The holiday season is finally over and we all enjoyed the great food it has to offer. Great fattening food that is. No reason to be depressed though. Our first step is simply cleaning up the diet and eliminating the McDonald’s, Ben n Jerry’s, and any left over desserts from the holiday season.
The first 2 weeks should be devoted to simply cleaning up the diet. Simply switching from regular soda to diet soda or water can eliminate at least 140 calories a day give or take depending on how much you normally drink. “Healthy eating” in my honest opinion is 90% common sense. We all know that trans fat and a lot of sugar is bad for you. Instead of McDonald’s you could make your own hamburger with lean ground beef or if you have some good recipes for chicken, even better. The idea is to eat leaner cuts of meat and better sources of carbs. For breakfast have some oatmeal and some eggs. Breakfast is your most important meal because it gets your metabolism going for the day allowing you toburn more calories as well as have the energy you need for the day. DO NOT skip breakfast, even if it means something small like a glass of orange juice. Get some calories in you to jump start the day.
If you want to get really fancy with the diet you can go to glycemicindex.com . From there you type in any food and it tells you the glycemic index rating of that food. Glycemic index (GI) is simply a measure of how fast the body absorbs the carbohydrates in that food. The lower the number the slower it is digested and the higher the number the faster it is digested. I don’t want to get scientific on you so I will simply say eat foods that are low on the GI. A sugar spike will cause calories to be stored as fat. Low glycemic foods will keep you full longer and allow your body to burn fat more effectively. Examples of low GI foods are oatmeal, vegetables, yams, and beans.
Diet is 90% of the equation when it comes to fat loss. Don’t let that drain your spirits, I do have some good news. Eating less calories than you burn will cause your metabolism to slow down a bit. This is where the amazing cheat meal comes into play. Once a week, whatever day you choose, you will eat ONE cheat meal of whatever you want. Of course there is a limit, I don’t mean eat 20 pieces of fried chicken from KFC. Something small that you were craving during the week to keep you from going insane and also to keep your metabolism in high gear.
If you must count calories then a good starting point would be around 1600-1800 calories a day for females and 2000-2600 calories for males. The number range is based of course on age, activity level, and genetics. Some people have extremely high metabolisms and can eat whatever they want, but for the majority of us these numbers serve as a good baseline. Now to sum up the diet. We’ve got 2 weeks of simply cleaning up your diet. After this you can count calories or just reduce your portions to where you are comfortably full but not stuffed. A good way to do it is ditch the old 3 square meals a day and go with 5-6 smaller meals ever 3 hours. This keeps the metabolism up and ensures no excess calories are stored as well as giving you a steady flow of energy throughout the day with no crashes. Also, don’t forget the once a week cheat meal for sanity and metabolism reasons. The scale does good to show weight loss, but it can be deceitful. When first starting an exercise program if you do exercise, you will gain some muscle mass too. So if the scale says you’ve gained weight do not worry. I personally prefer to use the mirror to gauge my progress. The mirror never lies. You could be 10 pounds heavier but look a lot leaner in the mirror.
Alright, if your still with me I’m going to briefly touch on the exercise portion of fat loss. I don’t want to go into too much detail or you would be sitting there reading this article for hours. Starting out simply walking for 30 minutes a day 3 times a week or running if you regularly run is a good starting point. As the weeks progress you can gradually increase the frequency or intensity of your exercise by adding 5 minutes to your exercise sessions or walking/running faster and keeping the time the same. Or you could exercise 5 days a week. Whatever you do DO NOT jump right into an exercise program that has you working out over 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. The body needs time to heal and more is NOT better all the time. This will leave you tired and unmotivated to continue so it is vitally important to progress slowly.
An extra step for those of you who would consider it is weight training. Weight training is one of the best for fat loss as it increases the metabolism for the entire day as well as tones the muscles which will make you look even better when the day comes that you go to the beach. If your just starting out I would recommend 3 days a week of a full body workout using one exercise per body part. I don’t want to list a full workout program so i will say that bodybuilding.com is one of my favorite sites for anything related tofitness. I know the name implies “bodybuilding”, but it actually has articles for any fitness goal you could possibly have.
To conclude everything I have written here I will briefly point out the key points of the article.
1. Clean, “healthy diet”
2. Cheat meal once a week
3. Regular exercise 3 days a week
4. Weight training if you choose.
5. Use the mirror to gauge your progress.
6. 1600-1800 calories for females and 2000-2600 for males
7. Have fun on the beach this summer
Tips and Warnings
- As a general rule of thumb a weight loss of 1-2 lbs. a week is considered safe, normal weight loss. Any more than that and you are losing muscle mass and it increases the risk for weight rebound. If you are losing more than 2 lbs a week increase your calories or add an extra meal for the day
- Use herbs and spices in your cooking. They can make a bland meal taste 100 times better.
- Gradually build up to walking/running. If you notice any unusual pain or shin splints decrease the amount of running or stop completely. If it persists see your doctor.
- If you have any questions or would like a more in depth understanding of exercise or nutrition feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Always consult your physician before starting an exercise or diet program. This is not to say you are that out of shape but simply to make sure you do not have any pre-existing conditions that would require your own special diet or training program and to ensure that you are healthy enough to begin an exercise program.
- If you experience any unusual pain or discomfort during exercise see your doctor. The burn in the muscle is normal. Joint pain is not