10 Tips to Move the Scale in Your Direction
It seems like we are in a constant battle to try to win a competition against the scale. We have become so obsessed with the number that pops up that we forget to put our focus and energy on the habits that will get us there. Here are our top 10 tips to help keep you focused and the scale moving in the direction you want it to!
1. The main factor if your are gaining or losing weight is determined by the amount of energy (calories) that we take in as food and beverages and the amount of activates we do throughout the day. If you are looking to drop some pounds you need to change either the amount you’re eating and/or the amount you’re burning. A combination of cutting 300 calories from your diet and 200 calories of extra exercise every day can help to tip the scale 1 pound per week!
2. Long term weight loss periods are good for making it hard to lose weight. Your body will adapt to the increased workload or decreased food intake causing your body to require less energy to survive or a decreased metabolism. To keep your freedom to eat food without packing on the pounds keep your weight loss phases to 4 months or less. If you have not reached your goal in that time frame take a 1-2 month maintenance phase where you slowly adjust your calorie balance to the point where you are not gaining or losing weight, then go back into another weight loss phase. It is better to drop and maintain than to never drop again!
3. Select your foods wisely. A slice of pizza is about 250 calories, dry white wine -160, a quarter-pound cheese burger – 500, a jumbo muffin 550. You can have these foods, but they will come at a cost of hunger later on. So you can have 1 cheese burger or a chicken breast, a cup of broccoli and rice that will be much more filling. For breakfast you can drop the muffin and have a 6oz ham-steak, a bowl of oatmeal and some peanut butter. The healthier options have much more volume and fiber that will help to keep you fuller longer.
4. Exercise can help, but it can’t fix a broken diet. A 170 person that briskly walks for 45 min will burn about 300 calories. A intense weight training session can burn about 5-600 calories. Look at other ways to increase your daily burn such as vigorous house chores, taking laps around the office or just being more animated when you talk to find extra ways to burn some calories.
5. Earn your carbs. Multiple studies have shown that the most efficient way to change your body composition is to participate in a weight training routine. Not only will this increase your metabolic rate but it also burns off muscle glycogen (sugar) allowing you to take down some extra carbohydrates without it hitting your waistline.
6. Have a well rounded exercise routine. Weight training should make up 33-66% of your exercise program, 16-50% Cardio and 16-33% recovery exercise such as Pilates or yoga. Your personal likes and dislikes determine what your program should look like. For example if your dread cardio and love weight training and only have 5 hours (300 minutes) to work out in the week your program might look something like this: 45 minutes Pilates, 45 minutes cardio (apx 20 min after 2 lifting sessions), 204 minutes weight training or 3.5 hrs. Someone who loves recovery exercise and only has 4 hrs a week might look like this: 2 hrs of reformer Pilates, 1.5 hrs resistance training, and 30 minutes cardio.
7. Subtraction by addition. Instead of thinking about all of the foods you have to take out of your diet. Think focus on the foods you need more of! Instead of processed sugars look for fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth. Opt for whole grains instead of white bread, pasta and rice. Increase the amount of veggies and protein at your meals so you are not tempted to snack on the chips and crackers.
8. Allow yourself to slip up. Consistency is king in the world of weight loss, but even kings mess up once and awhile. So don’t beat yourself up over a bad meal decision or having the occasional glass or 2 of wine. Except that it happened and get back on track. Chances are the increased amount of stress and anxiety you felt over that meal decision will cause an even bigger crash down the road.
9. Allow yourself to seek help. If you have tried and failed at the weight loss game before, try something else. You may have not found the right program or the right coach to guide you to your goal. Make sure they are speaking to your needs and not just what they want. Have an honest conversation about both of your expectations. A true professional will tell you that you will have a very hard time dropping two pounds per week if you are not willing to give up your extravagant weekend drinks and meals.
10. Enjoy your health. Get back to enjoying shopping for new clothes, getting in pictures and even participating in healthy activities such as hiking, rock climbing or even find a local Ninja Warrior Training course like Grit obstacle training or the Bloomfield ropes course. You put in the hard work to regain your health and confidence, make sure you stop to smell the roses and enjoy being healthy and happy!
Bonus tip: Remember your body is adaptive. So if you see your weight loss program stall after 6 weeks don't worry, just get a little more aggressive with your plan. In most cases your body has probably adapted to the cut in calories and/or the increased amount of activity so increasing your calorie deficit by just 200 calories might make a big difference!
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Cofounder Ideal Core
NASM CPT, Pn1, BaS Central Michigan University