Another holiday season has come and gone, the parties and buffets are over and our thoughts turn to losing those holiday pounds and inches and getting back into shape. Here are 5 effective and healthy tips to help you get into the best shape of your life:
For getting back into shape, forget the resolutions, set goals! Resolutions are like wishes, they sound good, but they are soon forgotten. Set some realistic and achievable goals to help you focus, plan and accomplish your weight loss, fitness and health improvement and training.
The American Council on Exercise recommends setting SMART fitness goals to increase your chances of success. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when setting goals is setting goals that are unrealistic and have no chance of being accomplished, leaving you discouraged.
- Your goal should be Specific – “I will lose weight.”
- Your goal should be Measurable – “I will lose X pounds.”
- Your goal should be Attainable – “I will lose 30 pounds.”
- Your goal should be Relevant – “I want to lose 30 pounds and look fantastic in my wedding dress.”
- Your goal should be Time bound – “I will lose 30 pounds on or before my March 30th wedding date and the final fitting of my dress on March 25th.
Now that you have a clear, specific, realistic and achievable goal, WRITE IT DOWN. If you don’t write it down, it never happened, nor will it happen. It remains just a wish like those resolutions. Write it down and develop a detailed step-by-step plan to accomplish your goal within your time limit.
Lose The Sweet Tooth
For many years, we were told that fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol in foods like eggs make us fat and clog our arteries. While there is some truth to the adverse effects of too much fat in our diet, in reality, sugar makes us fat and unhealthy.
Seventy percent of American adults eat more than 22 teaspoons of sugar every day, the recommended allowance is six teaspoons. Sugar is in everything we eat and drink and we are physically addicted to it as it feeds the same receptors in our brains that opium does.
Breaking your sugar addiction will help you getting back into shape, reduce or eliminate inflammation, reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer. Find a sugar detox program that you can stick to and break the cycle. Here’s a 3-day detox program recommended by television’s Dr. Oz.
Diets are restrictive, they restrict calories or occasionally entire food groups, and often it’s the restrictions that lead to cravings and eventual failure. While it is necessary to eat fewer calories and burn more calories through exercise to lose weight, rather than counting calories, eat smaller, healthier meals more frequently.
The best approach to safe and permanent fat loss is smaller, more frequent meals and snacks to stabilize your blood sugar, reduce hormonal swings, and to help you feel full sooner and remain so until your next smaller and more frequent meal.
Start by learning what a “serving” or portion size should be, serve meals on smaller plates and in smaller bowls, learn and practice the “rules of thumb”, and don’t skip meals. To learn more, visit 8 Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes at Health.com.
If you are already doing cardio to lose or maintain your weight and fitness, by all means, continue. But for getting back into shape faster, balance that cardio with resistance (weight) training for its many benefits:
- Weights tone muscle and add lean muscle mass.
- Increase metabolism and calorie burning. Muscles increase metabolism and fat burning.
- Build stronger bones, joints, and tendons.
- You’ll relieve tension and stress and lower your blood pressure.
- You’ll offset or delay the effects of aging.
- You’ll look better, feel better and sleep better.
Join a gym or set up your own home gym. Start with a bench and either dumbbells or a barbell set. Do chest and shoulder exercises to train your upper body. As you add equipment, add more exercises.
Keep A Fitness Diary and Food Journal
The most effective health and fitness tool you can buy is a 99 cent spiral notebook. Start by recording everything you eat and drink, doing so will allow you to see how much you eat from the time you get up until bedtime, it is more than you think.
Be honest, failing to record foods, snacks, etc. only hurts you. Keeping track of everything you eat is the most effective method for controlling and reducing your daily caloric intake so that you can create the calorie deficit you need for getting back into shape and lose the extra weight.
Record your training as well, miles run, exercises performed and sets and reps. Also record your weight and measurements so that you can track your progress, or your lack of progress. Not making progress? Review your training log and make adjustments to your program.
If you prefer to print out your own blank Food & Fitness Journal pages, there is an excellent blank journal page available at WebMD.