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loss

Even though it’s been two years since I lost weight, I keep running into people who haven’t seen me in all that time, and you can only imagine their reaction – “omg you got hot!”, like I wasn’t before lol :P. Anyway, I’m being perceived as some sort of fitness/weight loss guru, and I truly am happy to share my knowledge. Sadly, sometimes I’m so pressed for time that I can’t help as much as I would love to. One of such times was two days ago, so I decided now that it’s the weekend, I would put a post together to share my insight; which is two things really – activity and nutrition. I’ll expatiate.

Activity

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Increasing your physical activity burns fat and will help you lose weight. However, note that by physical activity, I’m referring to cardio. It has to be anything that raises your heart rate and keeps your heart racing for at least 30 mins a day. It doesn’t have to be at a go – it can be 15 mins twice a day, 10 mins thrice daily, whatever you’re comfortable with. If you can’t run, you can brisk walk, climb stairs, go hiking, jog, ride a bike, or swim. Aim for a minimum of an hour and a half of cardio every week.

You cannot lose that gut or belly fat by doing sit-ups or crunches every day – all you will accomplish is strengthening your abs. Spot reduction is impossible – you cannot target where to lose fat. You will have to lose fat everywhere, but the order will be at your body’s discretion. Some people will actually start with their belly, others their arms. Trust me, I did the research, if you’re serious about losing weight and keeping fat at bay, there’s no way around doing cardio. Plus cardio is great for your heart ❤ and lungs!

If you’re committed enough, create time for strength training at least three times a week for 30 mins. This could include boxing, chin-ups, jump rope, free weights, lunges, pilates, press-ups/push-ups, pull-ups and squats. Ladies, please don’t be afraid to use dumbbells or barbells, unless you’re using bodybuilding supplements, you cannot build the muscle mass of a man. Muscles burn more calories than fat, so by increasing your lean muscle, you burn more calories in maintenance.

Nutrition

nutrition

Your body is a direct result of what you put into it. You need to treat your body with respect, or else, garbage in, garbage out. In order to lose weight, you need to start paying attention to what, when and how much you eat.

First, [simple] sugars must become the enemy. That means no more pop/soda/soft drinks, sugary cereals, white rice, white/brown bread and anything made using white flour like cakes, doughnuts and rolls, milk/white chocolate, jam, cookies, creams and ketchup. It goes without saying that you should avoid fast food – burgers, fries, breaded chicken, pizza and the sort. Simple sugars make you pack on the pounds, not fats/lipids. Your body will convert simple sugars into fat almost as soon as it enters your bloodstream, and store it in your belly, arms, thighs and butt. Complex carbs, like brown (white is polished and refined) rice, whole wheat and oats take longer to digest, so aren’t converted into fat. Foods with trans-fats and excess saturated fats are really bad for your heart, but won’t necessarily contribute to weight gain. The good fats (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat) from fish, nuts and seeds are good for your heart and help remove fat from the body.

You will need to make the switch to healthy and nutritious options – water (3 litres a day), oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, dark chocolate, natural peanut butter, sweet potatoes, skimmed milk, yoghurt, mustard, beans, fruits, nuts and vegetables. I know this list seems pathetic lol, but this is what your body needs.
Eat chicken breasts (or any portions you can – just remove the skin and excess fat), eggs, fish and lean cuts of beef, instead of bacon, ham and salty meats like sausages. Try to boil or broil/grill your meats too. If you must fry, use extra virgin olive oil.

Next is when you eat. In order burn calories and lose weight, you need to keep your metabolism fired up all day. As opposed to eating two or three big meals a day, the ideal thing is to eat small meals at three-hour intervals six times a day.
Here is a sample: 7am breakfast (2 servings of Quaker oats with almonds/peanuts in skimmed milk/unsweetened soy milk, 2 slices of whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter, 1 egg and 1 orange) and water, 10am snack (1 apple/pear with walnuts/cashew nuts) and water, 1pm lunch (2 servings of brown rice/quinoa/white rice with a tomato-and-chili-based sauce and mixed veggies or vegetable stew, and 1/2 haddock/salmon/tilapia or 3 beef chops/6 oz steak) and water, 4pm snack (1 banana and almonds/peanuts) and water, 7pm dinner (1 chicken caesar salad) and water, and 10pm snack (yoghurt with berries/trail mix) and water.

Finally, how much you eat. As earlier mentioned, eat six times a day, but smaller portions.
A good trick is to use a bowl or smaller plate, like side plate, for your meals. This way, if you feel the need to fill up your plate, you’ll do so, but end up with less food. Using your imagination, another trick is to eat like a king at breakfast, like a prince at lunch and like a pauper at dinner.
A good habit to form is to never miss breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day (for about 6 hours or more your body has been without food or water), but skipping breakfast also means your body is likely to overcompensate for your missed meal by making you eat and snack more all day. The more you eat, the more calories you pack on. A recent study showed that college students who skipped breakfast consumed an average of 145 more calories at lunch than those who didn’t.

challenge

Focus more on fat loss, not weight loss. As you exercise and eat properly, you will gain muscle and lose fat – your weight might not change drastically, but you’ll look very different. Be patient, it won’t take a day or a week. If you need motivation, get a friend to join you, or follow @BeFitMotivation on twitter, I love them. If you’re good (maintaining an active lifestyle and eating right), you get to treat yourself to a cheat meal every week i.e. one meal (not the whole day) per week when you can have ice cream, pizza, burgers, fries, cookies, whatever you want! I repeat, one cheat meal per week.

I hope this helps you reach your goal 🙂

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