There are numerous ways people can attempt to lose weight. Most of us want to lose it quickly - even though we did not gain it that way! So, we look to fat burners, diet pills, meal services, and special fitness gadgets to help get the weight off so we can be in the best shape of our lives.
Here's the reality folks: Most of those things are gimmicks. You heard me! Gimmicks. Why? Because they do not teach you how to solve the problems that got you overweight and healthy in the first place.
For most people, the reasons are emotional. Emotions may cause overeating or under eating and we simply have not taken the time to get at this issue. But, let's say you have gotten to the root of your eating problem and the weight still is not coming off. What do you do?
Well, I believe there are 3 tops ways to maximize your weight loss. None of them are easy, but you will see results. This is especially important if you've hit a plateau and haven't been losing weight for a few weeks.
Follow these three tips to get you back on your way to weight loss success!
1. Train with weights. Some of you are groaning at this idea and some of you are terrified. I imagine that the terrified ones are the ladies who think weight training is somehow going to make them big and bulky like a Mr. Olympia. That is hardly the case. In fact, pound for pound, muscle burns more calories throughout the day than fat.
Also, muscle is more dense than fat. What that means for you is that you could weigh the same, but if you have more lean muscle mass, you will look more fit, be more fit, and your metabolism will be higher. As a bonus, you'll be wearing smaller clothes than your friends who weigh the same as you but have more body fat.
To get started, train with weights 2-3 days per week. You should alternate days in order to give your muscles a period of 24-48 hours to rest. You can do this at home with free weights or at your favorite gym with free weights (my choice) or on a machine. If you don't have any of those options, you can always use your body weight as resistance. Nothing beats a good old pushup!
2. Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day. That's right; I'm telling you to eat more times throughout the day. Most of us were raised on the notion that we need to eat 3 big meals throughout the day. The reality is that many of us skip breakfast (or eat something gross like coffee and a doughnut), hit the vending machine mid-morning, eat a huge lunch because we were starving from not having a good breakfast, hit the vending machine again for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and then eat a huge dinner. After that, we probably feel like we need dessert or a snack and then it's off to bed to repeat the process.
If that's the way we're spending our days, then you already have the routine to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day, you just have to change what it is you're eating.
But, first, the why. Skipping meals sends a signal throughout your body that food may not be coming for awhile. Your body goes into starvation mode and retains all of the nutrients and fat that it can to prepare for a period of starvation. When this happens, your metabolism takes a nose-dive and does not burn calories as quickly.
In order to counter-act this, you must eat frequently throughout the day. This keeps your body from thinking its starving and also keeps your metabolism higher. Your body knows food is coming and will expect it every 2-4 hours. Don't go longer than 4 hours without something to eat. Keeping your metabolism high will greatly aid in your weight-loss efforts.
You still have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but now you have included 2 or 3 smaller meals, or snacks to keep you body and tummy happy. For snacks, I recommend easily portable items such as fruit and veggies. Since I am not a nutritionist, you may want to consult with one the types of food you should be eating (especially if you are on a special diet for conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes). Regardless, sticking to fresh, whole foods and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is always a good thing.
3. Drink plenty of water. How many times have we heard this one? Not only have we heard it, but there is still issue over how exactly to get this water. Do coffee and tea count? Do vegetables and salads count? Does flavored water count?
I believe in keeping things simple, so here is what I recommend: 64 oz (8-8 oz glasses) of plain, filtered water. To make it easier for me, I use a reusable 16 oz water bottle so that I know I'm aiming to drink at least 4 of those per day. If I drink one at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then I have covered 3 of my 4 bottles right there. I work the fourth bottle in throughout the day.
Remember, this: if you're drinking soda, coffee, and tea, regularly, then you are missing opportunities to drink water. At this point, I am not telling you give up any of those things, however, if you are not getting in all of your water for the day, then how can you justify drinking those other drinks? Think about that.
BONUS tip: Give yourself 1-2 days to rest each week. It is very tempting to think that if you exercise more, you'll lose more weight. That's true to a point. What you want to avoid is something called "overtraining." You may have heard people talk about this in regards to athletes, but it is really just burnout from exercise. Your ability to perform exercises will decrease and your risk for injury will skyrocket. It is important to remember that even though you have a goal, you must still keep your mind and body healthy. Giving yourself 1, preferably 2, days off per week allows both your body and mind to recover from the hard work you've been doing.
Always remember that the weight you've gained did not appear overnight, so it will not disappear overnight. Take the time to lose weight slowly and in a healthful manner and you will reap the rewards of a healthy life.