You probably heard a lot of friends promising to start dieting and engaging in fitness routine. But a year later, they’re still overweight. Does this sound familiar? Are you in the same predicament? Indeed, the hardest part of any task is the beginning, because you anticipate the amount of work that needs to be done and the amount of time ahead that you need to spend on working hard.
The first step is the crucial one. But making another step and another step after that is the real challenge. Here are some of the things to keep in mind to keep yourself on the right track and not slack off or quit altogether.
Everyone has to start somewhere
People dread working out in the gym next to a fit person. Both men and women have this issue. You probably feel embarrassed when you have to sweat out on the treadmill next to Miss 25-inch waistline. What you might not know is that she had started somewhere just like you have now. If you don’t take this chance, you’re losing a day, a week, a month, or a year to thinking you couldn’t be like that lady.
You got to stop shopping for new clothes
Your old blouses no longer fit. You have to hold your breath just so you could slip into your pants, and you still have to suck your stomach the whole time at the office. At some point, you give up, head to the apparel store, and change your wardrobe. But how many times have you done that in the last five years? It’s one thing to be overweight. It’s another to keep adding weight and having to change the size of your clothes. Imagine if you could spend the money for a new gadget or a recreation.
Don’t you want to look great?
It’s not that you look awful when you’re fat. No one can tell you look terrible just because you have extra pounds. But let’s be honest. People just look their best when they’re within their healthy weight range. Looks are the major motivation of many people who diet and work out. This motivation is not at all bad. If it prompts you to make better food and lifestyle choices, then it’s a great motivation. Besides, in the age of Instagram and selfies, looking great isn’t something you should be ashamed of. If you’re working hard to look great, you’re on the right track and you have all the right to brag about your progress.
It’s also about your health
This is the most important reason. Eventually, it’s not just about the looks or the greater freedom in your choice of clothes. Obesity raises you risk of diabetes and heart disease. All that excess fat in your body is not doing you any good. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or heart disease, one of the critical things you need to do is lose weight. The loss of fat helps you control your glucose levels better. Burning fat also reduces all that bad cholesterol that’s circulating throughout your bloodstream.
Today is the best time in your life to set goals
People make excuses that they don’t have time or they are too old or too sick to exercise. Excuses won’t get you anywhere. Unless your doctor specifically told you to avoid any form of exercise and diet, you have no excuse not to sweat out and choose the right foods to eat. Now is the best time in your life to start losing weight. A pound a week is a healthy weight loss rate. That’s four pounds a month, 12 pounds after 3 months. You can wait for another three months feeling lazy or you can start today and see results sooner.
One of the common complaints about weight loss is that it’s so hard, they can’t commit to it. This is understandable. After all, why do something you don’t enjoy? Why do you have to subject yourself to so much anguish just to look better or feel good or be healthy?
When you look at someone sweating out in the gym and eating only just a handful of food, it’s a dreadful scene. Right away, you wince. An unconscious voice yells in your head, keeping you from going down that path of unhappiness.
The solution is simple. Find a weight loss regimen that works for you. You don’t have to starve yourself. You don’t need to be on the treadmill for 2 hours every day. That’s crazy. Losing weight when done properly is a fulfilling process.
How Weight Loss Depends on Building Healthy Habits
One of the frequent complaints about weight loss is that it’s impossible or utterly hard to achieve. People get intimidated by the thought of changing their lifestyle and choosing healthy food from the get go, and so they don’t get anywhere. Are you constantly plagued by thoughts of engaging in a major lifestyle change to lose weight? Do you dread the thought having to cut back on pasta or bread? Does the thought of abandoning soda freak you out?
Weight loss is more than just switching your diet and lifestyle
Do you hate changes? Many people do, and it’s understandable. Who doesn’t want to change what feels good? Who wants to throw away their Coke and pizza to live a healthy life? Isn’t the healthy lifestyle boring? These all sound like silly questions. But let’s be honest. Many people quit because they could not commit to being more active and eating more fiber or reducing the size of their meals. They cannot give up soda. They cannot quit going to fast food chains and order their high-fat meals. This mindset actually is a problem.
