Weight loss can be put into two distinct categories:
#1 - Concentrated effort. This is, quite honestly, what most of you are doing. This is where you dedicate yourself to counting EVERY calorie and being religious about going to the gym. The pounds may come off initially, but once you begin seeing results and relax on your new kick, your weight begins to go right back where you started from.
#2 - Combination of simple lifestyle changes. This type of weight loss is where you focus on changing a few key factors such as when and what you eat, how and when you exercise, and how you manage stress. This is done without making it a full-time "job." This type of weight loss will be gradual and PERMANENT. This is because you are taking one day, one step at a time, and slowly changing your habits. This will result in being able to maintain your new weight and healthy habits for your lifetime.
My goal in this blog is to help you fall into the weight loss resulting from lifestyle changes category. Don't you deserve to live a life without having to count every calorie or killing yourself at the gym? I truly believe you do! The following strategies may seem extremely simple, but when you begin to focus on even one of them and continue to practice day-to-day for the remainder of yoru life, not only will you feel and look amazing, but you'll achieve permanent results.
Strategy #1: Get Rid of Your Diet Soda
More and more studies are linking diet soda to weight gain. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio concluded that those who drank two or more diet soft drinks a day had the largest waistline increases. This equated to about five times more than that of non-drinkers. They stated, "Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised: they may be free of calories, but not of consequences."
Artificial sweeteners are addictive, lead to waistline increases, and cause you to crave sugary foods. By cutting diet soda (and other foods/beverages containing artificial sweeteners) out of your daily intake you will lose inches and pounds. Try water or seltzer as an alternative.
Strategy #2: Replace Sandwich Bread for Lettuce
I know this is a tough one to swallow, but it's time we reduce our intake of starchy, fiberless foods. One of the easiest changes is to modify your sandwich. While a traditional sandwich calls for bread or a wrap, lettuce wraps offer you weight loss and increased energy. Try Eating Well Magazine's Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps.
Eating too much bread and other starchy foods always leads to extra pounds. It's time to change your ways! Try replaced your bread for lettuce for a month and see how much you will effortlessly lose the weight. My guess is that you'll feel more energetic after lunch too!
Strategy #3: Forget the Slow Cardio - Try Intense Intervals
Just doing slow cardio or quick, speedy workouts isn't going to give you the results you're looking for. For an effective and efficient workout, you need to turn up the intensity. If you enjoy running/walking on the treadmill, that's great. This time, throw in a series of sprints throughout your workout. In virtually any kind of workout you're doing, you can always do spurts of intense exercise - Whether it's running outside, on the elyptical, stairmaster, bike, etc.
While doing slow, easy cardio is better than doing nothing at all, it's simply not going to give you the results you want. Interval training will make all the difference in pushing you over that hump.
Strategy #4: Avoid Sugar and Starch Carbs 90% Of The Time
Sugar and starchy carbs will cause you to gain weight or prevent you from losing weight each and every time. I know you didn't want to hear it, but it's the gods honest truth. The sugar and starchy carbs you eat day-to-day (whether you're adding it to your foods/beverages or it's hidden in processed foods) is hindering you from reaching your weight management goals. If you truly want to lose the weight for good and want to noticeably feel better, you have to come to grips with the fact that sugar and starchy carbs CANNOT be a part of your diet - at least on a regular basis.
It's not about never having any sugar or starchy carbohydrate. It's what you do MOST OF THE TIME that matters most. If you strive to avoid it 90% of the time, you'll be well on your way to losing the weight and having more energy. Most of your carbohydrate and/or sugar should come from fruits, vegetables, and low/non-fat dairy. If you do have a starchy carbohydrate, stick to 1 serving of sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, or other whole grain. It's best to consume these foods closest to the time of day you exercise. If it's a special occasion such as a birthday or holiday, allow yourself to enjoy a small amount of sugar or food you truly enjoy, but do be sure to make this the exception and not the rule.
Strategy #5: Seek Help From A Health Professional
The majority of us need some form of accountability in order to successfully change their lifetime of bad habits. These changes don't just happen in a day, week, month or even a year. It takes ongoing support and accountability to help you to stay true to your goals and desires.
People who work with a nutritionist or who train with a personal trainer get better results than those who attempt to do it on their own. A good health professional will push you to your limits, challenge your mind-set and body, and help you to achieve the results you're looking for.
Weight loss just doesn't happen, you have to work towards accomplishing it. Support, accountability, and science and evidence-based techniques are the only way to long-term weight management success.
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