TOP TIPS TO GET FIT, LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL GREAT!
People all over the world struggle with their weight on a daily basis. If you are one of them and are tired of being overweight (whether you are carrying just a few extra pounds that won't shift, or have a bit more of a challenge ahead) and want to improve your overall health and fitness, keep reading!
No matter how much weight you need to lose, how many different diet and exercise programs you have tried previously (without long-lasting results) and regardless of your age, it IS possible for you to slim down and improve your health and fitness levels.
While everyone knows that losing weight is not easy, it is actually not as difficult as you might think. By following a few golden health and fitness "rules", taking things slowly and sensibly and introducing some permanent changes into your daily lifestyle, you can lose weight, get fit and feel better than you have ever felt before!
Just a word to the wise: always remember to approach dietary and exercise changes with caution, consulting your doctor as appropriate (particularly if you have a medical condition, are on medication or are pregnant).
Golden rule #1: Diet is key
It may seem too obvious to point out, but it is too important not to mention. Diet is a key component of any fitness or weight loss program.
And by "diet" we mean a well-balanced, healthy eating program; not a drastic limitation of calorie intake or "fad" approach, such as the cutting out of entire food groups. As with everything in life, balance, variety and moderation are key. If you follow this approach, there is no need to go without your favourite treat foods - the occasional indulgence is allowed and actually helps to ensure that your new diet sticks for the long term.
By packing your diet full of natural whole foods and vegetables, healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) fats, complex carbohydrates and lean protein, you will be fuelling your body the right way. Not only will this boost your immunity and all-round health, it will allow you to lose weight naturally and at a steady, healthy rate. For example, by boosting your metabolism, supporting better hormonal balance and promoting good digestive health. This kind of holistic approach to fitness and weight loss is the best way to leave you feeling great!
Golden rule #2: No calorie counting!
To lose weight, it is a fact that you need to consume less calories than you burn off on a daily basis. This is called being in a caloric deficit. By maintaining a caloric deficit your body will inevitably shed pounds. Having said that, it is important not to become obsessed with calorie counting.
Many people do this to the detriment of their health and, ultimately, their weight loss results. Instead of focussing on the quality of the food they are consuming, they rationalise eating "sin foods" on the basis that they only make up a portion of their permitted daily calorie intake.
It is important to remember that some foods provide healthy calories (that help your body to function optimally, including maintaining a healthy weight), while others offer only "empty" calories (which drain your body, starve it of nutrients and ultimately hinder weight loss efforts). It is therefore far more important to opt for naturally healthy foods, even if they are higher in calories, than following some mathematical formula for slimming that justifies the regular consumption of unhealthy foods.
The fact is, that most natural whole foods tend to be lower in calories than say, processed and refined foods, in any case. As such, your calorie intake is likley to drop as a natural result of picking more of the former. But even if you do happen to pick a fruit or vegetable that is calorific (such as avocado), you can rest assured that it is still doing your body good. Healthy fats are an important part of weight loss and should never be omitted from the diet - not all fats are equal! But again, everything in moderation. Clearly, high-fat and high-sugar foods (even those from natural sources) will ultimately hinder slimming efforts in eaten in very high quantities.
So to achieve a healthy caloric deficit (without being attached to a calculator all day), it is important to remove processed, refined and fast foods from your diet - particularly those that are high in saturated fat, sugar, salt and artificial additives, preservatives, flavours, colours etc. By simply avoiding these, you can dramatically reduce the amount of calories you take in on a regular basis.
Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet with all of the major food groups - particularly complex (rather than simple) carbohydrates and lean sources of protein, such as chicken breasts, turkey breasts, egg whites and plant-based protein sources (which also have the added benefit of being high in dietary fibre and, very often, high in a range of other essential nutrients too).
Golden rule #3: Get moving!
Despite how you may feel about exercise, staying active really is an essential component of any healthy lifestyle and cannot be ignored. It is very difficult to achieve optimal health and vitality through diet alone. Our bodies were not designed to be sedentary for most of the time; we are built to move, so get moving!
And that doesn't mean living at the gym 7 days a week. You might be surprised how easy it is to work just 20 minutes to half an hour of activity into your daily routine. Ideally, engage in some form of cardiovascular exercise four or five times per week. You don't have to run a marathon or do anything crazy; simply going for a daily half hour walk can do wonders for your health and fitness. Try to find an exercise that you enjoy, such as taking a dance class, practising yoga or playing a team sport. This way you will have a good time working out, and it won't feel like a chore.
If all that still seems like too much, start more slowly. Take the stairs instead of the lift, whenever there is the option; clean the house to music; have a run around in the garden with your kids!
Once you're feeling up to it, you might also want to introduce strength training to your exercise regime (taking appropriate advice from your health practitioner as required). This form of exercise can help speed up the weight loss process - working out with weights or some other form of resistance just once or twice per week will pay off!
Golden rule #4: Take all the help you can get!
There is no point in making life difficult for yourself, so make sure that you make the most of any tools and resources at your disposal that might make your weight loss, health and fitness journey a little easier. For example, why not seek out some professional advice. Sometimes having the support of a dietitician, nutritionist and/or personal trainer can make all the difference. They can help you out with a sensible meal plan, or just offer help, guidance and much-needed motivation.
If this isn't for you, or you would rather not spend the money, think about enlisting the help of a friend. When engaging in a fitness program for instance, having a workout partner can increase your odds of success. A friend can motivate you when you are down and make exercise fun, so try to find a workout buddy.
Similarly, you might want to consider introducing natural health foods and supplements into your balanced, calorie-controlled diet, to compliment your healthy lifestyle. There are a number of high-quality, nutrient-dense, health supplements out there that can offer invaluable support to someone trying to slim down, shape up and improve their general health and fitness. Choose wisely (avoiding harsh chemical based and fad "diet pills) and they can have wide-ranging benefits, such as helping to:
- keep you fuller for longer
- stave off cravings
- keep nutrient levels high, during periods of reduced food intake
- keep you snacking on healthy foods
- keep your blood sugar levels stable
- keep your metabolism functioning at optimal levels
- keep your digestion functioning efficiently
- keep your immune system strong
- detoxify your body.
These, and many other factors, are central to long-term weight loss success, as well as maintaining a healthy mind and body. The right products can help you to achieve your health goals in a faster time and with better results.