The miracle weight loss pill is not, in fact, a pill. It isn’t even a miracle. Unlike what every women’s magazine claim Every. Single. Month. (Aren’t these magazines supposed to be on our side?) There are no 3 easy steps. I met two young ladies last week & I promised them I would write a weight loss blog. Weight loss is only necessary if one’s health is being affected. One can be a bigger size & healthier than a skinny person in some cases. However, one of these young ladies expressed that just a few jumping jacks got her winded. In her case, she is choosing to lose weight so she can feel better in her body & about it. Every one does not feel the same way.
There are, at least, 3 necessary steps to weight loss. However, depending on our current habits they may not be so easy to implement. We are creatures of habit so forming new ones take effort, drive & focus. The 3 steps are:
2) Weight Training
Cardio is not only good for burning extra calories but is also a key to heart health. The more cardio endurance we build the stronger our hearts are. I often hear women say that they want a six pack. Cardio and nutrition are the gateway to a six pack. We can do crunches till we pass out but without calorie burn & proper nutrition abs stay in hiding. It takes burning 3000 calories to lose 1 pound. Therefore, if you are seriously committed (and get past habits that are contrary to this goal) 5 days of cardio is optimal. 3 of those five days can be 30 min intervals. By intervals I mean going between 5 and 8 on a scale of 10 for 2 minutes at a time. 1 being you could talk on the phone without being out of breath at all. 10 being you are about to drop because your heart is working so hard and you cannot speak in an unencumbered way. Shocking the body back and forth between high and low intensity burns more calories than going at a steady pace for 1 full hour.
Weight training is important for building muscle. Muscle burns calories even when we aren’t working out. I still hear so many women say that they do not want to lift weights for fear of getting too bulky or manly. Please know this: a woman would have to be on a strictly regimented diet, have a strictly regimented work out plan with a trainer and take supplements to get that much bulk. Don’t believe the hype. Less weight more reps my booty popping arse. Lift weights as heavy as you can. Go for 10 - 12 reps on upper body parts & 12 - 15 reps on the larger muscles of the legs. If you aren’t feeling the burn by rep 8, it is not heavy enough. I have not worked out in a very consistent way since last summer. However, the muscle I’ve built working out hard from 6th grade track up until last summer is like ‘money in the bank’. They are still at work.
Nutrition is an extremely important step. Notice I did NOT say diet. Diets do not work long-term. I think we should all be clear on that by now. Fasting/cleansing is a good way to get a kick-start into healthier eating but is not a complete weight loss plan. If we go back to the unhealthy eating habits we had before the fast/cleanse we WILL gain back the weight lost and then some, often times. Loosing 1-2 pounds a week is the healthiest way to get it off & maintain our optimal size. Eat small portions 5 times a day (a portion about the size of your palm will suffice). When we don’t eat our bodies go into famine mode and start storing fat. When we eat often our metabolism gets a boost. Suppose weight loss is not a goal. Nutrition is still important for health. When we make healthy food choices our bodies, minds & spirits all feel better.
There must be a conscious choice to love ourselves so much that we opt to put ‘premium fuel’ into our bodies the majority of the time. An occasional junk food treat won’t kill us. In fact, I believe it helps to stay on course. Extreme deprivation often leads to extreme excess. Everything is fine in moderation. A piece of cake once a week is ok. Cake everyday of the week is only pushing us further away from our health and/or weight loss goals. Drink plenty of water at least 64 ounces a day. Get all complex carbohydrates in early (before 4pm) in the day when our body needs them to get thru the day. Make dinner simple protein & vegetables. Cut out the late night eating. Shut it down 3 hours before bed time. That grumbling in the stomach is your body burning fat reserves. When we eat late, it gets stored as fat because we cannot burn the calories thru activity. We will not die of hunger until breakfast in the morning. It may feel uncomfortable at first. However, there are unfortunate places where people only get 1 meal a day. Certainly we can last until the morning.
So here is a plan:
Always warm up beforehand & stretch afterwards! Abs are small so abdominal work can be done with every work out.
Start where you are and build from there. Maybe you can only do 1/2 or 1/4 of the time listed below. Build from there up to an hour gradually.
Always see a medical professional to get clearance before starting any work out program.
Mon – 30 min of cardio intervals, 30 min of weights: legs
Tues – 45 – 60 min of cardio (feel free to do 15 min each on different machines to mix it up)
Wed – 30 min of cardio intervals, 30 min of weights: chest, shoulders, triceps
Thurs – 45 – 60 min of cardio
Fri – 30 min of cardio intervals, 30 min of weights: back, biceps
Sat – take a yoga class, ride a bike outside, play tag with friends or rest
Sun – rest or stretch
Easy? Maybe not. Worth it? Definitely to me it is. I enjoy the way my body is able to function and move because I am healthy & strong. Being thin DOES NOT automatically mean that one is healthy & strong. So, let’s start taking care of ourselves. Get an accountability partner who will be supportive while not letting you slack off. Keep a journal of your food, work out & weight loss progress. Now is the perfect time to start for the summer count down & for the rest of our healthy, long lives!
- 2 Good reason that Low Calorie Weight loss diets Aren't effective (boldstate.com)
- Fitness Article - Designing Your Workout Part II (mindbeingfit.wordpress.com)
- How to Get a Six-Pack (answers.com)
- Weight Training for Weight Control? (everydayhealth.com)
- Boning Up on Weight-Bearing Exercise (everydayhealth.com)
- Can Eating Too Few Calories Stall Your Metabolism? (everydayhealth.com)