Sure, there are some complexities to weight loss; but the foundations are actually quite simple.
Food is fuel.
A healthy diet is an essential part of losing weight and building muscle; but it’s difficult for many Americans to break away from bad habits, including fast food, sugar and soda addictions.
Many people eat food to benefit their taste buds or emotions and not their bodies, which means changing your diet is more than changing your eating habits: it’s about changing your thinking habits.
Remember, food is fuel. Calories are little energy units that allow us to walk and talk and function. We need them! However, we also need vitamins and other nutrients to function at an optimal level. Often, the food that we eat quickly (fast food and frozen meals) has very little nutritional value and high sugar and fat content.
This is a bad combo. We have plenty of calories, but we can crash after a sugar high or just feel tired from not getting enough vitamins. By simply cutting out sodas, sugary foods and quick meals; you can begin to lose weight without counting calories.
However, you must also understand that losing weight is formulaic. Specifically, burning 3,500 calories over the course of a week will eliminate one pound. If that sounds scary, think again. That’s 500 calories a day. You could probably lose that just by cutting out a daily soda, candy or a trip to the drive-thru.
Replace processed foods with fresh foods, whole milk with skim and fatty meats with leaner cuts. Eliminate soda and drink water. Yea, it’s a really, really simple start!
Movement is exercise.
After eliminating unhealthy food from your diet, you’ll actually feel more energetic. Take a walk. Play catch. Go for a swim. Get out and enjoy life the way you did when you were a kid. You’ll be happier doing something you enjoy. Any increase in physical activity will help you lose weight when paired with a healthy diet.
For those who want to pursue a more aggressive weight loss plan, you will want to find something enjoyable that allows you to function at a sustainable intensity. If your goal is to live a healthier life, you will want to create lifelong habits.
If you combine weight lifting and cardio in one workout segment, begin with weights. This will increase your metabolism before your cardio routine.
Building muscle is more than just bulking up. For every one pound of muscle gained, your body will burn 30-40 more calories a day. There are already some great guidelines on this blog for weight lifters, so I’ll move on to cardio.
It takes time and oxygen to burn fat cells, so you will need to keep your heart rate up (130 beats per minute) for 22 minutes. Talking is a good way to measure your heart rate. If you have trouble squeezing out two or three words, slow down to a pace that allows you to express an entire sentence.
Liposuction is the only spot reduction.
You mean I can’t regain the washboard stomach I had in college by doing 50 sit-ups a night?
Well, it’s not guaranteed. Sure, you can lose that weight if your sit-ups burn enough calories, but you will be burning fat from all parts of your body, not just your tummy. When you target different areas of your body, you are actually building the muscle beneath the fat, not burning the fat.
Yes, there are ways to bulk up or tone different parts of your body, but weight loss is an overall measurement of body composition. You can’t target the fat on different areas of your body. I know, it’s disappointing, but it’s true.
Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to provide helpful information on the best online colleges and courses and welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99 @gmail.com.
(photo credit Mason Masteka)