Weight loss doesn’t happen when you cannot commit to it. Yes, it’s not just about changing your weekly menu and being more physically active. It’s also about understanding why you have to do these things. People quit because they don’t see the importance of cutting back on high GI carbs or increasing protein intake and working out to lose weight. Women are particularly susceptible to bad diet fads, like drinking special types of juice or wearing weight loss bands. Eventually, they give up when the things they were told turn out to be lies.
It’s about understanding the adverse effects of obesity
A lot of women don’t know what happens to their bodies as they pack more weight. Three in every five American women are overweight, and one of those is obese. Lack of physical activity and bad diet choices contribute to the huge incidence of obesity. With the amount of information about obesity everywhere, it’s hard to understand why people are still getting fat. One of the reasons may be poor understanding of what obesity entails physiologically.
Basically, obesity has similar effects on men and women. Obesity raises your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also raises your risk of gall bladder disease, arthritis, and some types of cancer. Diabetes is bad enough. It leads to other problems like renal disease and peripheral neuropathy.
Obviously, one thing you can do to prevent these health maladies from happening or getting worse, supposing you already have any of them, is to lose weight.
It’s about making a commitment to have a healthier body
Making a commitment is hard. It means deciding that today you want to turn your life around and be a better version of yourself. That sounds intimidating. A lot of people refuse to make such a hard decision and actually stick to that decision. Losing weight means making major changes. These are not just changes, but changes for a healthier version of you.
Commitment is the keyword. We make commitments to people who are important to us, people like our bosses, spouses or partners, friends, and family. It’s strange why it’s harder to commit to ourselves.
It’s about understanding what weight loss is and what it’s not
Weight loss doesn’t mean starving yourself. That is one thing that cannot be overemphasized. A lot of people think that they have to eat very little to lose weight fast. That has to be the worst diet advice. Run away if somebody tells you that. Never do a crash diet. Not only will it give you a bad memory of losing weight. It will also backfire terribly.
There are many bad weight loss myths out there, so you better arm yourself with the right and scientific knowledge of shedding off those extra pounds. Don’t listen to skinny women who tell you to just drink cabbage soup and skip your solid foods. Don’t listen to people who tell you try a new type of diet.
The principle behind weight loss is simple. You have to burn more calories than you eat. It doesn’t have to be harder than that. But never starve yourself.
Living healthy and losing weight go hand in hand. Keep this in mind.
How to Eat More to Lose Weight
It sounds counterintuitive. Why would you eat more to lose weight? You should eat less. But the danger of this incomplete advice stems from misinterpretation. People tend to think it means they have to starve themselves, because the principle seems like this: the less you eat, the faster you lose weight. Wrong!
Consuming less calories is an important weight loss principle that works up to some point. At some point, calorie restriction becomes counterproductive and harmful. Hence, you have to be careful.
Women sometimes quit not because they are not determined, but because their bodies are telling them their diet choices are unsustainable. When you find yourself constantly craving for food, examine your diet approach. Your weight loss program may be badly designed.
Skip not your breakfast
You might have heard of the advice that skipping breakfast can help you lose weight. That’s if you don’t tend to overeat at lunchtime and dinner to compensate for hunger you endured all morning. Although breakfast is not the most important meal of the day, it doesn’t mean you should skip it. However, it doesn’t also mean you can just anything for breakfast.
A well-balanced meal in the morning jump starts your metabolism. Lean protein and whole grains should be on the plate. Protein in the morning actually helps you manage your appetite all day. It takes a while to break down compared to carbs.
Many people skip breakfast for a number of reasons. The common reason is lack of time. But preparing nutritious meals before you go to the office shouldn’t take a long time. Hard boiled eggs with tomato slices can be prepared in a few minutes. Whole grain crackers served with berries and low fat cottage cheese aren’t bad. Whole grain sandwiches make quick-to-prepare snacks you can eat on the bus or train to work.
Snack in between meals
If you feel hungry in between meals, don’t grab two pieces of bagel. Snack time is an opportunity to fill your empty stomach with a bit of food, just enough to keep you going till the next meal. When it’s not yet time for a full meal, nuts are the best option. Rich in protein, among other things, nuts can keep hunger pangs at bay. Fruits are good options, too. A finger of banana or an apple may be just what you need to keep that tummy from rumbling. Toss granola and berries into your yogurt, and sprinkle some cinnamon. The secret for healthy snacks is to prepare them beforehand so that you have something to grab when you’re feeling a bit hungry.
