By Jenni Giglio
As we enter into the New Year many folks decide it’s time to slim down, to eat healthy, and to get in shape. For most of us the cold winter months force us indoors and slow us way down. This sedentary tendency causes many to form an extra layer that covers up the shape we were so proud of last summer. It’s time to start thinking about swimsuit season. It may seem early, but the best diets are actually not diets at all, but a well thought out and strictly adhered to list of lifestyle changes that enable you to lose weight, get in shape and stay right where you want to be without gimmicky fads, starving yourself, dangerous pills or mystery potions.
Healthy living is the aim. Surprising as it may be exercise is not everything. It’s very important but the most crucial thing to losing weight and keeping it off is diet. Now we have all heard the suggestion of three round meals a day, sometimes it’s even five. Here’s the thing: no, you are not sitting down to 5 meals per day. The best thing to do is figure out how may calories you need to sustain your weight, and then from there shave calories to lose. It’s best to know how much food you need to get thorough the day. Do not starve yourself. This is the quickest way to slow your metabolism to a screeching halt and actually put on weight that is very hard to shed. For most adults a quick adjustment to stop eating after 6 or 7 pm and the implementation of fasted cardio is just what the doctor ordered in shedding stubborn pounds.
Cardio is a very important part of getting into shape and losing weight. Cardiovascular health is pertinent to a healthy lifestyle and the quickest way to drop weight is to implement “fasted cardio”. Fasted Cardio consists of aerobic exercise done upon waking before any food is eaten. This type of exercise kick-starts your metabolism and promotes great fat burn. This morning cardio does not need to be an all out sprint up and down 10 flights of stairs each morning, but rather a nice brisk walk, or comfortable jog, elliptical or bicycle also suffices. An hour of cardio is ideal, but at least 20 minutes can make a large impact on delivering you to your weight loss goal. Above all, consistency is key. Try to do 5 cardio sessions a week, with a minimum of three to make your way to a leaner healthier you.
Switch it up, the body is a magnificent thing and it can adapt quickly to exercise; try new ways of getting your cardio in—a good rule of thumb is to change your routine every 3-6 weeks. Do this with your diet too. Your body can get used to certain foods and will begin to plateau with the same amount of calories rather than continuing the slow decline of your weight. No matter what, try a week of eating raw, or try an herbal cleanse to rid your body of toxins and get you back on track. These quick fixes are for short term issues and not intended for long term results. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to adhere to your diet and exercise plan indefinitely. The problem with quick fix and fad diets is that once you have finished you return to your bad habits, and the weight comes back and sometimes even brings friends.
Write your plan down. Make lists, make menus, make workout calendars. If possible, enlist a friend, workout partner or trainer to keep you accountable. It’s easy to get discouraged in the beginning when you are seeing results and then suddenly none, or worse yet, when your body takes a while to respond to you additions. Take the time to make sure you are successful. Having someone help cheer you on and motivate you when you are feeling discouraged will prove invaluable in your time of need.
Above all make it fun. If you hate running, do not run, if you abhor brussels sprouts do not put them on your daily menu. Eat what you like, within reason and exercise consistently. Avoid refined sugars or too much dairy, everything in moderation. Try for less carbohydrates (avoid white bread, sugar, candy, flavored creamer, alcohol), consume more protein and don’t drink your calories. Choose water and stay hydrated. You will be in that bathing suit in no time. In addition, this year you have started early enough to enjoy the summer!