Jump-start Your Weight Loss Program
Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, says achieving significant and lasting weight loss requires vigilance on three fronts: Mind, Meals and Movement. Leaving any of these components out can seriously hamper your success.
Mind games are common among individuals who struggle to lose weight. Too often, they are negative, centering on feelings of guilt, distorted body image and low self-esteem.
Putting a positive spin on your internal messages can have a profound effect on your ability to accomplish your goal. You can start by closing your eyes and visualizing your success. Paint a mental picture of yourself snacking on fruits and vegetables midway through the day (instead of grabbing cookies) and going for a brisk 30-minute walk every evening. When you actually see yourself doing these things, you'll begin believing that you can do them. Then, translate those positive images into a written list of realistic short-term goals that you can follow.
Finally, keep a food diary. Record when, where, what and how much you eat, and include your physical and emotional state (e.g. hungry, bored, stressed, angry) with each entry. This is the only way you can accurately monitor your calorie consumption and identify the people, places and emotions that may trigger overeating.
Mealtime can be a source of great anxiety for people trying to lose weight. Again, a detailed, specific game plan can increase your odds of success. Experts recommend eating four to six small meals a day, instead of the traditional three. Eating every three to four hours keeps hunger at bay and helps prevent binging. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels, preventing rapid increases and subsequent "crashes" that play havoc with your fat-regulating hormones insulin and leptin.
The key is to eat balanced, healthy and lowfat meals that range between 300 and 400 calories each. You may want to invest in a session with a nutritionist who can develop a personalized meal plan that includes three to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and provide the correct balance of protein (20 percent), carbohydrates (50 to 55 percent) and fat (15 to 30 percent). Perhaps most important, educate yourself on proper portion sizes. A review of the Food Guide Pyramid may prove to be an eye-opening experience. For example, today's average size bagel is actually equal to two to three servings, not one!
Unfortunately, the number of sedentary individuals far outweighs (pun intended!) the number of individuals who exercise consistently. Yet, exercise is crucial to fat loss. The best approach is a combination of fat-burning aerobic exercise and muscle-building resistance training.
Prime examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, jogging/running, dancing, rowing, cycling and swimming. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity a day or three to five 20 to 60-minute sessions per week. Resistance training is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. The greatest perk is that muscle burns more calories, even at rest. Individuals should perform at least two resistance-training sessions per week targeting each major muscle group.
The following triceps "kickback" exercise is a great way to
strengthen and shape your upper arm. Holding a dumbbell in your right
hand, stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees and toes pointing
forward. Take a big step forward with your left leg, and bend your knees
into a lunge position. Place your left hand on your hip or on your thigh
for support, as you hold the weight at your right hip with your elbow
bent at 90 degrees. Keep your upper arm parallel to the floor as you extend
your right elbow and lift the weight out behind you. Pause briefly before
slowly lowering the weight to your hip. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch
to the other side. Perform up to 3 sets on each side, resting for a short
time in between sets
5. Be efficient.
6. Schedule it.
7. Make exercise easy.
8. Get adventurous.
9. Do it at home.
10. Enlist an exercise buddy.