Eat whole grains
One of the reasons you are eating more than you should is because you’re eating a lot of simple carbs. Not only do you gain weight, but also do you tend to eat more. How does that happen? Your body quickly turns simple carbs into glucose. That means you feel hungry right away. Thus, you tend to eat more. The solution is to eat foods that don’t break down as quickly.
Whole grains come to mind as the best type of carbs. Your digestive system doesn’t break down whole grains as easily as refined grains. This has two important effects. First, it keeps your blood sugar levels from drastically changing, thus avoiding crazy insulin spikes. Second, because you can’t digest whole grains right away, they tend to stay longer in the gut and make you feel fuller longer than refined grains and processed food. The idea is to eat complex carbs, and whole grains come to mind as the best example.
Make sure you are eating enough carbs. Carb cutting is a component of weight loss diets, but never restrict your carb intake dramatically. A cup of brown rice per meal should suffice. Don’t even think of skipping carbs altogether.
There are a lot of reasons why you should eat vegetables whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. They are nutrient dense, which means you get a lot of nutrients but little calories per serving. A cup of greens may only have around 20 calories, but that packs vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You need all of these things to keep your body functioning optimally. Vegetables fill you up without introducing too many calories into your body. With an awesome array of choices, you have endless meal options, from salads to main courses. Imagine a meal of veggies, eggs, and wholegrain bread. You have a nutrient-rich meal that keeps you fuller longer and helps you get through the day without nasty hunger pangs.
5 Reasons to Avoid Celebrity and Fad Diets
Do you often find yourself flipping over pages of magazines, feeling sorry for yourself for not looking like that celebrity with tight abs and toned arms? It’s okay. That goal to achieve a beach body is a good one. In fact, you should consider working on it. But following diet myths endorsed by celebrities may not be a good idea.
Celebrity and fad diets are often a cause of frustration. Women blame themselves for not trying too hard or giving up too soon. The reality is, the regular office person can’t sustain such diets. Worse, those diets are unhealthy. They set you up not only for failure but health problems as well.
Here are a few things you should know
1. Your body is doing a fine job removing toxins
Fad diets usually advertise cleansing diets and detox machines that remove bad stuff from your body. That bad stuff includes fat and toxins.
Cleansing diets sound too appealing. Just drink this tea to remove that fatty sludge inside your gut that makes you fat. A quick look at the ingredients of the tea reveals a chief component, a laxative. Laxatives don’t make you thin. They make you poo, and you don’t need them if you’re not constipated. Otherwise, you’re risking dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Habitual taking of laxatives also disrupt the natural function of your colon.
Other detox diets talk about removing toxins from your liver or flushing toxins out of your bloodstream. Thanks, but your liver and kidneys are doing just fine flushing the toxins out, unless you have liver or kidney disease.
2. Your body needs carbs and fat
You heard those low-fat or low-carb diets. Unfortunately, no one ever defines what “low” is. So people think the lower your intake, the quicker the weight loss. Yeah, for a short while it does work like that. After that, things get funny.
The truth is, your body needs macronutrients to survive and function properly. Carbs are your body’s major energy source. No, your body doesn’t burn a significant amount of fat on a regular day when you’re sitting on your office chair, unless you’re a victim of a famine and you haven’t eaten for days, in which case, you won’t be sitting in front of your desk.
Your body needs fat too! Whoever told you to burn fat means to eat zero fat? That’s crazy. Your cells need fat. Hormone production relies on fat. Your body won’t burn fat just because your last meal had basically zero fat in it. Why? Fat is not an efficient energy source. Unless you’re doing strenuous activity, your body won’t turn to fat as an emergency energy source, at least not at an appreciable rate.
3. Avoiding a certain group of food means skipping on a group of nutrients as well
Many female celebrities say their weight loss regimen includes cutting carbs, for instance. Carbs have become so notorious that many people avoid them in the hopes of shedding off those nasty pooches in the belly and hips. Unfortunately, carb sources are also sources of key nutrients like vitamins C and K. The key is never to avoid carbohydrates completely, but to choose the right type of carbohydrates.
Another fad diet may have prompted you to avoid meat and go completely vegan. Vegan diet when done properly and coupled with food supplementation is okay. Uninformed people going vegan suffer from loss of crucial nutrients, like the B vitamins, which largely found in meat.
