With summer just around the corner, many people have begun the fight to drop pounds and squeeze themselves into their old clothes. Who doesn’t love the idea of everyone in the locker room noticing their abs?
But showing your body off at the beach isn’t the only reason to get in shape. A healthy diet and a regular exercise plan can boost your confidence, as well as protect you from a variety of health issues like back pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and so much more.
The biggest factor that plays into efficient weight loss is definitely the food you include in your diet. For years, I focused more on the workouts while putting crap like pizza and oreos into my body on a regular basis, and I was actually shocked when the pounds just refused to budge. I didn’t understand! After all, I had given it everything I had when I was in the gym, so I should be ten pounds lighter, right?
Of course, now I know better than that. Weight loss is also determined by the calories you put in, not just the calories that go out.
But what if I told you that calories weren’t the only way food could affect your weight?
Avoid the obvious: added sugars. Fruit is perfectly fine because the sugar is natural and the food contains water, fiber, and micro-nutrients, but lollipops and chocolate cake turn straight into fat once they enter our bodies. This of course means that those low-calorie, processed “healthy desserts” being marketed everywhere aren’t actually helping you at all.
Data recorded by the US Department of Agriculture in 2015 shows that the average American is consuming 94 grams of sugar per day, which equals 22.4 teaspoons. The American Heart Association insists that you should not consume any more than 6 teaspoons per day, which is 25 grams. Artificial sugars are no better, either, so you should stick to what is natural.
Your metabolism works to convert the food you eat into energy, which you can then use to burn calories. The faster your metabolism is, the more calories you will burn. From my personal experience, drinking as much water as you can (without hurting yourself) is the best way to boost your metabolism. Making sure you drink a gallon of water each day is a safe way to go, so you can be sure to keep yourself hydrated, healthy, and feeling good.
Of course, you don’t want to completely ignore the part where you actually burn off the calories that you consume. Believe it or not, you don’t have to have a gym membership to do it, either. It isn’t difficult to find an at-home workout plan online, and it can actually be enjoyable to search through and find what works best for you. In fact, many fitness fanatics have taken to using apps to guide them.
I found my favorite fitness app for free on Google Play. It’s called The 30 Day Fit Challenge Workout, and it has provided me with over a year’s worth of workouts. When you open the app, you can select which part of your body you want to push (there is a “full-body workout” option included) and it provides you with six different month-long workout plans that are varying in difficulty. After only a month of using this app (and keeping a consistent healthy diet), I easily dropped a full ten pounds.
I picked up a few tips for good workouts over the years, often from friends or from kind people that I interact with in the gym. I’ve learned that it takes about 15 minutes of exercise before your body starts burning actual fat (from this I based my minimum 20-minute-workout-rule) and that if your stomach feels cold when you touch it after exercising, it means that your body has warmed up and you pushed yourself hard enough. Things like that are very helpful in helping to keep me motivated during my intense workout sessions, so I suggest that they don’t get overlooked.
Be very careful when you are trying to lose weight, though. According to WebMD, you generally want to only lose 1-2 pounds a week to stay on the safe side, though you could push yourself a little harder as long as you don’t exceed five pounds in one week. Doing so would be very unhealthy.
When setting your goal weight, it is important to understand how much weight loss would be healthy for you, which can be determined by taking a look at your BMI. Generally, a BMI of 21 is considered to be a perfect weight, but experts say that a healthily range is anywhere from about 19 to 25. You should consult your doctor before you make any decisions.
What you do with your body is completely up to you. Just remember to stay safe, stay hydrated, and don’t drop the dumbbell on your foot.