with weight loss in mind:
Most people instantly go for cardio when they are thinking of weight loss, but actually weight training can help massively. You don't need to become like the Incredible Hulk, but adding a bit more muscle will increase your metabolic rate as muscles burn more calories. As well as this, the afterburn effect from a good weights session means you could be burning calories at a good rate for up to 48 hours after the workout.
Unfortunately there is no way of getting out of it—to lose weight cardio is still important. High intensity cardio is great for burning calories fast and so will assist with the target of weight loss. If you are using cardio equipment, try out interval training. This is a type of cardio training where you do high intensity work for a short time followed by a lower intensity active rest. It keeps the heart rate high and gets the metabolism going. For example, if you're using the rower, try 20 seconds of going as fast as you can possibly go, then 40 seconds of easy/medium effort, but don't stop. Keep repeating until your cardio workout is done (between 20-30 minutes, including a warm up and cool down). If you get bored easily, then I'd suggest a cardio based class. HIIT is a great one. This will provide plenty of variety so you won't get bored, and it keeps the heart rate high throughout the whole class!!
To ensure you reach your goal, it's important to maintain an acceptable frequency of exercise. Try to go to the gym two to three times a week, doing both weights and cardio in each session. If you feel comfortable, you can add more sessions to your week or go for a run every other day. Also try to have a more active lifestyle, things like walking to places rather than driving if they are within a short distance. Or taking the stairs where you normally use the escalator. You'll find the little things build up and help with reaching the end result.
I hope you found these tips to losing weight helpful and enjoyed the read. Although I'm a personal trainer, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist, so I haven't given any advice on particular foods that could help in losing weight. If you do have any questions about anything fitness related, contact me with [email protected] and I'll try my best to help.
Joshua Herbert at www.joshpt.co.uk