4. You could suffer from deleterious effects of an unhealthy diet
What happens when you eat less than 130 grams of carbs a day? Your body kicks in its emergency response. It begins to think you’re suffering from famine and burns fat instead. Sounds like a great plan? Nope. Incompletely burnt fat become ketones. A buildup of ketones cause ketosis, a potentially alarming condition that could lead to kidney stones and gout.
5. Severe calorie restriction has serious consequences
Cabbage soup diet sounds like a smart plan until you get sick of it. It’s not just because you start craving for solid food after a while. It’s also because there is absolutely nothing smart about it. Self-induced starvation is not just stupid. It also puts you at risk of mood disorders, fatigue, and derailed immune system.
Why Keeping Motivated Is the Key to Weight Loss Success
So you really want to see yourself in a two-piece bikini, or you want to wear the clothes you used to wear 10 years ago. But the problem is, the thought of changing your diet and exercising at the gym is dreadful. In fact, a lot of people, men and women alike, think dieting and exercising aren’t fun. The nagging question for them is, why should they do something that’s not fun? This is where motivation kicks in. The power of motivation cannot be overemphasized. It’s what drives you to do something even if it’s not fun to do at first.
It seems motivating people to lose weight is harder than losing weight itself. Changing your diet is daunting. Slipping into your running shoes sounds like a terrible idea. Helping yourself to a box of pizza in front of your television seems the right thing to do. Even fitness professionals struggle to instill motivation in their clients. Most of the gym goers just couldn’t keep up. After a few months, they’re gone. Even those who’ve tried weight loss diets quit after a while. And the most important reason they quit is lack or loss of motivation. At some point, the demands of the regimen overpower whatever beneficial foresight it bestows the individual.
Here are the chief weight loss motivators:
- Improved appearance
- Social acceptance
- Health and fitness
These are probably your reasons for wanting to lose weight. Motivations vary from woman to woman. Younger women want to look better and more attractive because looking thinner and better means more chances at promotions, finding a date, and being accepted in a community. This doesn’t condone fat-shaming, which is a horrible thing to do. It’s just that women have these perceptions that being within their normal weight opens a lot of opportunities for them. If this is not a powerful motivation to lose weight, what else is?
For older women, health is the biggest driver. Type 2 diabetes and heart disease start affecting men and women in their 30s. This is when your body starts to succumb to bad diet and inactivity. When it has already packed significant amount of fat, the mentioned health problems set in. We all want to live long so that we may see our kids grow and have their own kids. We want to spend our senior years as fine as possible. Thoughts of having to maintain medications for diabetes and hypertension scare people enough to keep them sweating out on the street.
These are scenarios wherein motivation plays a vital role in weight loss. Most of the time, people lose weight not for the sake of losing weight, and it’s important that people who undergo weight loss programs understand that:
Weight loss is not about weight loss per se. You never thought of losing weight for the sake of losing weight, right? You never thought of losing your belly pooch for the sake of losing it. You have a more important reason, one that you can’t ignore.
The goal of looking better isn’t bad. It’s just as good and psychologically beneficial as accepting who you are. There are things you can’t change. You can’t change your height. You can’t change your bone structure. You can’t change your skin color, at least not conventionally. But you can change your weight. If it’s important for you to look toned, then make that your goal.
Health factors cannot be ignored. If your doctor specifically told you to control your weight to preclude diabetes or to control your blood sugar, then that’s what you’re supposed to do.
These are the goals of motivation — to make people understand why they should lose weight.
Now the other question is how to keep yourself motivated. Weight loss comes in increments. You lose a few pounds this month and a few more pounds next month. How do you keep that motivation? The secret is to break your goal into smaller goals, smaller targets to hit each month or each quarter. The mistake is to envision a sexy, skinny body and be daunted by how much you have to lose to achieve it. Instead, monitor changes in your body. Track your weight. Track your waistline over the course of your weight loss program.
More importantly, reward yourself for every milestone. Maybe you can have a vacation or go to the movies. Occasionally, treat yourself. Have a day each month when you eat your favorite food guilt-free.
5 Reasons Why You Should Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Your goals determine whether you will succeed or fail. A lot of women fail trying to lose weight not because the program is bad but because their goals are unattainable. Unattainable goals lead to frustration. Frustrated people who want to lose weight quit at some point. Having manageable goals makes weight loss an encouraging process.
