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Weight Loss Wisdom

Weight Loss Wisdom

Burning fat, losing weight and building abs – that's your goal. It's a three-pronged effort to make a difference in your body, your health and your life, and each of those prongs works best when all three are being tended to. It's easier to accomplish one when you're also working on the others.


Losing weight isn't as easy as we'd like it to be. It takes commitment and resolve. You have to want it enough to put it before other things that you're used to doing or eating. But it's worth it in terms of improved health and confidence in how you look.


To simply lose weight, you have to consume less fuel than your body needs. This will force it to use up some of the fuel your body has stored up in the form of fat. So the basis of weight loss is eating a diet that contains fewer calories and fat.


When you add cardio exercise and specific workouts designed to target your abdominal area, you will find that you lose weight more quickly, burned fat more effectively and develop the toned abs that you want.


Experts say that in order to lose weight in a way that promotes being able to keep it off over the long term, you should lose at a steady rate of 1 – 2 pounds per week. This might not seem like much, but it's the kind of steady weight loss that is maintainable, and also healthier for your body.


Steady weight loss at a reasonable pace is also much better if you have a lot of weight to lose and you fear that you'll have sagging skin after you've lost all that weight. When you lose more slowly, your skin has a chance to regain some or all of its elasticity and tighten back up, so you don't have so much sagging skin to contend with.


Losing weight at a reasonable rate also assures that your body is using up fat and not muscle, and helps to keep your body systems from getting mixed up from a sudden, quick weight loss.


Losing too quickly can deplete your body of much-needed minerals and cause fatigue, cramps and nausea. You might have some hair loss associated with fast weight loss. Quick weight loss can also cause your body to go into “starvation mode” where it refuses to allow it's metabolism to speed up, meaning that it's doing everything it can to hang on to the energy stores it has.


How to Lose Weight


Weight loss at its essence is about creating a calorie deficit, meaning that you take in less than your body needs for fuel. As mentioned earlier, you do this by taking the following steps:

First, determine how many calories you consume each day. You can go online and find the caloric content for just about every food and drink under the sun. Product information and nutrition labels also provide calorie information.


Track everything! If you're eating something that you've made from scratch at home, you'll have to look at the individual ingredients and amounts and then do some math to determine how many calories you've consumed.


Take at least a week to do this, and more if you can. This will help you find out exactly where you're at with your food and drink intake and how you need to cut back. You don't have to be exactly on the dot as far as the number of calories you're consuming, but it helps to try to be as accurate as possible.


As you're tracking your caloric intake, write down everything you eat each day. Even a small piece of candy or gum. It would be easy to track both your caloric intake and your food intake in one journal – maybe just a simple notebook. Try to do this for at least a week, too, and don't forget about the spoonful of sugar that you sprinkle on your morning cereal or in your coffee.


Now it's time to see where cutbacks are necessarily. If you can reduce 500 calories from your diet every day, you'll lose 1 pound per week. Remember that you're going to be exercising too, so that will help to burn extra calories.


So if you take 500 calories out of your daily diet and use up say, 250 extra calories per day through exercise, that means 5,250 calories per week, or 1.5 pounds lost per week. It's not that hard, you just have to do it!


Some simple ways to cut the calories is to stop putting sugar in your coffee, eat fruit, vegetables or a lean protein for your afternoon snack instead of a pastry or candy bar, or cut sweets completely out of your diet except for one dessert per week.


You can also make simple changes like using mustard instead of mayonnaise or salad dressing on your sandwiches, or eating soups with clean broths instead of cream soups. Once you look at your eating habits, you'll most likely be able to find many good ways to cut out those extra calories without missing them. And of course, you can simply cut down on your portion sizes.


Go back to Chapter 3: Healthy Eating, and review portion sizes, and choices for healthier, lower fat and calorie foods. Take a look again at the food pyramid, too. This will help you discover how to create healthy meals and snacks that offer great nutrition, without adding lots of calories and fat that will land on the belly.


Do plan your meals and snacks ahead. Don't wait until you're starving and willing to eat a whole bag of chips just to put something in your stomach. Take time to plan what you'll eat.


You can find lots of great recipe books for dieters that offer delicious and easy to prepare recipes that cut out the calories and fat and still let you feel like you're eating great food. You can also search online for recipes that are wonderful for people like us who want to eat healthy and happy, but lose weight, too. 


Eat foods that are high in fiber. Fiber fills you up faster and keeps you feeling full longer. And you can find tons of high fiber foods that aren't high in calories. These include:


·         Wholegrain cereals (without added sugar)

·         Whole grain breads and pastas

·         Chickpeas

·         Fresh fruits and vegetables of all sorts


Drink water! Lots and lots of it! Water is essential for your health and it helps keep you from bloating. If you drink plenty of water, your body will begin to be able to flush out toxins and even fat more easily.


A Failure to Plan Is a Plan for Failure


A failure to set goals won’t help you lose weight. Goal setting is one tool that will help to turn your weight loss efforts into weight loss success!


Everyone knows that it's nearly impossible to get where you want to be without a map to get there, right? This is what goal setting is about. Setting goals in the form of an ultimate goal, broken down into smaller goals, is the map you'll create to get the body you're dreaming of.


But not everyone knows how to set effective goals that will help him or her reach that ultimate goal. It's not enough just to say, “I'm going to lose 40 pounds and get a six-pack.” You have to create a very specific ultimate goal, and then specific milestones to reach along the way.


