LOSING weight is one of those pledges we make occasionally, and with all good intentions, and many of us start the journey then lose focus along the way. Whether that's because exercise is too daunting, food looks too good to deny oneself the pleasures, or doubts set in because the pounds seem to be taking too long to come off, many people fail in this goal, no matter how good they start off.
Fitness trainer Lennox Richards says a lot of it is just mindset — for varying reasons people on the journey to weight loss lose the will to continue.
“Your biggest barrier will be sheer motivation — you may feel like you're pumped one day, and the next week you're not,” he said. “But what is important is working through these feelings and not losing focus.”
He said the key is to make small changes to your lifestyle along the way — changes like these listed below, that could see you reaching your dream weight in a short time. Want to lose 10 pounds and keep it off? Here are some tips that might help.
Often people wonder how they eat only one or two meals a day but still pack on the pounds. Missing meals is the reason. Once you miss meals, your body goes into starvation mode. That means your metabolic rate slows and you store more of the next meal you eat. This storage of fat and less burning of calories equals weight gain. The key is to get into the habit of eating small meals five times per day. By doing this, your body will speed up its metabolism and burn more calories. You won't be as hungry, so your meals will not be as big as the once-a-day meals leading to less storage of calories per meal.
You may think skipping breakfast is a sure way to keep the pounds off, but it's not. Like what happens when you skip meals, skipping breakfast means that your body will not have a sufficient source of energy to operate on. As such you are likely to feel tired, drained and lethargic. After the long period of fasting (while you slept) your body needs food so that you can function properly. To burn calories, our body's metabolism requires energy. If you continue to restrict calories to it then the body will compensate for its caloric restriction by slowing down the metabolic rate as it does overnight when you sleep.
If you want to burn calories then you have to give your body the kick-start, and the ideal thing to do this is with breakfast. Consuming breakfast will increase your metabolism and burn unwanted calories at a much faster rate than it would if you were to prolong fasting until, say, lunchtime.
Eat more ground provisions, less rice
It is better to eat ground provisions such as yam, potatoes, green bananas, etc, instead of white rice, white flour, pasta and white bread. These are usually high in calories, which can cause weight gain. While you're at it, your intake of vegetables and fruits should be increased. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals which will help to boost the immune system. In addition, fruits and vegetables can also help to maintain a healthy weight. Fried and oily foods should also be reduced or eliminated from your diet.
Choose whole grain bread, rice and pasta instead of white, as the starches used in the production of these can increase your blood sugar levels while significantly reducing your energy levels. Whole grains will do the opposite — regulate your blood sugar levels and help keep your energy constant.
Skip the sugar
Sugary drinks contain a load of calories that are readily converted to fat. Get into the habit of drinking water while you are eating, and especially when you are thirsty. Try your tea and coffee without sugar, also, and you might be amazed at how much better they taste. Here's a tip: add some lime juice to your flavoured teas instead of sugar, and prepare to be wowed by the refreshing taste.
Can you try to get in at least 15 to 20 minutes of exercise in the morning? Could you do a bit of walking at lunch time? If you have stairs at work, could do a few trips up and down? The exercises that will help with weight loss are any ones that get you to break a sweat and raise your heart rate. Go for a run in the morning before work; jog up a hill and break a sweat before you head out. And once you're out, park further away from your location so you can walk part of the way, and as much as possible, don't be sedentary.
Have you managed to transform your body through weight gain or weight loss? Want to share your story with us? E-mail allwoman@ jamaicaobserver.com