“The Essential Strategies for lasting weight loss and lifelong fitness!”
- In the beginning, your fitness plan should not be overly aggressive. One of the biggest problems most people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks, due to an overly ambitious fitness plan.
Two days per week of 10-minute low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming) and two days per week of 30 minute light resistance training (using weights or resistance machines) is adequate in the beginning.
As you become acclimatised to the lifestyle “shift” you can add more days and get improved results. But beware, if you try to do too much too fast, you may end up quitting altogether. If you’ve tried and failed doing it alone, then I suggest you get a training partner or Personal Trainer, who will help you sustain your motivation.
- Eat regularly throughout the day.
Fasting or overly restrictive diets will enable you to lose weight – in the short term. Because the weight you lose is primarily water weight and lean muscle mass. But in the long-run, it has exactly the opposite effect you want.
When you restrict your diet, your body instinctively thinks it’s being starved and shifts into a protective mode by storing fat. Your lean muscles fuel energy expenditures. Therefore, your body fat remains essentially the same and you lose vital fluids and muscle instead. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism becomes, and the less fat you burn.
You should be eating three nutritionally balanced meals each day, and you should have at least one or two healthy snacks. This keeps your metabolic furnace stoked, so you burn more at a faster rate. I know, it’s counter-intuitive, but it’s the gospel truth!
- Eat fat to lose fat!
Healthy fats are necessary to your body for a bunch of reasons. Regulating hormonal production; improving immune function; lowering total cholesterol; lubricating joints and providing the basics for healthy hair, ails and skin. The singular distinction you must be aware of is the difference between healthy “good” fats and dangerous “bad” fats.
Good fats are monounsaturated fats like olive, peanut and canola oil, avocados, all natural peanut butter and nuts; and omega-3 fats like salmon, mackerel and soy-based foods.
Bad fats are saturated fats, partially hydrogenated fats (killers!) and trans fats. Your Personal Trainer can provide you with a simple nutrition program that will complement your exercises to help you live longer, fell better and boost your immune system. The bottom line is that your body needs good fats – and will revolt if you attempt to abstain from them – and absolutely does not need bad fats.
- Become an expert of your own body.
Develop full body awareness. Those who achieve the greatest levels of health know what they put into their body; when they exercise; what they did; how hard they did it; when they are feeling tired and can pre-empt when they will be hungry; when they overate; and they will self regulate. This level of awareness can be developed with the accountability of a Trainer and is critical to success. I say it time and time again “Awareness is the key to any change.”
- Never, ever skip breakfast
If you want to maximise your fitness results or fat-loss efforts, you’ve got to eat breakfast! Even if you don’t exercise at all – breakfast remains the most important meal of the day.
Your breakfast should contain complete proteins and complex carbohydrates (if you are trying to lose weight, you should eat the bulk of your complex carbohydrates at breakfast and lunch and only have vegetable carbohydrates at dinner). A great breakfast is oatmeal (not pre-packaged, the pre sweetened kind) with a little honey and banana and a protein drink. Or try scrambled eggs with a slice of whole meal bread and a glass of milk.
- Australians eat too many carbohydrates for our lifestyles
I’m not advocating the high protein, high saturated fat diet that you hear so much about (frankly, it’s dangerous) But I am advocating minimizing your intake of bread, pasta, rice, potato and of course al sugary drinks.
We are no longer an agrarian society participating in manual labour. Most of us are fairly sedentary throughout the day and therefore do not need the high levels of carbohydrates to sustain our energy. Additionally, carbohydrates are addictive, and come from vegetables and fruit. And those with high water content, such as cucumbers, grapefruit, tomatoes, cantaloupe and strawberries will fill you up nicely.
- Set exercise appointments with yourself.
Use your day-timer to set appointments for exercise – and then stick to them. You wouldn’t miss a business meeting or client appointment, would you? So, don’t miss your exercise appointment with yourself. Nothing is more important than your heath. Nothing! Everything else will crumble around you if your health goes south. So make your exercise appointments a priority. If you find it difficult to keep these appointments, then consider hiring a Personal Trainer who will hold you to your commitment. When you have money invested, and someone waiting for you to show up – you are much more likely to actually show up!
- Remember the benefits of exercise.
Remember that feeling of euphoria you experienced after a particularly good workout? You experienced that feeling because the most powerful “feel good” drug in the world – endorphins – are coursing through your veins. If there is a panacea, it’s exercise.
Nothing feels better than the post workout high you experience after exercising. Revel in that feeling. Let it wash over you and truly experience it. Etch that feeling in your brain. It will fuel your motivation on those inevitable days when you just don’t feel like exercising. Being physically fit affects every single aspect of your life; you sleep better; eat better; love better; overcome stress better; work better; communicate better, and live better.
- Enjoy yourself
The most difficult thing is actually getting into your running shoes or going o the gym. But once you begin your workout relax and enjoy the process. Don’t fight it. Make exercise your personal time.
When you are exercising you can focus completely on yourself. Yes, exercising can and should be somewhat rigorous (depending on your level of fitness) but it is just that investment which makes it supremely rewarding. As with anything, if you are in the moment you can fully appreciate the experience and truly enjoy the process.