The US has seen an enormous increase in the mumber of people considered obese by the medical community. In fact many call it an obesity epidemic. To combat this we find all sorts of pharamceutical companies selling the “quick fix” pills, powders, and lotions that do nothing to actually help people take the fat off and keep it off.
Of course the same could be said of the diet industry as well. There are so many different diets going around now you could pick one a month and in a years time still have more to choose from.
What is truely needed are some sensible proven weight loss tips that people can implement no matter what their present physical condition is. That said let’s dive right in.
1 Drink more water. All too often Americans are borderline dehydrated and so their bodies are working on the water starvation reflex and not flushing the toxins and junk out.
2 Eat more often. I bet you thought I was going to say eat less. While it is true that to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you expend…you need to eat more often to get the metabolic furnace stoked up and burning right. Get it out of starvation mode. So start the day off with breakfast. Even an instant breakfast drink and a piece of fruit as we head out the door in the morning.
3 Move more. Depending on your physical condition you need to be moving more. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, park farther out from the office or the store, go for a walk around the block, go dancing, play with your kids. Make it fun. Running is not the only way to burn more calories.
4 Finally, determine your “Why”. Decide why you want to discard fat. Make your reason big enough to motivate you through the slumps that invariably happen.
Personally my reason was to be able to live to see my great grandkids graduate college. My youngest kids are 4 and 6 now. Besides I wanted to get out and play with them without being out of breath all the time.
Most exercise programs are started with the best intentions. So why then, do treadmills turn into storage platforms, and walking shoes are worn only to Saturday night movies? The answer is more of a matter of poor planning then low motivation. For exercise to be viable, it should include activities you enjoy, be accessible, and fit easily into your daily schedule. Here are 3 three ideas:
Arm your exercise space for battle.
What would it take for your treadmill to be used? What about the weights? Maybe all you need is for your exercise space/room to be more inviting. You could accomplish this by decorating. Add color, texture, and other elements that will appeal to your senses-sight, smell, and sound. Do simple things like keeping a water pitcher on a table, or adjusting the light to fit your mood. If instead of comfort, your worry is infringing on productive time, consider adding a television with a VCR. This allows you to watch the news or watch a movie that you wouldn’t normally have time to watch. You can view it in 20-30 minute increments. View it only when exercising, forcing you back on the equipment to see what happens next. It might be the motivating factor you’ve been looking for. Another possibility is to listen to a book on tape or recorded meeting notes through a headset. You can also record notes or the next day’s “to do” list as you think of things while exercising.
Walk whenever possible.
This includes the old stand bys like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a distance from your destination, and delivering messages in your office by foot instead of by email. You can also walk on your lunch hour and breaks instead of sitting down to eat or snacking. To get your lunchtime nutrition, eat a quick salad at your desk before you take off. Bringing your food from home will save drive time to a restaurant, enabling you to get more from your breaks. Invite co-worker to walk with you.
Choose active family activities.
Instead of eating a big dinner out-eat a healthy meal at home and then take a walk around the neighborhood together. You’ll save the calories of the large restaurant portions, the time it takes to drive to an establishment, and gain that much need family time. Other “active” activities include walking around at the zoo, hiking on local nature preserves, bicycling, ice-skating, and swimming. The list is endless. Let these types of activities replace television watching and video games.
Turn your good intentions into action. You’ll be healthier and will improve your overall well-being. You may end up with better work relationships as a result of hand delivering your messages. You will certainly strengthen family relationships by focusing on your time together. By investing a little time each day in the development of a healthy lifestyle, you could add years to your life, enabling you to enjoy the days when you no longer have such a chaotic schedule.
Myth: You need to work your abs everyday.
Truth: The best way to develop abdominal strength and tone is to work your abs to exhaustion. You need to allow your abdominal muscles to recover..this equates to 24-48 hours of rest time between workouts. Increase the intensity of your workouts gradually. If you overdo it, not only will you be excessively sore (a little soreness is a good thing, it signifies that you have worked the muscle enough for it to repair itself and become stronger in the process), but you may discourage yourself because you will need more rest time than normal and it will be harder to do your ab exercises.
Myth: The more situps you do, the better.
Truth: Doing hundreds of situps will not help you lose abdominal fat! Situps actually do little to increase strength because they focus on edurance and are inefficient; it is hard to overload the abdominal muscles doing situps. Thus, you will be wasting your time. Crunches (yes, crunches) are the best way to overload the abs and work the entire midsection, whether you do them on the floor or on a Swiss Ball (my personal favorite!). There are many variations of crunches, and each targets different parts of the abdominal muscles. While doing crunches, it is imperative that you focus on proper technique and gradually increasing resistance. Using this method, you can fatigue your abdominal muscles using fewer reps.
Myth: Situps are the key to getting “cut” ab muscles.
Truth: If you have layers of abdominal fat covering your abs, situps, or any other exercise, for that matter, won’t do you much good. For a strong, cut midsection, keep in mind these tips:
- Train your abs with resistance. If you are a beginner, try crunches without resistance first. As you get stronger, then move to more challenging moves or crunches using a Swiss Ball.
- You need consistent cardiovascular exercise (helps to burn fat faster, performed at 80% of your maximum heart rate).
- Cut the fat in your diet to shed body fat and create definition. This is the only way your abs will show through! Remember, great abs are made in the kitchen!