Effective Weight Loss Strategies: How to Get Fit in 6 Weeks
A large percentage of the human population has had to face the problem of gaining weight – sounds better that obesity, doesn’t it?! Well, being overweight carries with it an increased risk factor and susceptibility to a vast number of diseases which can sometimes be life-threatening. The risk of some health issues is very often related with BMI (body mass index). And, unfortunately, even childhood obesity seems to be on the increase, causing health issues like type 2 diabetes, asthma and even cardiovascular risks. The stigma of obesity in children can lead to mental health issues and also behavioural problems.
While many people realise the importance of keeping fit and maintaining a healthy weight, some do find it difficult to achieve this goal on their own. This is when Nutrition Consultants can assist a great deal, as they are professionally trained to develop eating plans for individuals, to promote good health and wellbeing, as well as to assist in pursuing such plans.
To aid people in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, fitness and nutrition consultants offer practical advice, fitness plans and nutritional strategies for a wide range of clients, differing in age, fitness, profession and social backgrounds.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “Why do I want to lose weight?” When you have a strong enough reason, keep that motivation at the forefront of your mind and that will lead you to reach that goal. Six weeks is enough time to get your body and mind into shape, which will result in healthy habits and boost your confidence as well.
In today’s fast lifestyle, it is quite a challenge to stay fit and healthy. Weight loss should not be treated as a short-term concept but as a sustainable change in one’s lifestyle. You should keep eating healthy food and exercising even after you achieve your goal; else, you may not be able to keep the weight loss down.
A few tips for effective weight loss and how to keep fit in 6 weeks:
Avoid crash diets. Research has shown that crash diets, which result in rapid weight loss, can slow down your metabolism, weaken the immune system and make your body lose out on essential nutrients. This, in turn, increases the risk of cardiac stress and dehydration. So, crash diets should be a definite “No”.
Nutrition: A large contributory factor to good nutritional habits is an understanding of the basic food groups and their impact on the food intake which can result in drastic changes in weight and fitness of a person. This is where the experience of a professionalcan also play a substantial role in assisting you to reach your goal.
Cutting down on carbohydrates and unhealthy fats in the diet cause an increase in protein intake which decreases the hunger hormone and boosts several satiety hormones. More protein can reduce muscle loss and raise the metabolic rate as body fat is lost.
Snack more on healthy food, like whole fruits, nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs. Some possibly more attractive snacks are chickpeas, roasted peas and dairy-free, gluten-free treats. Moreover, protein rich snacks are also not only healthy, but tasty as well! However, be cautious of not loading up on these snacks, especially nuts and whole fruits, which should be taken in moderation.
Track your meals – as the saying goes: “If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing”, so by tracking your intake for the first couple of weeks, it will give you a better idea of the type and quantity of food you are eating/consuming. A nutrition expert can help you set targets and may also recommend the use of certain online apps to help track your daily food intake, exercise and other physical activity.
Drinking water before meals is one way to cut down on intake of food. Eating less is always healthier. And intermittent fasting has proven to be as effective as cutting down on calories! Something as simple as using smaller plates, amazingly, also helps in reducing food intake!!
While only a qualified nutrition coach will be able to give you a tailor-made diet plan based on your goals and lifestyle, some suggestions on the types of food you should consume to help in weight loss are listed below – it does not need to be too difficult and some of the alternatives are quite tasty!
Despite the general notion, full eggs and coffee, preferably black are, in fact, helpful. Eggs are full of nutrition and filling, too. Green tea is also good. Leafy greens are high in fibre. Salmon is a good choice for a healthy weight loss as it is high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in fibre and nutrients. This will not only be an excellent weight loss strategy but will improve your overall health as well. Lean meat and chicken breasts are a good way to increase protein in place of some of the carbs and fat in the diet, which makes it easier to lose weight. Tuna is also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Boiled potatoes, by being one of the most filling foods, reduce appetite and result in less consumption of food. Legumes – peas, beans and legumes are low in fat content and high in protein and fibre. Soups, as long as they are not creamy or oily, are very filling, due to their large water content and so will reduce intake of other food. Lean dairy products like cottage cheese can add to protein content without increasing the calorie intake. Dairy products are also high in calcium which can help in burning fat. Apple cider vinegar added to a salad may also help in reducing appetite. Refined grains should be avoided while whole grains are much more nutritious, being higher in fibre. Grapefruit may help in lowering appetite and reduce calorie intake when eaten before meals. Chia seeds are also very high in fibre and are filling, thereby reducing appetite.
Cooking oils can also play a part in weight loss. Not all saturated fats are bad for cholesterol. Oils like palm oil and coconut oil actually help lower cholesterol levels even though they contain saturated fats. Olive oil has monounsaturated fatty acids, which assist in weight loss.
Eat only whole, unprocessed foods. Processed foods, because of their high sugar or salt content, are known to lead to a wide range of health problems and are best left untouched.
Eat more fibre, vegetables and fruit.Removing sugars and starches will help reduce appetite, lower insulin levels and you won’t even feel hungry as you lose weight! Cutting down on refined carbs, which include sugar and grains without their fibrous portions (like white bread and pasta) will also be beneficial. Also, cutting back on added sugar and avoiding sugary drinks, sodas and fruit juice will help.
Check labels on food items. Branding and labelling of items can sometimes be misleading, so it is always wise to check the ingredients on the labels and see if the items are, indeed, as stated.
Taking supplements in the form of vitamins or fish oil can also benefit. Also, taking probiotics promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria and, although not scientifically proven to help lose weight, definitely assists with general health.
Good sleep is important, as many calories are burned while you are sleeping and this helps in weight reduction.
Exercise and lifting weights: A balanced exercise regime is ideal for weight loss. Examples of aerobic exercises include cardio machines, aerobics/zumba classes, running, swimming, walking, hiking, spinning, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing. Find an activity you enjoy, so exercise won’t seem like a chore. When combined with weight lifting, more calories are burned and the muscles are strengthened and toned, increasing the metabolic rate and weight loss. Instead of working out 7 days a week, it is suggested that you take a weekly 2 day rest.
There is the 80-20 rule, which, ultimately is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. One would normally think of it as the other way round, wouldn’t one?! However, nutrition plays an enormous part in keeping fit and, since both exercise and nutrition complement one another, without the right nutrition, the energy required for exercise will be lagging! Hold on! This does not mean that you keep eating for 80% of your day time and exercise the other 20%!! Nor does it mean that you exercise non-stop throughout the day to burn up the calories from your last meal! Healthy nutrition means food that is a good blend of fiber, protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. This is where a nutrition consultant can make all the difference in your weight loss/fitness journey, making it more sustainable and long lasting.
Each person is an individual and weight loss can depend on a number of factors, so one cannot correctly predict how much weight can be lost in a certain period of time. However, following the above tips and carefully monitoring the aspects of good nutrition and regular exercise will definitely result in an effective weight loss!