By Isabella Broggini
When it comes to weight loss, people have different opinions on what works best. A quick search on the web will find you a never ending list of Fad weight loss diets that promise “quick results,” but at what cost?
Many popular diets involve eliminating a certain food group entirely from your diet. Whether it be eliminating carbs on the Atkins Diet or eliminating all fat on the McDougall diet, these diets involve a level of restriction that is not healthy or sustainable.
Instead of focusing on restrictive diets to get you the body you want this summer, here are four key things that you can do for effective, healthy weight loss that you’ll actually be able to maintain.
1- Keep a BALANCED diet that includes all food groups
In order to function properly, your body needs a regular dose of all three energy-providing macronutrients, including fats, proteins and carbohydrates. As mentioned earlier, many popular weight loss diets tell you to avoid consuming one of these three macronutrients entirely, but this is not a sustainable nutrition plan and it can lead to vitamin deficiencies, and lack of energy that will make it very hard for you to get through your workouts. Instead of following one of these Fad Diets, opt to control your portion sizes and consume a balance of all three macronutrients at every meal. Protein and Carbs provide 4 calories per gram, while fats provide 9 calories per gram. All three of these macronutrients are essential even for those looking to lose weight, the key is to find healthy food items that will provide an adequate amount of each.
When choosing healthy proteins, stick to lean meats or fish and avoid red meat. Carbohydrates should mainly be consumed in the form of vegetables, fruits, starches (i.e. sweet potatoes), and whole grains. Since fats are higher in calories than the other two essential macronutrients listed, consume a smaller portion of these at each meal. Foods that would be considered sources of healthy fat include: nuts, nut butter, avocados, and oils. The key to maintaining a healthy, sustainable diet is that you should try to eat healthy 80 percent of the time and allow yourself to indulge guilt-free the other 20 percent of the time. We’re only human and we need to allow ourselves little indulgences in order to avoid going crazy and giving up on our healthy lifestyle!
2- Incorporate heavy lifting
For a long time, the popular belief (especially among women) was that the key to losing weight was doing loads of cardio. Luckily, more and more people are being informed by experts that cardio alone will not get you the toned, lean body that you’ve always dreamed of. The key is to incorporate resistance training into your gym routine as well. Unfortunately, lifting five-pound dumbbells or below is not going to cut it, but lifting heavy on a regular basis (ideally two to three times a week) helps you build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (i.e. your metabolism) will be. Having a higher resting metabolic rate will help you burn more calories even when your not at the gym, making it easier for you to lose weight faster. Unfortunately, many women shy away from lifting heavy weights because they fear they’ll become “bulky,” but this simply cannot happen as, unlike men, women do not have the testosterone levels that are needed to build big muscles. Therefore, unless you’re supplementing with testosterone, you will not have to worry about getting very big muscles from heavy weightlifting. If you feel intimidated by the weight section at your gym, or if you simply don’t know where to start in building an effective weight training routine, set up your complimentary personal training session with one of our personal trainers who will be happy to design an individualized program for you based on your specific goals.
3- Maintain a healthy social life
When it comes losing weight, you might not think that having a healthy social life would make much of a difference, but it does! Social isolation has long been linked to obesity, and for many of us, the more lonely we feel, the more we tend to turn to food for comfort. A study even found that lonely women felt hungrier after a meal than women with a strong social group. If we surround ourselves with positive people who want to support us during our weight loss journey, we will be more likely to succeed and to reach our goals. Share your weight loss plan with a friend who can help keep you accountable, and you’ll be less likely to reach for that doughnut at a party or skip your morning workout. Better yet, finding a workout buddy who shares similar fitness goals as you can be a great way to keep motivated to get to the gym even when you’re feeling your laziest. Are you having trouble finding a group of people who shares your passion for fitness? Try out a group fitness class and get access to many potential future workout buddies and friends.
4- Do not skip out on ZZZs
When you’re trying to fit in your workouts with a busy work schedule, it can be tempting to find more hours in the day by skimping on sleep. But this bad habit will backfire and could ruin your weight loss trajectory. If you’re not fully rested (most people should aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night) you will not be able to give it your all during your next workout, making it less effective. In addition, if you typically sleep less than seven hours a night, you’ll be more likely to crave sugar and unhealthy, processed food. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy and Metabolism found that sleeping less than six hours triggers the area of your brain that increases your need for food, making it harder for you to reduce unhealthy cravings. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to get better sleep at night, including: aiming to go to bed and wake up roughly at the same time every day (including weekends), not using electronics for at least one hour before you go to bed (try reading a book instead of watching TV!), eating dinner at least two hours before bed, and trying some meditative practices before bed to calm your mind.
We hope that following these tips will help you get your dream body this summer, so that you can feel and look your best, whatever that means for you! If you need some support or extra motivation along the way, the Completebody team is always here to help you.