My Tips for Losing Weight
Weight loss has always been an issue for me. I was never what you would consider obese, but have often carried around alot of weight in my belly.
It gets in the way, makes work harder, and is a symptom of some of my bad habits. Here are my tips for losing weight to help you along if you are trying to get rid of your extra weight!
Accepting yourself is important, especially if you have self-image issues. However, it is also important to think about how much better off we are when we stay healthy, and most of these tips will improve your health.
The three major macros we will talk about are well known: Protiens, Carbohydrates and Fats. Understanding how these all work is crucial to weight loss and choosing the right foods to eat. Following a diet helps, but I prefer to know what is best to eat and not to eat, and have freedom to choose among those foods to keep variety.
Protein - is used to many things, such as muscle and organ health. It is associated with bodybuilding and muscle growth, but it is necessary for everybody. However, your needs will vary greatly based on your goals. For most people not looking to build massive amounts of muscle, including a few protein rich foods and drinks will suffice. I try to get 50-100 grams a day. Taking in protein will not add to weight gain the same as the other 2 macros, as it takes alot of energy to digest. Still, it is best not to overdo it unless you are trying to seriously get muscular.
Fats are the next major macro. It might seem like our worst enemy when trying to lose weight, and it is true that you should avoid most fats. However, some fats are essential to our survival, and some are worse than others. Saturated Fats are the most common "bad" fats, but a small amount helps keep organs and joints running properly. Mono and Polyunsaturated fats are also not hard to eat, and found in foods such as nuts and fish. To lose weight, you will want to keep your fat intake to a minimum, but have at least some. Just keep it to healthy sources such as those mentioned so it is helpful rather than harmful. Low fat diets can work, and have worked for me. However, they can be hard on the body due to the need for some degree of fat intake.
Carbodydrates are another major macro in question. Most diets will center around lower fat intake, lower carb intake, or some combination. Carbohydrates are essentially used as energy, although they come in many forms. The next section will explain carbohydrate tips more in depth. Carbohydrates come in simple or complex forms. Most of the unhealthy carbohydrates such as chips, sugar, white bread and pasta are simple carbohydrates. The molecule breaks down faster, and gets absorbed faster. This leads to more of an energy spkike and being stored as fat faster. Complex carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, brown rice and wheat bread. Because these break down slower, they provide healthier, steadier energy, and are less quickly to be stored as fat. This makes them the healthier option.
Understanding the basics of how these macronutrients work is a huge step to being able to formulate a diet that works for you, and doesn't even feel like a diet.
Monitor Your Carbohydrate Intake
We already talked about carbohydrates before, but lets go into more depth. The types of carbs you eat, and when you eat them play a large role in weight loss.
Once again, your body uses carbs as energy. If it needs energy and none are available, then it will burn typically burn stored fat next. Also, excess carbohydrates that are not used, will typically be stored as fat. So lowering the amount of carbohydrates you consume will help you lose weight, right?
This is partially true, but it is not as simple. The first difference is between simple and complex as explained earlier. If you are eating only complex carbohydrates, having a decent supply will probably not hurt your weight much. Especially if you are excercising, as complex carbs provide lasting energy and are less likely to be stored as fat. Simple carbohydrates will be alot more destructive to weight loss, so eating the same amount of those can easily derail a diet. They can still be consumed at certain times such as after a workout or early in the morning.
Carb timing is also a major factor, and learning this was a huge aid for me. Since your body uses carbohydrates for energy, it stands to reason that they are better if consumed early. Especially if you are eating simple carbs, consuming these late in the day makes it likely for them to be stored as fat. If you eat carbohydrates late at night, try to keep it to complex. The optimal scenario is to consume more of your carbohydrates earlier in the day, and stick to mostly healthy carbs. This allows them to be used to for energy throughout the day, and as your need for energy decreases, you can consume less carbohydrates.
Other than that, trying to take in carbs when you know energy will be needed for a workout, and knowing how to read a label and act on it will help your weight loss tremendously.
Drink Less Calories
This tip right here has been crucial for me, considering that much of my weight gain was due to soda and sugary beverages. Sure, they might make you feel full if they are carbonated, but they really don't replace food.
Calories in vs. Calories out is one of the crucial aspects of weight loss. The quality of the calories and amount you burn matter too, but I found that cutting as many as I could was important.
By drinking beverages that are low or zero calorie, I was able to keep it to only food. This allows me the most bang for my buck, getting the essential nutrients while losing weight.
Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day will help out with health in general, and help your body burn more fat. In addition, water has no calories. However, most people, including me, prefer to have some variety.
If you like coffee or tea, both of these beverages unsweetened provide energy with no calories. Green tea is my personal favorite, and there are plenty of tasty zero calorie options. Also try water enhancers, or even zero calorie sodas, but try to keep it healthy.
Get Moving No Matter What
Of course excercising and burning calories through movement is going to help you, so here are my tips. Once again we all have different needs and you should figure out what works for you.
If you are suffering physical limitations such as excess weight or joint stress, start slow. When you are motivated you might want to take on the world, but it is easy to over-exert yourself. Slow and steady is a good way to ease into it, but once it is time to push yourself, don't be afraid.
Look for little ways to get calories burnt, not just depending on aerobic excercise. For example, a job on your feet moving all day burns alot of extra calories. I am not saying to quit your awesome job and do that, but always be mindful of ways that energy can be expended. Taking a couple brisk walks, or playing a physical game is a good start.
With that good foundation of extra energy expenditure, the extra calories burnt from aerobic excercise will be even more effective. I recommend fairly intense excercise at least 4-5 days of the week if you are able to, in order to achieve optimal weight loss.
This is once again where personal preference comes in. Intense for an athlete may be different than my or your intense. Lifting weights can actually be a great option even if building muscle is not your goal. It burns plenty of calories, and helps mix it up between cardio sessions. I recommend at least some form of intense cardiovascular training, I prefer ellipticals and stationary bikes due to low joint impact.
Whatever you are able to do, running, weight lifting, yoga, hiking, or even just taking walks, get moving! The best scenario is to have a few physical activities to choose from, when you need to burn some extra calories.
Take Care of Yourself
When it comes to losing weight, skinny is not ALWAYS healthy. I also won't sit here and pretend it is healthy for anyone to be majorly overweight, but these health effects are typically long term. Regardless, the tips above should generally be helpful to your health, unless you go overboard.
Losing extra weight is not only a physical game. It is very much a mental challenge, and a general wellness challenge. I was addicted to junk food and soda, as well as seeing myself lose weight when I was dieting. Keep reminding yourself that you are doing it to take care of the precious body you were given, and don't kill yourself trying to do it.
Take care of your spirit and body in any way you can. I highly recommend meditation, affirmation, and other similar wholesome activities. Use this opportunity to better yourself! Once you are at a healthy weight, be happy with yourself and stay fit, so you don't have to see-saw back and forth.
I hope these tips have been helpful, take them and make your dreams happen!
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