If you were a “resolutiuoner”, as in making a commitment to get back in shape as a New Year’s Resolution, and are still on track, congratulations. If you haven’t started yet on getting in summer trim, now is the time to get in gear. If you set July 4th as your target date, then you have four months to make it, which is plenty of time if you do it right. No need to overcomplicate things to get results. All the fancy programs, names, celebrity endorsements, and fads aside, it can all boil down to the following simple things:
1.) You have to burn more calories than you take in to lose fat. “20 Minute workouts” won’t cut it because as a general rule of thumb, a person has about a 20 minute supply of muscle glycogen stored in their muscles that has to be used as fuel first before your body starts looking for other sources such as fat.
2.) “Crash” dieting/starvation doesn’t work well and can be detrimental. When you severely restrict your caloric intake, the brain tells your body that you are starving and will actually slow down your metabolism. These temporary fixes are the type of yoyo diets where you will end up binging on food after you get so far and end up back where you started or even worse.
3.) You can do all the ab exercises you want, but you will not see them, no matter how developed they are, unless you lower your body fat.
4.) You don’t have to become developed like Mr. or Mrs. Universe, but a body that has more muscle will burn more calories, even at rest, than one who weighs the same but has more of their weight in the body fat column.
I’ve touched on some of these before, but some very simple things to get the process underway are:
1.) Grab a garbage can and go to your cupboards and fridge TODAY. Throw out anything that is garbage and junk food. Every cookie, pastry, sugary snack, ice cream, etc. Literally clean your nutritional house.
2.) When you go grocery shopping, don’t do it on an empty stomach or when even slightly hungry. The best time to go is right after finishing a meal. If you shop while hungry, a lot of stuff sounds pretty darn good, even if it’s not good for you.
3.) “If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it.” I know I’ve said that before and it’s always one I repeat. The bad food items are not lonely or need a friend. You’re not going to use them for decorations. If that bad food item comes home with you, you WILL eat it and those crap calories will still add up whether you eat them in the dark or if no one is looking.
4.) At meals, never put the main serving bowls or platters on the table. It’s too easy to have “Just a little bit more” or a second helping by just grabbing what’s convenient. Put your food on your plate at the counter, stove, fridge, wherever, and that’s it. Sit down, eat slow and actually enjoy and taste the food. If you drink water during the course of your meal, it helps you feel fuller without the added calories of extra food. Healthy soups at the beginning of a meal will accomplish the same thing. With the full feeling, you’ll be less likely to be craving sugary desserts.
5.) It sounds strange, but if you use start to use smaller plates, you’ll begin thinking that you have a real “full plate” of food. Believe me, after you’ve adapted to this little visual trick, if and when you have a full sized plate of food again, you’ll be blown away at how much you were pounding down before and sometimes even going back for seconds.
6.) If you’re about to eat something questionable, stop and ask yourself, “How is this going to benefit me in any way towards my goal?” “Is it actually detrimental or going to stall my progress?” “is there something better I could be eating instead?”
7.) Be VERY leery of some of the weight loss/pre-workout supplements. They are LOADED with caffeine. An average cup of coffee has @ 80 mgs of caffeine. Some of these formulas have 400 –500 mgs! That’s the equivalent of 5-6 cups of coffee in a single bomb! Then they may even have additional stimulants in there as “calorie burners”. Some people will take these in addition to drinking multiple cups of regular coffee throughout the day because they don’t read the labels of what they’re taking. Some labels have a “Proprietary” matrix of different ingredients that does not break down the amounts of each one. So if one would have a “Prop Matrix” that listed caffeine as an ingredient along with several others and the amount of this “Prop Matrix” is 5,500 mgs, then exactly how much is caffeine, or any of the others for that matter?
8.) Low fat does not mean low calorie! Read that one again. A popular cookie that stakes their market as being low fat has more sugar in it than an Oreo. Sure they’re low in fat, but they actually have MORE CALORIES due to the high amount of sugar in them. So the trap people fall into is that, “Hey, they’re low fat. I can even eat more of these than a “normal” cookie because there is less fat in these ones!” They actually have the opposite effect as the excess sugar will have excess calories which will turn to fat . Don’t fall in this line of thinking.
Some additional things to consider:
1.) Be realistic and honest in your goals. If you are 5’2” and 140 pounds, you will not end up looking like Arnold, especially in 4 months. But you can be the best version of you.
2.) Consistency, perseverance, and determination are the main things in eating and exercise. Don’t let “well meaning” friends or family sabotage your goal by saying or doing things that will subvert your progress. Stick with it and don’t let yourself down. Set the example and you’d be surprised at how many of them will end up coming to you later for advice.
3.) Put a small mirror on the door of your fridge or somewhere else in your kitchen. EVERY time you go in there to get something to eat, look in that mirror and say, “What I’m going to eat is good for me, is in my plan for today, and will help me in achieving my goal.”
4.) I hate the word “Diet”. As I’ve said before, I view the term as temporary as after you achieve a goal, “The diet is over!”. Then what usually happens is that backwards slide which usually accelerates during the end of summer and then goes full blown during the holidays. Make it a lifestyle change. You’ll feel and look better while being healthier. Even the “Pros” have an off season, but they (Well, most.) don’t let themselves go too far off the path. The farther off the path you go, the farther it is back on it. Imagine how much easier it will be next year to get in your “Summer Shape” if you are on the path, or even a step or two away as compared to being completely off the trail.