1. Healthy weight loss comes in small increments
Your body isn’t designed to handle rapid weight loss. Sure, you want to lose all that fat in your arms, abdominal region, and thighs in a month. There’s one cosmetic method that does that. It’s called liposuction, and even plastic surgeons advise clients to lose significant amount of weight beforehand.
Ideal weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds a week. At this rate, your body will be able to keep up with losing mass, mostly fat.
2. Rapid weight loss has deleterious effects
One of the worst weight loss goals is to lose a huge amount of weight within a short time. This is how slimming teas or weight loss bands attract naive consumers who want to lose weight without doing the hard work. While it’s tempting to want to lose 100 pounds in 3 months, it’s extremely difficult, if not entirely impossible. Not to mention, rapid weight loss has serious health consequences.
When you lose weight fast, your body succumbs to unusual stress. People who undergo dramatic weight loss due to drastic dieting and overzealous workout programs suffer from dehydration and gallstones. Loss of electrolytes also happens, which leads to other problems. Of course, serious calorie restriction means you’re not getting enough of nutrients as well.
Bad expectations lead to damaging practices that do not only cause headaches, fatigue, and menstrual problem, but also send women to the ER.
3. Unreasonable weight loss goals are unsustainable
For many people the nightmare caused by the horrible effects of unreasonable weight loss goals is enough to make them quit. Do you want to keep drinking a weight loss tea that gives you severe abdominal cramps in the morning? Can you continue your diet program that makes you hungry and irritable? How can you keep up with excessive cardio routine that made you sick after a few weeks?
Bad weight loss choices are unsustainable for a number of reasons.
First, your body just gives signals that it will not be able to endure the diet or workout program. Laxatives cause dehydration and colon problems when overused. Long workouts lead to over training, which leads to fatigue and a weakened immune system.
Second, bad diet and workout choices raise your risk of injury. Bad diet leads to malnutrition, which when coupled with overzealous workout puts more strain on under-nourished bones and muscles.
Third, they are so demanding that the only thing you’re doing them is because you want to get slim in no time. But the longer you do them, the more terrible you feel. In contrast, healthy weight loss programs should become easier and more manageable as you get used to them.
Fourth, and more importantly, they don’t work. That’s it. Diet pills, over training, and severe calorie restriction never worked in the long run.
4. Losing weight the smart way raises your motivation to continue
The role of good weight loss goals has something to do with allowing you to lose weight and continue at your own pace. Each of us is different. Someone may be hardwired to lose weight fast. Others will have to work a little harder. But eventually we all get there, assuming we all did it the right way. And the right way is always to eat a balanced diet in controlled portions and enroll in a workout program you can stick to. There are different types of diet. But as long as you’re getting enough macro and micronutrients you should be fine. There are also different fitness programs. Some women like lifting weights. Others love to do HIIT. Others do Pilates or Yoga.
5. It’s good to celebrate each milestone
Set small targets each month or every three months, and see if you’re hitting those targets. Sometimes you won’t. At other times, you will. Our bodies have peculiar ways of responding to changes in diet and physical activity. But weight loss also depends on your mindset, which is propelled by your motivation. One way of keeping yourself motivated is by rewarding yourself when you hit those targets.
Drinking Enough Water Helps You Lose Weight
Women struggle to lose weight for various reasons, and one of those reasons is dehydration. Did you know that 3 in every 4 Americans suffer from chronic dehydration? It seems not getting enough water is becoming an epidemic, but hardly anyone notices this malady.
That proper hydration helps your body burn fat is old news. But many people don’t seem to realize it. Around 60% of your body weight is water. Is it not obvious your body needs water? Your cells bathe in it. Chemical reactions happen in its presence. Metabolism is one of those key chemical reactions. In fact, it’s a series of complex chemical reactions that involve burning of fuel so you can exist and go about your minute by minute task, including reading this article.
Little do people realize that drinking water helps burn calories. The folk remedy you might have heard, one which remains a popular piece of knowledge, is that it helps suppress appetite. It’s simple. Water fills your gut. That’s it. You won’t feel as hungry when you drink a glass of water before your meal. On top of that, water has zero calories. So it fills you up without adding anything fattening into your body.
