I personally hold the belief that every body is a beach body, no judgements here! But if you’re like me, you made it a goal to shed some extra fat before summer approaches. So here are some tips to help get you started:
- Set Realistic Goals: Everyone does it! We get in a little over our heads and set goals that aren’t attainable. When we don’t reach them, we get discouraged, and fall off altogether. Don’t let this happen to you! Set small, realistic goals that you know you can achieve. You can always beef up your goals later! But being able to accomplish the little goals along the way will give you the encouragement and momentum you need to keep going!
- Hit the Weights: Everyone thinks that they have to go crazy with the cardio in order to lose weight. While it certainly helps, studies show that weightlifting actually burns more calories and puts your body in a state of “after-burn.” If you hit the weights correctly, your body could potentially continue to burn calories 24-36 hours after your workout! If you still want to incorporate cardio into your routine, make sure you save it for the end of your workout to maximize your weightlifting productivity.
- Cut the Carbs: For a long time, it was the belief that having too much fat in your diet would lead to weight gain. This led to an era of “fat-free” or “low-fat” food trends that had everyone thinking they were being healthier. More recently however, it has been shown that excess carbohydrates are actually more to blame for unnecessary weight-gain. By decreasing your carb intake, your body will naturally look to fat stores for energy. Some people take this to the extreme and try to put their body in a state called “ketosis.” While this will certainly accelerate your weight loss, it is not necessary. All you need is to be in a slight calorie deficit to lose weight. So, don’t starve yourself, just make sure you space your meals out, and make them high in protein and healthy fats, like avocado and nuts. And if you work out as much as I do, it might be beneficial to increase carb intake on weekends to prevent fatigue. This is called “refeeding” and also helps to keep up your metabolism.
- Intermittent Fasting: People hear the word “fasting” and they immediately panic, thinking that they are not capable of doing it. But there are many different ways to fast, and odds are that there is one method that will work for you! One example is the 16:8 split; you eat for 8 hours out of the day and fast for the other 16. This sounds extreme, but if you space it out appropriately, half of that time is spent sleeping, in which you are already fasting anyway. I eat my first meal at 12:30 in the afternoon, my lunch time, and I have my last protein-laden snack at 8:30pm, which holds me over until bedtime. The morning can be rough but having some black coffee and green tea holds me over until I break fast again. I also only do this Monday-Friday. Do some research and see if you can make intermittent fasting part of your routine!
- Be Patient: You’re not going to see the results you want in a week, two weeks, or even a month. Your body needs time to adjust and redistribute tissue. Weight loss is not an instantaneous process, so don’t get discouraged if things are moving along quite as fast as you had hoped. Stick with it and be dedicated. The only way to guarantee that you won’t reach your goals is by giving up! Have discipline, because you won’t always be motivated.
- Balance: It is summertime after all, and we want to enjoy it! I personally take my diet and exercise very seriously Monday-Friday. But I give myself some wiggle-room on the weekends to enjoy myself and break up the monotony of daily life. So, don’t be afraid to grab a beer or a tasty treat every once in a while. As long as you hold yourself accountable, straying from your diet here and there won’t hinder your progress too much! And not addressing cravings can lead you to a day of binging, which is much worse. Your mental health is just as, if not more important than your physical health! Take care of yourself!
Always remember, these are tips that work for me, personally. They will not work for everyone and should not be taken as any kind of standard. Do research, attempt what you can, and learn what works for you and your body. And lastly, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Self-care and body positivity are extremely important, no matter what your fitness level is.