So you’ve been eating right, working out and wondering: when is the weight going to come off?! The answer depends on you. We all know the basics of losing weight: use more calories than you consume. Even the experts disagree about how many calories are in a pound of fat (about 3500), so how can you figure out when you should be seeing dietary results? There’s no simple answer. But most dieticians agree it’s not safe to lose more than a pound or two a week. So that means trimming about five hundred calories a day. Everyone’s metabolism and hunger hormones work differently. One thing’s for sure though: if you want to jumpstart your weight loss, you could benefit from a diet overhaul like raw food or paleo. If you can’t keep your motivation to hit the gym, check out this course designed to help you stick to your fitness goals. The question isn’t “how long will it take for the weight to come off.” It’s “How can I make myself a lean mean calorie burning machine from here on in?”
Schedule Your Exercise
For true and lasting fitness results, you need to create a lifestyle and a routine you can stick to. When you’re just starting out, don’t kill yourself on the treadmill. Workout long enough and hard enough for you to get that exercise endorphin high, but not so hard that you’re going to be dreading it if you have to go again tomorrow. Set time in your daily routine to get fit and work it in when you can:
- Do lunges while making breakfast.
- Balance on one leg while brushing your teeth.
- Do push-ups against the kitchen counter.
- Take the stairs.
- Play tennis with a friend.
Find a fitness routine that you enjoy and put it on your schedule. Strength training exercises are a great way to build up your muscles in a short amount of time, and bigger muscles burn more fat. If money is tight, forget the gym membership and check out this course, so you have one less excuse for not getting fit.
Changing Your Diet
If you’re like most people, you know that a dramatic change in your diet produces quick weight loss results. But the key is choosing food strategies that you can maintain long term. You already know that an apple makes a better snack than a bag of potato chips. For weight loss, you can go one better by munching on celery sticks. Buy a pre-cut, pre-washed veggie party platter for yourself to make it easier to make good choices. You can cut large amounts of calories just by mixing up your daily routine. Sub grapefruit in for your usual morning toast. Choose an Americano over your two-hundred calorie latte. Slowly wean yourself off of sugar by cutting out one binge-worthy food at a time. In How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams (author of Dilbert) advocates cutting out food cravings one at a time. Say your favorite food is ice cream. For two weeks, you can eat anything but ice cream while you wean yourself off the habit of a pint a day.
Try using that system to get yourself off of your worst offenders. The idea of tackling things one by one avoids those feelings of being deprived. Who can argue with a system that lets you eat chocolate while you’re going through Whoopie Pie withdrawal?
And while we’re talking about binging, here are a few words about alcohol. It’s easy to forget just how bad alcohol can be for your waistline. Here are a few reminders.
- Most cocktails have more calories than a candy bar. (Swapping soda for your tonic water will save you close to a hundred calories per drink.)
- Drinking alcohol is so hard on your liver that it decreases the liver’s ability to burn fat by 60%.
- Alcohol can cause a drop in blood sugar making you feel hungry even when you aren’t.
- Alcohol lowers your inhibitions to lots of things including: greasy pizza, fries, and late night sundae eating contests.
Those last two points working in tandem help explain why alcohol is a total diet buster. If that’s not enough to get you cull your Happy Hour, take a quick gander at the latest scientific research on alcohol. From high blood pressure to stroke, alcohol slows down your ability to heal and generally makes you die sooner. Yep. Death. Yikes. Let’s move on; shall we?
Bring on the Bugs
More and more research shows that the bacteria in your gut can effect everything from digestion to general wellness and hunger hormones. If you haven’t implemented probiotic foods into your diet, now is a good time to start. Find out all you need to know about nature’s way to lose weight. Kombucha anyone?
Power Up with Protein
You would have to have been under a rock to miss all the dietary buzz about swapping protein in for carbs in your diet. Research shows, that’s a decent strategy for losing weight. Protein keeps your insulin more balanced than carbs, and it provides more lasting energy so you don’t eat again a couple hours later. For quick protein pick-me-up, keep small bags of nuts to hand. Eating them before a meal works wonders on your satiety, so you’ll tend to eat less later.
If you’re like many people, you probably go days without plain water gracing your lips. I don’t mean tea, “Vitamin Water,” or watered down juice. I mean plain old, free from the tap, water. Tea and coffee are both diuretics. They dehydrate you. That can make you feel hungry. Other drinks are packed with calories. Sip ice cold water instead. If you’re feeling like a bottomless pit of cookie-cravings, you might simply be thirsty. Keep a pitcher of water at your desk, and see if it doesn’t help you control those cravings.
Spice it up
Capsaicin, the stuff that makes chili peppers hot, has recently been shown to alter proteins in fat to help break it down. When fed to obese mice, it caused them to lose 8% of their body fat. 8%! While more research is needed. chilies have also been shown to induce thermogenesis, lower blood pressure, and ease nerve pain. Why not try them? Bring on the Spicy Beef!
Just remember, when it comes to losing weight, aim to lose a pound or two a week. That means burning, or not eating, about five hundred calories a day. In the beginning, that simple alteration should give you results fairly quickly. After an initial drop, you’ll probably see your weight plateau. But that doesn’t mean you’re not still changing your body composition from fat to muscle. You can’t see that on a scale. If your weight does plateau as you get closer to your goals, talk to a professional about the safest way to proceed. Alternatively, you might consider this course on clever and creative ways to lose weight to give you that extra boost.
Many, many things can influence your metabolism and your weight. From the bacteria in your gut to the hormones coursing through your body, your weight depends on a variety of variables. If you feel like you should have lost weight by now, make sure you have a reasonable handle on your calories in versus calories out. That’s the only way to calculate what your calorie deficit, and therefore weight loss, should be. You might be slipping back into old habits unconsciously. It takes three to four weeks to rewire your brain for new habits. Here’s a thirty day program, if you need some guidance while trying to adhere to your new strategies. If you still notice that something’s stopping you, consult with your physician. Only a doctor can diagnose an underlying hormonal challenge that may need to be addressed. And before you take any dramatic course like surgery, consider this program, The Virtual Gastic Band.
At the end of the day, just keep in mind that you are more than numbers on a scale. If the improvements you’ve made have made you feel happier and healthier, pat yourself on the back. Weight loss is a slow process with major benefits. It takes time to put weight on. Give yourself some time to take it off.