Beaches and pools open up and American's clothes start disappearing like a magic act. It's time to shed a bit of winter's insulation (body fat) before you hit the waves. Follow these 7 tips to get on your way to a new you.
Memorial Day is right around the corner. That means that beaches and pools open up and American's clothes start disappearing like a magic act. Therefore, it's time to shed a bit of winter's insulation (body fat) before you hit the waves. Follow these 7 tips to get on your way to a new you.
Before you can get started you need to decide to make it happen. This is what trips people up the most. Most people know that to lose weight they should eat less and exercise more. However, it's not what to do that's the issue-but how to do it. HOW do you eat less and exercise more?
By educating yourself and making sure you have all the proper behavioral "tools", you can make positive changes and continue to improve your health day after day!
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Each year it seems like we come out of winter hibernation with a few extra pounds to shed or some extra bodyfat percentages to drop.
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1. Plan Ahead:
Without a plan, you won't know where you're trying to go. You may have all the information in the world; make the right food choices, increase your exercise intensity, etc, but if you don't plan your great intentions that will go right out the window.
Let's start with food and feeding your body what it needs. Is it low carb, low fat, or low calorie? And if it is low calories, how many calories do you need? These are all questions that can be determined by seeking out the help of a professional (expensive) or doing a ton of calculations (time consuming).
Or, better yet, there is new software available that gives us all the nitty gritty details in how to determine our exact calorie needs (for weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain) and let's you determine the exact ratio of carbs, protein, and fat you want (with some direction, if you want it).
You want low carb? Fine, this software gives you the exact breakdown and servings of each food group to meet your criteria. It then allows you to pick all your favorite foods to meet those criteria and put together a simple meal plan.
It's simple, yet effective and helps you plan, which is step 1 when trying to shed unwanted body fat. Check out www.mealplans101.com for information about this software and how you can get started on improving your body!
2. Realize There Is No Magic Bullet:
Many folks become discouraged when beginning an exercise or weight loss program because they expect a magic bullet, or overnight success. But starting a simple exercise program or reading a "diet" book won't cure a 30 year ice cream or soda addiction.
Small steps each day mean big changes in the long run; nothing will happen overnight and it's important to continually encourage yourself. Unhealthy habits weren't created overnight and they won't be changed overnight. You need to work towards improving your habits day after day.
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3. Understand Motivation:
Why do you want to lose weight? People often give very general reasons for wanting to lose weight, such as "to look better", or "to become healthier", etc. These reasons aren't specific enough. If you ultimately want to change behavior, you need to dig a bit deeper so you can find something to really help you to commit.
"Lose weight", for example, is very general and is not likely to keep you motivated to continue for the long haul. Weight loss sounds good until Friday at 5 PM rolls around and it's time for you and your friends or co-workers to go out and "kick back" after a long, hard week. Remember, you need to find the fire within, the motivation to drive you daily, to reach your goals.
One of the most valuable tools you have at your fingertips is to self-monitor behaviors. Self-monitoring is the observation and recording of a specific behavior. Self-monitoring can be as detailed as writing everything down regarding that behavior (i.e. specific details, date, time, location, emotions, etc) to as little as placing a checkmark on a calendar indicating that a desired behavior was achieved.
Many times people are not aware of their own behaviors and self-monitoring can increase awareness. Self-monitoring can be useful to gather a baseline for behaviors or as an 'as needed' measure when struggling.
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Try writing down everything you eat and drink day after day; this alone can help you achieve your weight loss goals. And with the meal plans created with the www.mealplans101.com software, you can essentially use this to self monitor and follow along (like a menu).
A study conducted at the University of Florida showed that individuals who used behavior change and problem-solving strategies when losing weight did better at maintaining weight loss than those who merely used behavior change strategies.
Problem solving requires identifying the real problem that is preventing you from reaching your goal. Create possible strategies to overcoming the problem, based on your current lifestyle and likelihood of success. Choose one strategy to implement and evaluate its success at overcoming the barrier.
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It is important to recognize that not all strategies will be successful. Various strategies can be created to ultimately identify and correct a problem. Also remember that just because something works for one problem, does not mean it will work for every problem.
Seek out the best solution for each problem you face. Long hours at work, social settings, traveling for business, etc., each present different challenges to your weight loss efforts, and will require unique strategies. Be creative.
6. Work With A Friend(s) Or Spouse:
Social support has been shown to improve the ability to lose and maintain weight loss. Use this to your advantage. Get a group of friends, family members, or co-workers together to get on a plan and work towards a goal.
It's much more likely that you make time for exercise if you know you are meeting other people; it is just another way to be held accountable. At the very least, get a friend to train with; this will help both of you when trying to push and break through to the next level.
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7. Train Like You Mean It:
Don't go through the motions when at the gym, on the track, or wherever you exercise. When you're in the gym, go hard or go home. If you're spending more than 60 seconds between sets, you're wasting time (remember, our goal is fat loss here).
Just like step 1 suggests with planning ahead for your nutrition, you need to do the same with your training. Pick up a little spiral notebook and plan out your workout so you don't go into the gym blindly.
Lift hard, use compound movements, and keep that pace high. Look back at some of my previous articles and you'll see some specific workout suggestions; couple movements like squats with chinups, pushups with walking lunges, barbell military press with dumbbell rows, etc.
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When combining these types of movements, which use a significant amount of muscle mass, there is a larger increase in the calories burned both during and after your workout. It's clearly a win win situation!
There are always going to be an endless amount of barriers to changing eating and exercise behaviors. But to be successful in any area of life, you need to step out of your comfort zone.
It's very easy to stop at a fast food restaurant or order a pizza for dinner, instead of taking 10 or 20 minutes to prepare a healthy meal. The time to make a change is now! Don't let another summer go by with you "hoping" you were in better shape.
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