Lose 10 lbs. in 1 week!” “Six pack abs in 10 minutes a day!” “Drop four inches off your waist in the first month!” We have all heard these exaggerated weight loss promises either spouted off by late night infomercials, plastered in a colorful magazine advertisement or on the radio driving to work. Ultimately, though, these are nothing more than catchy slogans and empty promises driven by a multi-billion dollar industry hoping to capitalize on the American population’s (in which one out of every three adults is clinically obese) seemingly never-ending quest for physical perfection. The truth is that weight loss is not rocket science and the good news is that the most effective route toward dropping inches off your waistline is also the simplest. Here are three simple tips that will assist you in your journey toward fat loss and, ultimately, a happier, healthier and longer life.
- “Calories In versus Calories Out”. A calorie is simply a unit of energy coming from a food source. Dependent on one’s age, height, weight, gender and activity level everyone requires a certain amount of calories to maintain their weight; appropriately this is called one’s “maintenance calories.” Thanks to the convenience of high calorie fast foods and snacks combined with the overwhelming level of inactivity of the average American, most of us eat far more calories than our maintenance level and gain fat. So what is the solution? Read the nutrition facts, eat foods that are relatively low in calories and be more active!
- High intensity exercise at least three times per week. Everybody has seen those commercials that advertise weight loss “with no exercise required!” Sure, you can lose weight without exercise but after four weeks of starvation you will look in the mirror and see the same reflection staring right back at you! Yes, you may weigh less but your body composition will be the same. If you want six pack abs, a little definition in the back of your arms or a tighter rear end than you need to workout – and workout hard. Buy a heart rate monitor and wear it to the gym because you want to keep your heart rate between 135 and 155 beats per minutes for optimal fat loss results. Try this simple exercise prescription for weight loss and toning: after every set of weights, hop on the treadmill, elliptical or bike and run or pedal as fast you can for two minutes. Try that for forty-five minutes three times a week and take a look at your body in a couple months – you won’t be disappointed!
- Eat more often! The average American skips breakfast, eats a snack when he or she gets to work, waits a few more hours to have lunch then waits sometimes six-to-seven hours to consume dinner. Not coincidentally, dinner (and then dessert) is usually the biggest meal of the day. While this may not seem like a lot of food, the calories add up quickly because one ends up binging at meal-time because they have waited so long to eat. Eat breakfast when you wake up in the morning (and switch out the coffee and donut for oatmeal and egg whites!) and snack on some fruit or mixed nuts between meals. Start going for green vegetables instead of the French fries and get your chicken grilled, broiled or baked instead of fried or breaded.
Remember, fat loss does not need to be complicated or stressful. Whether you want to lose some inches on your waist for the beach, or you are struggling with high blood pressure, if you consistently apply these three simple steps to your daily routine you will see the results. We live in a time where there is a new drug developed to treat a new symptom or disease that has been diagnosed or discovered practically everyday, we often overlook the most simple and effective solution: exercise is truly the world’s only real panacea.