So, your goals might look something like this:


Ultimate Goal: Lost 40 pounds in 25 weeks; define abs to the point that I am happy to show them off, tone the rest of my body so that everything is much firmer, reduce the look of cellulite on my thighs, and be able to wear skinny jeans without a blob of fat rolling over the top.


That's a tall order, but it's fairly specific. You know what you're shooting for.


But you'll need to add milestones to this goal, so you have smaller goals to shoot for and reach and then feel motivated to shoot for the next milestone.


Depending on your own self-motivation, you might make milestones pretty close together, to keep yourself going, or you might spread them out a bit. They might look like this:


Month One Goal: Lose 6 pounds by reducing your caloric intake by 500 – 750 calories a day. Exercise each day for 30 minutes (combination of cardio and abdominal focused exercise) to further use up another 150 - 250 calories per day. Explore new low-fat and low-calorie recipes.


Month Two Goal: Lose another 6 pounds for a total of 12 pound lost. Continue with eating and exercise plan. Work up to more advanced levels of exercise and add interval training, creating a more intense workout and the possibility of burning more calories and fat slightly quicker weight loss. Clothes will be getting loose now!


This is how you set goals.


You might want to make your milestones closer together, like every two weeks. That's fine. Remember that your milestones should challenge you, but be reachable, so that you'll feel encouraged and motivated to keep going. If your milestones are too hard, you could get discouraged and give up!


Also be sure that your ultimate goal is realistic. If you have it in your mind that you're going to look like a movie star when you're done, you might need a reality check! It's not that it's impossible, but remember that they have plastic surgery readily available to do all sorts of nips and tucks.


They have personal trainers who help them work out – sometimes for several hours a day! And they’re used to living in a world where black coffee and a cigarette is considered to be a meal (no, this is not a good way to lose weight!).


It's been said that many of our most loved female entertainers eat no more than about 900 calories a day in order to stay super skinny and to look like we apparently think they should. First of all this is difficult to do, and second, it's not healthy as a long-term way to lose or maintain weight.


Trust me, if you follow the program I'm giving you in this book, you'll look awesome when you get to your ultimate goal, but you still have to be reasonable with yourself. Get a reality check and remember that you want to be healthy and happy, along with trim, and the owner of a great set of abs.


Don't be afraid to set goals and milestones. These act as great motivators and are wonderful for helping you to get to where you want to go. And remember that setting goals is a great way to accomplish anything, whether it's weight loss or another life accomplishment.


Tools and Support for Weight Loss


When you're in the middle of trying to lose weight, it can be very helpful to have some tools handy to help you feel motivated and keep on track. I like to picture a “motivational tool box” that can be keep handy to help you keep track of how things are going and to give you a lift when you need one.


The tool box doesn't need to be a literal box, but you could keep all of your dieting tools together in a box or a drawer – it's up to you.


For weight loss, there are several tools that are available to you that can help. You might choose to use all of them or only a couple of them. Either way is fine, but most people do like to have some helpful tools handy to make things easier.


Among the tools you might use are:


A food journal – This is an essential for when you're beginning your weight loss program and also for keeping motivated during and even after, when you're working to maintain your weight.


Your food journal can be a simple notebook or a fancy journal that you purchase at a specialty shop. You can even have a food journal on your computer or keep one online.


The food journal is used to track what you eat, how you felt before and after you ate, the situation, your mood, the time, the setting, and any other information that might help you to pin down your reasons and motivations for your eating habits and also to see where you're making progress.


For some, the food journal is great for identifying when bad eating habits creep in and then for making decisions about how to head of future problems.


Photos – How about putting some before photos in your motivational toolbox? Then as you progress, you can take photos and place them in the toolbox as well so you can see how you're doing. This can serve as a great way to feel encouraged and motivated. Photos also work wonderfully on the refrigerator.


Affirmations and quotes – To some, this is a goofy tool, but it can work wonders for many. Most of us have our own things we say to ourselves to encourage ourselves. Why not gather up your favorite quotes and affirmations related to staying motivated, believing in yourself, good health, confidence, etc, and keep them where you can read and repeat one a day as a motivational tool?


Rewards – No motivational toolbox is going to be complete without some form of reward for when you reach a goal or milestone. These rewards could be tangible things that you've put away for yourself, or ideas for things you can do for yourself when you reach a milestone – like taking yourself out for a manicure, or purchasing that pair of running shoes you've been wanting, or buying some tickets to a ball game or concert that you've been looking forward to.


An exercise journal – You can incorporate your exercise journal into your food journal, but it could get a bit disorganized. If you like, you can have a separate exercise journal that details what you did for exercise each day, for how long, how you felt before, during and after and what results you're seeing from your exercise efforts.


This is a great tool for determining what's working as far as the type of exercise you're doing, and when and how you're doing it. It will also let you know if you need to make some adjustments.


Something else, another tool, you should have is support. A support circle won't fit into your toolbox, but can make a big difference in your success with weight loss and exercise. Not everyone needs or wants to bring other people into their fitness project, but many of us do.


Get one or more friends together as your support circle. These are people who will help you stay on track, gently call you out when you're not following your plan, and help you stay encouraged and motivated.


You want people you can call on to give you friendly support, not belittle you or be negative towards you – this won't help the situation.


Sometimes it works wonderfully to get together with another person who is working to lose weight and get in shape – you can do it together and serve as each other's encouragement and support. As with many situations in life, it's much easier to reach your goals with the help of a friend or group that offers positive support, ideas and encouragement.

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