The vast majority of people have busy lives nowadays, and fine tuning our eating habits may be low on the list. We are more inclined to just grab a bite to eat at a restaurant – even fast food – while going to and from work or kid’s activities. Needless to say, this is an optimum way to pack on the pounds. A demanding job that allows little or no time for exercise just compounds the problem!
If you have a lot of weight to lose, actually doing it can be very daunting. If one pound is approximately 3,500 calories, you would have to exercise enough to burn that many calories just to lose a single point. Just thinking about that much exercise is exhausting!
Maybe the best advice is this: Take it slow. Don’t try to lose the weight all at once, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose.
Here’s what you can do instead: every week, commit to a small change in your lifestyle that takes you a little bit closer to your goal. Think of these as long-lasting changes – that’s exactly what they should be. You aren’t ‘going on’ a diet with the intention of coming off it again in a week or a month from now. You are committing to your long term health and fitness by taking easy steps towards it, a little at a time.
There are several things you can do right off the bat, to jump start your weight loss:
First, drink enough water. If you are dehydrated, it is very difficult to lose weight. Your metabolism won’t be working at full tilt if you are dehydrated. Also, if you’re thirsty, it is easy to mistake that thirst for hunger. This is why many people end up eating when they aren’t actually hungry – thirst is driving them to crave ‘wet’ foods, like yogurt (not a bad choice) or ice cream (much worse for you, obviously). The point is that if you’re not hungry, you shouldn’t be eating anything – not even vegetables or yogurt.
So how much water is enough? It is generally acknowledged that eight to ten glasses or water are enough for an adult to drink on a daily basis. Of course, if it’s particularly hot, or if you’ve been losing moisture by exercising a lot, you might want to drink more. Eight to ten glasses is a good ‘base’ amount, however.
Next, start to incorporate ‘passive exercise’ into your day as much as you can. Passive exercise, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, refers to the exercise that you get while going about your daily routine. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting off the bus a couple of stops early and walking to your destination, or the miles that you log in while shopping at the mall, are all excellent examples of passive exercise. It’s ‘passive’ in the sense that you don’t have to go out and do it; you just do it as a function of your daily routine. This type of exercise is great, because everyone has time for it, and we don’t need to worry about special clothing or equipment. Be sure to make time for passive exercise.
Another great thing to do is to up your consumption of fresh food – fruits and vegetables. This is a good idea for a whole variety of reasons, of course, not the least of which is the fact that these foods fight cancer. They help you lose weight in two separate ways – first, they replace other, higher calorie food in your diet, and second, they make you feel full, because they are full of fiber.
These three weight loss tips cost you nothing in terms of money or time. All it takes is a little bit of planning and some consciousness of your weight loss goals. If, after a few weeks of faithfully implementing these changes, you aren’t happy with the results, you may need to start on a more concentrated weight loss regime such as weight watchers. However, you may well find that these simple measures are enough for your weight loss needs, and all it takes is keeping them up on a regular, daily basis.