5 Ways to Increase Weight Loss
Losing weight can be extremely frustrating at times. You can be so good with watching what you eat and being active, but sometimes that doesn’t seem to be enough. If this is happening to you, don’t give up. Here are some ways to increase your weight loss potential.
We have heard it a thousand times before; breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true. Eating breakfast actually breaks the fast from your sleep as my colleague Grace Dietitian explains it.
When you eat breakfast, it kick starts your metabolism for the day. In other words, if you don’t eat breakfast, your body actually goes into starvation mode and holds onto the fat that already exists because it doesn’t know when it will get fed again. It is recommended to eat within 2 hours of waking up. This doesn’t have to be a big meal by any means (and I wouldn’t recommend that anyway), just something balanced and healthy to get your metabolism started.
A cardiovascular program is one of the best ways to burn fat on the body. Since we unfortunately cannot spot reduce fat in certain areas of our body, it is essential to burn calories with a cardio workout throughout the week.
Add cardio blasts into your workout. For example, if you choose to walk for your cardio activity, walk at your normal pace for 2 minutes and then increase your pace for 1 minute. Rotate this throughout your walk. When you increase your speed, your body has to work harder to keep up and to recover, resulting in a higher calorie burn. This will work for any cardio exercise (running, elliptical, biking, etc).
Write It Down
Journaling your food intake and activity has been proven to reduce weight. This method works because you are able to see exactly what you have eaten throughout the day. This can be helpful at dinner time to know how many calories you can have for this meal and if you splurge, you will know what you need to do for your exercise that day to make up the difference.
Journaling holds you accountable. You are able to see exactly what you are eating and make adjustments to your diet if necessary. Remember, it takes 3,500 calories to lose or gain one pound. This averages to a 500 calorie deficit each day, so decrease 250 calories in food intake and another 250 with exercise to lose one pound per week.
You can journal the old fashion way with pen and paper and look up the calorie amounts on the internet such as this one, or there are many on-line journals available for free that track your food/calories and physical activities. Some on-line journals I like are:
To find out how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis to maintain or lose weight, go to My Pyramid and enter in the appropriate information.
Variety is Key
Switch up your activity: Our bodies are smart and efficient machines as I have mentioned in past blog posts. The more we do the same activities; our bodies become accustomed to that particular exercise and don’t burn as many calories because the muscles aren’t being challenged. This holds true for cardiovascular activities and strength training exercises.
Challenge the various large muscle groups on non-consecutive days (upper body Monday/Wednesday; lower body Tuesday/Thursday for example). Building muscle mass helps to burn calories and extra fat while our bodies are at rest (called Resting Metabolic Rate).
The Food Guide Pyramid was recently replaced with My Plate. This focuses on how your dinner plate should look instead of actual portions. Half of your plate should include fruits and veggies, one-quarter of your plate consists of carbohydrates, and one-quarter is for protein.
I think this is good philosophy, but remember that dinner plates vary in size. But, with My Plate, it is recommended to use a smaller plate like the salad plate size to decrease portions. I think it is good to use both of these models for portion control. Here is a portion-control-guide for your reference.
Remember that when trying to lose weight, drinking water is very important. Drinking at least 64 ounces is important for key functions of the body to work properly. If it is hot, humid, or if you workout, you will need to drink more than the recommended amount.
Share with us a method of weight loss that has worked for you.
Photo credit: fantasyhealthball