So you have gained a bit of weight over the years, and now you think its time to drop a few pounds and slim down the waistline, but where do you start? What is the best weight loss program?
You may have heard about all the popular fad diets where you cut out this food group, only eat grapefruits and celery, or only take your meals in liquid form. Or what about that diet your friend tried for two weeks and swears by, even though they put all their weight back on, plus some!
Sure you can lose weight and body fat with these fad diets, but can any of these diets be continued for the long term? Could you see yourself existing for the next 30 years or so only eating rice cakes and salad? Didn’t think so.
Time For a Little Common Sense.
Do you think our cavemen ancestors were overweight? Well nobody knows for certain, but it’s pretty unlikely as they didn’t sit at computers or work stations all day eating high-calorie convenience food, or travel around in cars, trains and busses.
Maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and take steps to incorporate a more natural approach to our lifestyle, and our plans to lose weight. Now I’m not suggesting that we all kick off our shoes, wear animal skins and go around clubbing defenceless squirrels for our lunch, but we can try to adopt some caveman thinking.
· Drink plenty of water.
Humans are made up of 80% water, so it’s only natural that this should be our primary source of refreshment. We all know how good water is for us, apart from the essential bodily functions we need water for, drinking plenty of clean, pure water can give us clear, bright skin, and healthy sparkling eyes, plus can assist our weight loss hugely!
· Avoid refined and processed sugar.
Do you think our cavemen ancestors stirred and sprinkled refined sugar into everything? By avoiding processed sugar, and foods that contain it, we can drastically cut back on calories without even trying. Start by reducing the amount of sugar you add to your tea and coffee, and substitute fizzy sugar laden drinks for fresh milk, natural unsweetened juice and water.
If you need to eat something sweet, then go for natural fruits and berries. Your taste buds will soon adjust, and after a while all these unnatural, sweetened foods will taste too sweet. Eliminating added sugar from you diet will certainly help to shift those excess pounds.
· Eat more natural food for natural weight loss.
Take a look at the meals you eat. How processed are they? Does any of it resemble its original source? A nice piece of lean roast chicken breast is one thing, but if it has been chopped and shaped, mixed with all sorts of added salts, fillers and flavourings, then coated in breadcrumbs, just how many extra calories are you getting from the additives? And just how much real chicken is actually hidden in there?
Stick to lean roast meats and fresh fish, with a side of fresh vegetables and salad. Desserts can be a sugar-laden nightmare, so stick with natural un-sweetened yoghurt, fresh fruit, baked apples with chopped nuts and a little honey, or as is popular in Europe, a nice selection of mixed cheeses.
· Healthy foods to aid fat loss.
Did you know that you can help reduce your waistline quicker if you increase your calcium intake? Contrary to popular belief, going on a low-calorie diet that cuts down on, or completely cuts out dairy product does not result in faster weight loss than if you include dairy in your diet.
Calcium will not help you lose weight in itself, so I wouldn’t recommend taking calcium supplements in the belief it will melt the pounds away, but in combination with a low-calorie diet, eating yoghurt and low fat cheese, and drinking milk can actually help shed your body fat quicker.
Your body naturally stores calcium inside your fat cells to use as reserves when needed. By taking in regular calcium through your diet, you body does not need to store up so much in your fat cells, so lower calcium levels within the fat cell affects the metabolization of fat to favour weight-loss.
So eat up your yoghurt!
You knew this section was coming, so there’s no avoiding it I’m afraid!
We all know the excellent benefits of regular exercise, but before you all go running and screaming for the nearest doughnut shop, stop and take a breath.
Exercise doesn’t mean hours of punishing workouts at the gym, unless you actually like going to the gym that is! What I’m talking about here is taking a step back in time again to our cavemen ancestors. What sort of exercise do you think the average cave man did every day? Well unless they were good at catching and riding on the back of a passing mammoth or two, they pretty much walked everywhere.
In our time-pressured world of work and deadlines, it would be unreasonable of me to suggest that you walked absolutely everywhere. But what about trying to park at the back of the car park, or getting off the bus a couple of stops early so you can have a brisk walk for 15 or 20 minutes before work. Take the stairs instead of escalators and elevators. Walk from the train station instead of taking a taxi. Go out for a walk during your lunch break. More calories burned = more weight loss. Get the idea?
Even at home you can increase your exercise levels. Does the garden need a good weeding? Does that hedge need a trim? Get out your deck brush and sweep up a sweat! Push the cleaner around the house that bit harder and faster, take longer strides, and really push out and pull back with those arms and shoulders, not forgetting to swap sides to get an even workout. Clean and polish those bathroom tiles with big arm circles and apply plenty of pressure until you can see your reflection. All these activities will help burn the fat.
· Keep busy.
You may have heard the old saying, the Devil makes work for idle hands, but its actually true! How often have you sat in front of the TV with a drink and a bowl or two of high-calorie, highly refined snacks and just went into automatic pilot, from bowl to mouth without a thought. How much extra weight has this bad habit contributed to your expanded waistline do you think? Plenty I’m sure.
Now is a great time for taking up that hobby that you have been putting off, phoning you old college buddy for a long catch-up chat, or starting that new jigsaw puzzle or book you got for Christmas. When was the last time you updated your family photo albums, or put some more pages together of that scrapbook you started last year.
If you keep your hands and your mind busy on a project or hobby, then there will be less mindless calories going into your mouth, and less fat settling on your mid-drift.
· Motivational pants.
I bet that somewhere lurking in the back of your closet you have a pair of favourite jeans that you can no longer fit into. You know the ones – just a little too tight, but still too good to throw away.
Dig out these old friends and drape them over a hanger, then put them somewhere in full view in your bedroom, perhaps by your mirror, so you see them every day and know your target is to fit into them.
On the same day each week, slip on your motivational pants to see how well you are doing. Each week you will find the pants slip on easier, you will be able to do up the fly a little higher, or the waistband feels less tight. Use this method as your motivation.
Keep going, it will be worth it!