Losing weight can be a difficult struggle for many, and it doesn’t have to be. Quite often the age old advice of going to the extreme – dropping calories, eating strict and exercising frequently – isn’t the most effective advice one can get. More often than not, a few simple lifestyle changes are the key to making dramatic changes in your body, as the extreme changes in activity and food intake can shock the metabolism and force your metabolic rate to crash, leading to even worse results – the burning of muscle and gain of more body fat. It’s because of this effect that it’s often suggested to perform a more gradual change over, to avoid this metabolic crash.
So what we need to do is similar, but not exactly the same as the previously mentioned plan of attack. Cleaning up our diet and exercising doesn’t have to be a drastic change and can be as simple as a few little alterations in our lifestyle. As mammals, we are built to adapt to our environment in order to survive. A metabolic crash is a protective reflex to stop your body from using too much body fat and causing you to die of starvation. I don’t think starvation is a huge problem in today’s society with waist sizes increasing every year. So what small changes can we make?
When it comes to diet, take a good look at what you consume on a regular basis. Anything like junk food, soft drink, a few beers in the afternoon or perhaps even just the size of your portions could be stopping you from staying lean. For a lot of people out there, eliminating just one of these items from your regular diet can make a huge difference. A 600ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 64g of sugar, which is almost guaranteed to go into your mouth and directly onto your belly. If you drink a 600ml bottle of softdrink everyday, dropping this daily bottle is weekly deficit of 1792 calories (over 7 days), thats enough to lose half a pound of fat a week! Which equals 26 pounds in a year! Or look at the opposite – start drinking that much extra and you can expect an equal weight gain. Removing a few of these items in your regular diet can make a huge difference over a long period of time, and is the most stable way to lose weight and keep it off.
Exercise isn’t a very popular activity among most people, and the very thought of it can be too off putting and cause people to give up before they have even begun! But exercise doesn’t have to be a routined daily performance. Making a few simple alterations to your lifestyle can have the same effect. Taking some of the less active parts of your day and performing them in a more active way will cause drastic changes to your body and muscle tone. Ways to do this could be:
- Walking or riding a bicycle to work or anywhere within distance (instead of driving)
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Standing (when possible – eg. the subway) on public transport instead of sitting
- Eat or drink while standing instead of sitting
Keeping simple activities the same but with a higher level of physical participation, can save on time all the while helping you be more active. Planning simple weekend activities like swimming, kicking the ball at the park, going for a bike ride or even just walking around town or at the shopping mall are ways to keep yourself entertained without slouching on the couch or being totally inactive.
Starting small changes like this can change you both physically and mentally. You may even find yourself wanting to get more active over time, as physical activity can be quite addictive. Following this addiction can ultimately give you a new outlook on life, leaving you thinner, healthier, and more importantly, happier.
For a complete plan on losing weight, please check out our weight loss section for more information!