21 August 2012

How to Lose Weight

Obesity rates are on the rise. People want to know how to lose weight, and some are trying to, however, society is not letting them. This is as society is putting more and more obstacles in the way of losing weight. It now seems that it is wrong for our bodies to ever feel hunger, but really this is totally normal and our bodies are equipped to handle this.

There are so many advertisements around telling you about these unhealthy foods and how you need to try them and mentioning how cheap they are. And in comparison, unhealthy foods are relatively cheap, whilst the healthier options (for instance: fruits and veg) are a bit more on the pricey side. That's not to say that it's only because of society that a person is overweight, that's not true, there can be many factors that contribute towards a persons weight. These tips are known to work it's just making sure that you stick to them.

1. Exercise

Exercise is essential for wanting to lose weight. Exercise is great for helping shed those calories and helps to speed up metabolism, which is what burns the majority of calories. Adults are recommended to do at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise 5-7 days a week, whilst overweight and obese people should aim for 60 minutes and upwards.  
There are so many different forms exercise can take, so there should be one for you somewhere. That could be in the form of swimming, cycling, running, etc.

You may be thinking "I don't have 20 minutes to spare, let alone 30 minutes or more". Well this is common for many people, but the good thing is you can break it up into smaller chunks as long as you manage to hit your guideline for the day. For example, you may decide to do a 10 minute walk to work and a 10 minute walk back from work. That then only leaves the remainder of your time to spend doing something else. 

Try adapting to a more physically engaging lifestyle; try walking instead of taking the car or bus, or take up cycling, take stairs instead of lifts, take regular short-session intervals for something as small as 5 minutes of activity. Maybe even join a club. Over time it really does do your body good. 

2. Drink water

What you drink also plays a vital part in weight reduction as well, so sugary drinks are best to be avoided. If you like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage then try to limit the amount you have or stop completely. Water is the best liquid to go with and helps with metabolism. In fact one way to see a reduction in calorie consumption is simply to switch to water as being your 'main drink'.  
You can read more about drinking water here: 10 Reasons for Drinking Water.

3. Eat healthier

Eating healthier is something that, if you're serious about weight loss, will need to be implemented into your life. The truth is that your body needs vitamins and minerals to help sustain it and keep it functioning properly, not to mention helping with metabolism. 

Sugary foods and fatty foods are the big contributors to weight gain so cutting these out of your diet, or at least limiting their intake will definitely be beneficial.
If possible, try and get your recommended 5-fruits-and-veg a day. They are very low in calories and are great for snacks. 

4. Watch your calorie intake

You're body naturally burns calories, the majority is done through sleeping, but it is affected about what you do during the day. If you're consuming more calories per day than your body is burning then you are inevitably going to gain weight and not lose it. A lot of people who are doing this will not even realise the amount of calories they're taking in. When I started to have a look on the nutritional labels on the sides of food packaging, I was shocked about how easy it is to consume more than your daily calorie intake-guideline. Healthier foods seem to be lower in calories and so are the ones to go for, and they provide a steady energy use throughout the day.
Men's guideline intake of calories is 2,500. Women's calorie intake is 2,000 per day. 

5. Don't suddenly change your lifestyle

Your body will not adapt well to all of these sudden changes if you drastically change what you're doing. When wanting to train-up for a marathon without having any running experience, you don't just start by trying to do 26 miles. You slowly build up to that, maybe only starting with half a mile until your body has adapted to the change you are making.
So with trying to lose weight, for a lot of people anyway, a gradual change should be made so as to adapt better to the changes. This will keep you more inclined to keep these new good habits.

It's definitely possible to make a lot of big sudden changes and stick with them, however, only more disciplined people can do it this way. It is the quickest way though, but the way that isn't normally stuck to with most people.

If you do decide to start by making a gradual change to your lifestyle, don't let your self make excuses and allow lots of bad habits to continue because your making a gradual change. The emphasis shouldn't be on the gradual (because that could cause you to be very gradual about the process) but on the change, which is after all what you're after. Also a gradual change doesn't mean that you can't set challenging goals, just not as big as a full-blown lifestyle turn-around.  

6. Eat breakfast

Despite the rumour floating around that avoiding breakfast is good for you - it's not. Breakfast is essential for kick-starting your day and providing you with the energy your body needs. Whilst you sleep your metabolism will slow down and by having breakfast in the morning will help to get it going for another day. If you do miss breakfast you can lose fat, however, your body can also start to break down muscle as a a source of energy and that's not good. Having more muscle will mean there is less space for fat (if you don't eat excessively and do exercise) and actually helps with the promotion of a healthy metabolism, making burning fat easier.

7. Stop snacking

This is where a lot of people trip up and I can see why. Snacking is an incredibly easy thing to do, especially when you're bored or have had a stressful time - acting as comfort food. When people change their diet, often they seem to forget about snacking and it seems that one or two biscuits here and there won't hurt - but they do. Unhealthy snacks (such as biscuits, chocolate, sweets, and the like) are all high in calories and sugar, and will prevent you from losing as much weight as you could, if at all. 
I've written a post about snacking named: How to Stop Snacking

8. Keep a food diary

This is just to let you know what your calorie consumption is for each day. What you will need to do is to record the day's date and then record everything that you eat as your day goes along - and I mean EVERYTHING. Do not let anything get missed. If you want a truly accurate total of the calories that you consume then it is vital that you do not miss anything. Make sure to record saturated fat contents and sugar contents for each thing that you eat as-well, as these all contribute towards putting on weight. Your recommended daily sugar intake should be no more than 120g (for men) and 90g (for women). Saturated fat intake should be no more than 30g (for men) and 20g (for women).

Conclusion

Weight loss is not something that will happen overnight but is something that you will have to adapt to for the long term. If you are wanting to see serious results then you will need to adopt all of these tips and then have the self-discipline and motivation to stick to them. If you can afford to, getting a personal trainer who knows what they're doing will help you to keep to your goal. Good luck.
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