Weight loss, specifically fat loss, is a process that requires patience, perseverance, self-efficacy, and determination. It's more than exercise and nutrition programming; it's also behavioral and mental. Sometimes there are other changes outside of the gym that you have to make. It could be your attitudes and perceptions of exercise and nutrition or of your ability to lose weight. It could be triggers in your environment that is causing you to veer off course too often. Maybe it's that you don't know the quality of the calories or ingredients that you're consuming and how it is affecting your weight loss goals. The following tips are tools to help you reach your weight loss destination.
1. Keep track of your calories; not only how many calories you're consuming, but also the quality of the calories that you're consuming. A candy bar that's 250 calories is not as nutritious as a 250 calorie chicken wrap.
2. Keep a food journal. Record what foods you eat, calories consumed, time the meal was eaten, and how you felt before and after eating. This gives you a visual about what you're consuming day-to-day. Also, record your exercise activities and caloric expenditure. Weight loss occurs when calories expended are greater than calories consumed per day so this helps you to see if you're doing just that. Record how you felt or what you were thinking before and after exercise as well. Seeing this helps you to realize if you perceive exercise and nutrition in a negative or positive light. If you view them as negative, it may help to check why or talk to a personal trainer who is skilled in lifestyle management counseling.
3. Make exercise a priority. We are all busy, but yet we make time for things that we really want to do. You have to do the same thing for exercise sessions. Plan to exercise by making time for it in your schedule. If you still feel you don't have enough time, check your daily activities. Are there times when you're sitting on the couch for an hour watching television? Do you have at least 3-10 minute breaks throughout the day? These are both opportunities to get in thirty minutes of exercise!
4. Set short-term and long-term goals. You have to have a road map to success. You have to have a purpose of going to the gym or participating in boot camps. You can't just say, "I want to lose weight." How many pounds do you want to lose? By what month and day? How much body fat do you want to lose in a year? You must be specific and realistic. Write your goals down, repeat them every day, sign your name to them and put them in a place you frequent the most (i.e., your cubicle at work, refrigerator door).
5. Control sugar cravings by consuming 5-6 meals consisting of low-glycemic foods per day. When you skip meals, your body thinks it's starving and calls for immediate energy. This triggers cravings for candies, cookies, energy bars, pretzels, and other high-sugar foods. These foods are high in calories and low on nutritional value, and they trigger you to eat more of those unhealthy foods. If you must have dessert, eat it after you eat your meal so that you'll be less likely to over-indulge. Another option would be to find recipes that use fruit, nuts, and other healthier, low-calorie foods to make dessert.
6. Develop patience. It takes time to lose weight. Sometimes you may not drop to your goal weight, but you may drop body fat and gain muscle. Your weight may not change because of this, but you're healthier. When you reach your weight loss goals, you'll appreciate it that much more.
7. Don't be so hard on yourself. You will get off track sometimes. You still have a life to live that's full of ups and downs. It helps in many cases to have a relapse plan. When you get off track, how are you going to get back to exercising 5 days per week or eating 5-6 meals per day? What if you have a candy bar or indulged in a healthy serving of potato chips? That's okay. Consider it a slip-up and move on. It's perfectly fine to have one treat per week to keep yourself sane and to reward yourself. Smile and enjoy this weight loss journey.
8. Educate and empower yourself. The more you know about yourself, the better you can help yourself become a healthier person. If you have hypertension, research how to lessen the risk of it, besides taking medication (and those medications don't always work). Learn about the underlying causes of hypertension and what you can do to control it more effectively. Also, you must understand how severe the condition may become in the long-term. Sometimes these facts are motivators to want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
9. Develop a fitness vision. Think about the person you are now-how you perceive yourself and how healthy you feel. Then think about the person you want to become, the body you want to have, the clothes you want to wear, how healthy you feel and how you feel about yourself. Go to a quiet place to close your eyes and visualize these situations. Remember how you feel when envisioning both situations. Write these things down and review them periodically. When you reach your fitness vision, reward yourself with a vacation, spa day, or outfit and create a new one. Think about how you would feel if you gained all the weight you lost back or how much energy you have when you're playing with your children or grandchildren.
10. Sleep!!!! You need at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep creates an imbalance between the hormones leptin and ghrelin which controls your appetite. Your body suppresses leptin, the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and increases ghrelin, which tells you you're hungry and triggers you to eat more. Growth hormone levels are also highest during sleep. Growth hormone is a powerful fat-burning hormone and plays a major role in weight loss. So, beauty sleep is important in the weight loss process!
11. Last, but not least, love yourself regardless. Yes, you may want to change the number on the scales or the size of the clothes you want to wear. But, if you don't love yourself unconditionally, you'll never be happy with anything that you do. Make yourself happy and love yourself first, and you will attract positive people and situations. If you have any negativity around you, let it go. That's a stressor that no one needs.
Weight loss success is a journey that requires perseverance, determination, discipline, and hard-work. It's possible to do, however. Restructuring how you think, what you think about, and how you handle stress and emotions play a huge part in this process. Evaluate your attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs about exercise and nutrition, restructure the negative and keep the positive. One day, you will make it to destination: beach body.
Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant
Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant
Pamela Brown, owner of Peak 2 Success Fitness, specializes in weight loss with a focus on individuals who are recovering from surgery, injury, or pregnancy. She works in both one-on-one and group settings educating and training people who want the lean, toned body that they desire, as well as those who are recovering from orthopedic injuries or surgeries after release from medical care. She has a Master's degree in Human Performance Studies from the University of Alabama as well as three personal training certifications. If you want to learn updated, current, and effective training and nutrition methods and tools that will help you achieve your goals, please visit http://peak2successfitness.com and subscribe!
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