Summer is here and like always most of us dread going into summer with the weight that we have put on during winter. This summer we are suggesting sticking with the core basics for losing excess body fat while maintaining your hard earned lean muscle. Here are the top 10 tips to shed those unwanted kilos and get “beach ready” for summer!

Weight Loss Tip #1 – Commit to cardio
The first step to making your commitment to cardio is to find what you enjoy. There are so many options to choose from running, cycling, cardio machines in the gym, and group fitness classes, just to name a few. If you get bored easily, change it up frequently. Find a friend who likes the same type of workout and use the buddy system. If you pick an activity you enjoy, it will be much easier to stick with it. Make your cardio workout a priority. Quit scheduling your workouts around everything else you have to do, and instead schedule everything else around your workout. Write it in your planner if you need to, but don’t let anything interfere. If you make it important in your daily routine, then you will find ways to work in everything else you need to do.

Weight Loss Tip #2 – Keep a diet journal
One of the most important aspects of losing weight is keeping a diet journal. Diet journals allow you to keep a detailed record and track everything you put into your mouth. You will gain an immediate consciousness of your eating habits. Your diet journal will keep track of how many meals you eat everyday, the size of your meals and when each meal is consumed. Are you a late night eater? How about an afternoon binge eater? Your diet journal will provide a wealth of information to learn from.

Along with recording all of the foods you eat, your diet journal should also contain your feelings, thoughts and reactions with each meal. Were you actually hungry when you ate or just bored? Did you eat because you were happy, sad or frustrated? Did you feel anxious or rushed during a meal? Also, make sure to record how you felt after you ate your meal. Did you feel tired and lethargic? These are extremely important points to document when keeping your diet journal. It’s amazing how much you will learn by recording these dietary events and using this tool is crucial for permanent weight loss!

Weight Loss Tip #3 – Cross train for great results
A great training method to add variety into your cardio routines is to use cross training. Cross training allow you to switch between multiple forms of exercise in one session. This keeps your routine fun and also burns extra calories by adding more intense styles of cardio exercises. A sample cross training cardio routine may include 15 minutes jogging on the treadmill, followed immediately by 15 minutes on the elliptical training machine and then followed immediately by 15 minutes of stationary cycling. This cardio workout consists of 3 different exercises and last a total of 45 minutes in 25 length. You can decrease or increase each time interval to fit your fitness level. You want to start out with the most intensive exercise first and end with the least intensive exercise.

Weight Loss Tip #4 – Mix up your meals
Always try to mix up your foods and have a variety of meals. The last thing you want is to get bored with the same exact meals every single day. Mix in a protein smoothie for one meal followed by a healthy chicken breast salad. Lunch may include a whole wheat turkey wrap with romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers with a side of non-fat cottage cheese. For dinner, try a nice stir fry with a lean protein source and mixture of vegetables. Another great snack idea is frozen protein bars. These make a great snack during the day which provide quality muscle building protein and also cure a nagging sweet tooth. Choose a protein bar that is low in sugar and tastes great.

Weight Loss Tip #5 – Make small changes every week
Making small changes is very important for ingraining healthy habits and behaviors into your life. If you start out with very drastic changes with a goal of losing tons of weight very quickly, you will be destined to fail. Big changes will most likely shock your system and you may become mentally burned out very quickly because of the difficulty to adhere to the rigid program. By making small changes every week, you will be much more likely to stick with the minor modifications to your diet or exercise program and continue to build on this solid foundation over the course of time. Small dietary changes may include removing the mayonnaise and cheese from your sandwiches or choosing a healthier dressing on your salads. These small changes can reduce hundreds of calories from your daily caloric intake and it only takes a 500 calorie deficit per day (below your BMR) to lose 1 pound of body fat per week. A small exercise change may be to go outside for a 1 mile walk every other day. This is a great way to begin so you can build up to several miles per week and burn excess calories, tone your legs and increase your energy levels!

Weight Loss Tip #6 – Include protein at each meal
You should include a lean protein source at every meal. Your muscles need protein. You need the amino acids that comprise the protein we consume to repair, maintain and facilitate growth in muscles. Protein is also used in a host of other ways by the body, specifically by enzymes, blood and other cells. Adding protein at each meal will generally reduce the glycemic index of the meal. Focus on getting at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if your weight is 175 lbs, try to eat at least 175 grams of protein 15 per day. Your protein should come from lean sources which are low in fat and calories.

Weight Loss Tip #7 – Take photos of yourself
Keep a detailed photo gallery of your progress. Pictures don’t lie. Buy an inexpensive digital camera and take pictures of yourself every week in your bikini or swimsuit. Snap 3 pictures ever week including a profile, frontal and rear photo. Include these with your diet diary and exercise journal so you can see how your body looks each week while you make changes to your diet and exercise program. Remember, sometimes the scale does lie. Even though your scale may read that you have gained 2 pounds over the last 3 weeks, this could very easily be 2 pounds of lean muscle. Lean muscle is an 20 extremely metabolic tissue and the more you have on your body, the more calories you burn even when you’re just sitting around! By adding photos of yourself, you will be able to reference your physical appearance from week to week. This very important tool can help you immensely with your weight loss plan.

Weight Loss Tip #8 – Make sure to eat breakfast
Always try to eat a very nutritious breakfast. This should be one of your largest meals of the day and the most important. Eating a healthy breakfast is crucial for providing the correct fuel to get you going. Your body has been fasting for 6-10 hours from sleeping and is primed for re-fueling. Researchers have found that people who ate breakfast every day were a third less likely to be obese compared to those who skipped the meal. In addition, they were half as likely to have blood-sugar problems, which increase the risk of developing diabetes or having high cholesterol, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. The researchers believe that eating first thing in the morning may help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy. They suggest people who eat breakfast are less likely to be hungry during the rest of the day and are, therefore, less likely to overeat.

Weight Loss Tip #9 – Increase your cardio intensity
You can burn major calories by increasing the level of your cardio intensity. An amazing method of cardio training is called HIIT (high intensity interval training). The overview of this training method is to limit the time to a maximum of 20 minutes per session and vary your training intensity during the workout. Start out with an exercise like the elliptical trainer and begin at about a 65% intensity level for the first 5 minutes. Once you’re warmed up, increase the intensity to 90% for the next 30 seconds and then drop back down to 65% intensity for the next 60 seconds. Repeat the cycle for the next 16 10 minutes. Once you hit the 15 minute mark, drop your intensity back down to a steady 65% intensity and cool down
for the last 5 minutes. You can apply the HIIT cardio training to any exercise like running, jumping rope, cycling and even aerobics.

Weight Loss Tip #10 – Remove temptations from your house
This tip may be the most important aspect of succeeding with your weight loss plan. You should go through your kitchen and remove all the temptations from your refrigerator, pantry and all other areas in your home where unhealthy foods reside. Try taking the mindset of treating food like a drug. If you were a recovering alcoholic, the last thing you would want is to have alcohol in your home. The temptation would be too intense and the probability to relapse and consume the harmful drug would be far too strong. Just like alcohol, treat food like a drug. For many people, food is their drug of choice and this is the primary reason why it’s very important to minimize the temptation as much as possible from your home. Start by going through your kitchen and removing all the high fat, high sugar and empty calorie foods such as cakes, candy, crackers, potato chips, rolls, chocolate, pies, cookies, pizza and ice cream. Replace these unhealthy items with healthy, nutrient dense food that fuels your body and helps you run at an optimal level.

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