Does this actually work? Looks like it does. In a 2008 study conducted on women on diet, weight loss occurred with drinking water even without diet and physical activity (Stookey JD, et al).
In another study in 2010, people who drank 500 mL of water before meal consumed fewer calories than those who didn’t. That was what the scientists said during the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The clinical trial confirmed that drinking 8-ounce glasses of water before meals allows people to lose weight.
In 2011, Elizabeth A. Dennis and six other researchers, studied the effects of water consumption on weight loss within a hypocaloric diet regimen. The subjects were middle-aged and older adults. What they found out was 500 mL of water 30 minutes before meal 3 times a day resulted in 2 kilograms of weight loss in 12 weeks. A similar study was done by Vinu A. Vij and Anjali S. Joshi in 2013. The results were the same: water before meals led to significant weight loss within 8 weeks.
There is a bigger body of research involving water intake and weight loss, but the important thing to take note of is that science clearly shows that proper hydration has a key role in weight regulation. That is why you should drink enough if you want to lose weight. How much is enough? The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine says that healthy women need 91 ounces of water a day. Men need about 125 ounces. These are averages. In reality, how much water you should drink depends on your age, weight, and activity. In fact, where you live also determines how many glasses of water you need to drink.
Surprising Causes of Dehydration
- Your monthly. Menstrual period affects your hormones, which regulate your hydration levels. Coupled with loss of blood, much of which is water, menstruation puts you at more risk of dehydration. Thus, you should drink more water during this time of the month.
- Prescription medications. Diuretics and blood pressure regulating medications cause you to lose more water than you normally do.
- Stress. Stress does not only overwork your adrenals. It also uses up your body’s fluid and electrolyte stores.
- Workout. Is it not obvious? Running on the treadmill or doing kettle bell exercises will cause you to burn calories and sweat out water. Depending on how strenuous your exercise is, you could lose significant amount of water after your workout. Hence, hydration afterwards is a must.
- Aging. This doesn’t get a lot of mention. But your body’s ability to keep water declines with age.
- Beer. Any alcoholic beverage strips you of water. But you won’t drink beer while losing weight will you?
- Breastfeeding. The biggest challenge for women after pregnancy is weight loss. And if weight loss means proper hydration, drinking enough water while breastfeeding your newborn is the way to go.
- Diabetes. When your blood sugar levels go up, your body will try to remove excess sugar through urination. That means you’re losing water quickly. Frequent urination is one of the signs of diabetes, and you should go to your doctor if you experience it.
How to Drink More Water
Now this is the real challenge. The solution is simple. Drink water every two hours. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Thirst is an early sign of dehydration.
5 Types of Food to Avoid If You Want to Lose Weight
Trying to lose weight is a hard task. This isn’t to discourage you, but to tell you the real deal that weight loss is about hard work and determination. It all involves including certain types of food and avoiding other completely.
1. A meal with only carbs
Crackers and rice cakes are good because they provide you with energy. But if you eat them without eating anything else at the same time, you’re introducing only simple carbs to your body. Your digestive system breaks them down right away. The result is that dreadful sugar rush, which eventually leads to a crash. Carb-rich snacks fill you up and make you hungry sooner than necessary. Sugary stuff is worse.
What should you do instead? Have carbs, protein, and veggies. Fill that plate with a cup of rice, a slice of salmon, and some broccoli. Balance is the key. Getting your macros in the right proportions is necessary for fitness, whether you want to lose or gain weight.
2. Fiber-rich snacks
People think helping themselves to snacks rich in fiber is a good practice. Fiber is good. Right? It fills you up without adding calories into your system. There’s a catch, though. You don’t need lots of fiber. In fact, you’re only supposed to eat 25 grams of fiber a day. So watch the label of that high-fiber snack. Also, you are not supposed to eat a day’s worth of fiber in a single snack because that may lead to bloating. Besides, high-fiber snacks are loaded with stuff your body doesn’t need.
If you want to have fiber, get it from natural sources — fruits and vegetables.
3. Instant meals
Who doesn’t love instant noodles or canned sausage? You just open the package, and your meal is served. However, aside from having bland and artificial taste, these foods come with preservatives. Just read the label and you will see all that stuff you could barely pronounce. One thing you need to watch out for is sodium. Instant meals are loaded with sodium (i.e. MSG and sodium nitrate). While your body needs sodium, it doesn’t need lots of it. And often canned food has enough sodium you need for the entire day.
