Everyone is looking for the perfect combination of food and exercise to lose weight. The front covers of fitness magazines taunt you with six-pack abs and new diet fads. They make it sound easy, but with just a sample workout and a few diet tips, your goal will still be elusive. I would like to provide you with a few starter steps that you can use to dial in your perfect combination for success without depriving yourself. Each person is different and will require an individualized plan to get the results that they want, but it is simple to come up with a beginning plan if you are willing to stick to the basics. So, how do you know where to start?
If you want to get a generalized idea about how many calories you should be eating, head to a calorie calculator site, like http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html. You will need to put in your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level to give you an idea about how many calories you should eat daily. Then figure out how many times you eat during the day and divide your calories pretty evenly between those meals. Make small changes, if needed, but make sure the calories are close to your total by the end of the day. For instance, if you know that lunch is always your biggest meal, make sure to shave off some calories from the other meals to compensate for the bigger meal. Of course, strive to get most of your calories from whole food sources, as this will help to provide better fuel for your body.
As far as exercise, you can look at your daily habits and then start adding in exercises that appeal to you where you can. If you have a weight loss goal of one pound per week, you will need to reduce your calorie consumption by 250 cals/day and increase your activity by about 250 cals/day. Calories burned by exercise vary by person, so you will need to make sure that you are doing enough exercise to make the plan work. Walking is a great way to start, but be sure to add challenges or different exercises and get the most out of each workout.
This will give you a great baseline and will enable you to see how your plan works for you. Record your activities and keep a food journal to track your progress. Give it a couple of weeks and then check where you are. Did you lose weight? If you did, pat yourself on the back and continue the pattern until there is no change. If you didn’t, you will need to reduce your calories or increase your activity level to see progress next time. For example, pick more vigorous exercises or eat more green vegetables instead of heavier carbs like potatoes and rice. Each time, just tweak the formula to see results. It is a simple design, but it is not easy for everyone to stick with, so try to have patience and enjoy the journey. Keep your goals in mind and know that you are in control of the outcome. Stick to it and you will succeed.
So, now you know a great way to find the perfect combination of diet and exercise to meet your needs. Keep in mind that when you need a break from the routine, take some time and relax a little. Enjoy a couple of items that you wouldn’t normally eat on your food plan. Then, after a day or two, jump right back to the routine and give it your all. When you work hard and get the feel for how to change your body for the better, you will start to see the benefits in energy and attitude, not to mention in your waistline. With patience and perseverance, you will make a significant difference in how you look and feel. And you don’t have to feel like you’re depriving yourself to do so!
As a side note, if you choose to do some resistance training, which I highly recommend, realize that if you don’t lose weight at first, that is normal. You gain a bit of muscle at first that will help you lose fat further down the line. You may need help from a fitness professional if you want to get into more specifics, but don’t stress if it takes you a few more weeks to start losing weight. If you are interested in personal training sessions, leave a comment.