Sodium causes your body to keep water. That excess water causes bloating and hypertension.
Always go for fresh meat and fresh produce. Cook your own meals. There are meals that you can prepare within 5 or 10 minutes if you don’t have much time.
4. Low-fat goodies
If you think eating anything that has low fat means you’re going to shed off that fat in your midsection that you’re trying really hard to burn on the treadmill, think again. According to a study people tend to eat more when they think what they’re eating has low fat. Even if you don’t overindulge on a low-fat snack, you’re still in trouble of ingesting sugar and other unwanted stuff, which manufacturers add in place of removed fat.
You need fat, albeit in the right amounts. Basically, look at your thumb. That’s about the size of fat you need on a daily basis, and you can’t have just any fat. Healthy fats are the so-called unsaturated fats, which help control your cholesterol levels. Sources are olive oil, nuts, avocados, and seeds. A class of healthy fatty acids are called the omega-3, which you find in cold water fish, like salmon and tuna.
5. Fruit juice
Devoid of fiber, fruit juice is not as good as the entire fruit. It’s rich in Vitamin C. Other than that, it’s nothing extraordinary. Fruit juice is rich in fructose, a simple sugar that gives it a characteristic sweet taste. The chemical structure of fructose is similar to that of glucose. Your body doesn’t need to do anything much to it. It raises your blood sugar.
Worse, recent studies have shown that fructose is not good for your liver and heart. Your liver uses it to create fat, which in turn accumulates in the liver to cause a condition called, nonalcoholic fatty liver, a precursor to liver inflammation. The buildup of fat harms not only the liver but also your heart.
Fruit juice sounds like a healthy idea, but a closer look reveals its ugly head. Have some of it, but don’t make drinking fruit juice a daily habit. Eat fresh fruits instead.
Do soda and beer have to be mentioned?
6 Ways to Avoid the Temptation to Eat Junk Food
One of the biggest challenges people on weight loss diets have to deal with is fighting the cravings. Suppressing your appetite for the foods you used to eat is an ordeal. How do you deal with these cravings and stay on the right track?
1. Examine the craving
While it’s tempting to give in to the lust for your favorite food, it’s wise to stop and think. The moment you do this, you’re allowing your brain to process the irrational desire to eat what you’re not supposed to eat. You will probably figure out where the craving is coming from. Perhaps you’re bored. If so, do something worthwhile. Maybe you’re depressed. Depression makes people consume unhealthy food. Maybe you’re just thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water. Hunger can cause you to pine for whatever is edible, even junk food. Watch your appetite when you’re hungry.
2. Remember your goals
The goal is to lose weight. Shedding off excess pounds does not just happen in the kitchen and in the gym. It also happens in the mind. Your motivation and mindset affect your chances at success. These factors determine whether your efforts will take you anywhere. So every time you feel like having pizza, remember how much you really want to slip into your old jeans, skirts, or blouses. Remember that dress you really wish you could wear again to parties.
Write down your goal on a piece of paper. Put it somewhere you can see it every day, so you can see it. Let it remind you why you are steering clear of junk food.
3. Read food labels
Junk food is rich in empty calories. In other words, they are loaded with calories without giving you much nutrients. They make you fat without doing anything else. A box of French fries can have 500 calories. In relation, you burn about 400 calories on the treadmill for an hour. Imagine if you jogged for an hour because you wanted to lose weight but then helped yourself to a box of fries, a piece of burger, and a can of soda. You would have ingested roughly twice as much calories as you burned sweating out. That doesn’t seem like a smart weight loss technique.
Reading food labels allows you to assess nutrient value and caloric content. If you want to lose weight, stay away from stuff that has lots of calories and little nutritional value.
4. Keep yourself busy
Boredom increases your chances of munching on anything, most likely junk food. The cravings come because it’s your brain’s way of finding something pleasurable to do. And eating activates those pleasure centers in your brain. So no wonder it feels right to grab an ice cream while watching boring show on TV. To avoid this, do something worthwhile with your time. Start a hobby. Join an organization. Maybe see if you can start an ornamental garden in the backyard. Hobbies take your attention away from the cravings. Some of these activities demand physical movement that help you burn more calories.
5. Have some of that Junk Food
At some point, give in to the temptation. But here’s the thing! Do not overindulge. If you want to eat pizza, have a slice of pizza. If you want to eat ice cream, have some in a small bowl. Just have a small serving of that which is unhealthy for you. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but never have too much of anything.
6. Eat something healthy
Most probably, you are just hungry. So how do you fix that? Eat. But eat something healthy. Replace junk food with a well-balanced meal. Prepare a vegetable salad if you’re craving for chips. Munch on nuts if you’re dying to eat chocolate.
Craving for sweets suggests that your body needs carbohydrates, but get your carbs from healthy sources, such as whole wheat or wholegrain pasta. It may also be an indication that your body needs protein. Good protein sources are nuts, fish, cheese, lean meat, chicken, eggs, and beans.
Do you crave for fried foods? You probably need omega-3 fatty acids, which you can get from fish. Coldwater fish like Salmon, Mackerel, and tuna are some of the best sources of omega-3. They are also excellent sources of protein.
How to Stick to Your Exercise Plan
No one ever said getting fit was easy. It entails hard work and dedication. It’s impossible to get fit without exercising, and exercise is a whole aspect of fitness that needs attention and discipline. Needless to say, many people, men and women alike, lose their drive to stick to their workout program because they don’t like their workouts. How do you make sure you keep up with your fitness plan and see good results?
Understand why you want to be fit
Most women quit because they don’t know why they’re doing it in the first place. They think it’s cool to snap a selfie after their first day at the gym. And that’s that. Their everyday struggle at the gym becomes an opportunity to brag that fitness selfie, which does nothing to keep them doing what they’re doing.
You need to have that internal motivation. When the drive to go fit comes from within, this drive is stronger. The thought of becoming healthy, strong, and flexible is much more effective than the thought of flaunting the perfect beach body. People who exercise because they know the intrinsic benefits of exercise tend to go on.
Progress at your own pace
Take it slow. Allow your body to adjust. All the exercises pose unique challenges. They are hard at first as your muscles and joints are still adapting to the new stress being subjected to them. Whether you’re doing Yoga or weight training, you have to start from the basics and work your way gradually to harder positions or greater resistance.
The mistake is to start big. If you haven’t run a mile your whole life and you suddenly start sprinting, you are putting your legs and ankles in serious trouble. Ease into your exercises by warming up and starting at the basic. Do stretches and warm ups. Then do the exercises using proper form. Cool down.
As your body acclimates, your workout becomes easier. That’s when you go from the basics to harder versions of the exercises. It’s a step by step process.
Tag your friend along
Working out alone is boring. Get a friend to work out with you. Having someone else has perks. You can look at each other forms and see whether you both are doing the exercises right. You can also check each other’s pace and call the other out if she’s going too slow or resting in between sets too long.
If you can’t bring a friend to enroll in a gym or Yoga class, bring your sister or your partner. Ask whoever is interested. Motivate each other to start getting fit.
Spend 30 minutes a day working out
Fitness programs should only be around 30-45 minutes. Anything longer than that puts you at high risk of over training. You should be able to do the exercises you have to do within this span of time. Long fitness programs make people tired. We tend to shy away from activities that make us tired. Who wants to spend 2 hours on the elliptical machine after a stressful day at work?
Have realistic expectations
You won’t lose fat right away. Fat loss is largely a function of diet. But even if you’re getting your diet right, you can’t and shouldn’t expect to lose weight rapidly. Healthy weight loss comes 1 or 2 pounds per week. At this rate, your skin and body adjusts gradually as well. Drastic weight loss leads to sagging skin, a common cosmetic complaint of women who lose weight.
Realistic expectations also prevent disappointments. Know that getting fit is a process. It’s not like you’re going to shed off all that unwanted fat in three months.
Track your progress
How do you determine whether your fitness program is working?
- Track your weight. If weight loss is your goal, then see that you’re losing pounds by the month by using fitness trackers or measurements
- Track your body measurements. See if your waistline is getting thinner. Take measurements of your thighs and arms as well.
- Check your body fat percentage. There are different ways to do this. Fit women have 21-24% of body fat. At this fat percentage, the right curves show.
- Take pictures of your progress. Nothing is ever more motivating than seeing your body change in photos. Don’t rely on what you see in the mirror because your brain can trick you. Instead, take a photo every month to see real changes that the scale won’t show.