Forget the 'fads' and forget the 'quick-fix diets'. Here are the seven simple rules to successful long-term weight loss. These are the probably the easiest changes you can make, yet the most overlooked. Your fitness and weight loss journey shouldn't be dull, boring and draining. Just simply find ways to may it enjoyable, exciting and creative!
1. Have a goal
Forget the random and mindless 'I guess I feel like it today' gym visits. What is your overall objective? Weight loss? Muscle Gain? Flexibility? By having a long-term goal to move towards, your workouts become meaningful and you put yourself on a forward-moving path. Once you have a long-term goal in mind. Break this down into a series of mini tasks. This way you are less overwhelmed by what is ahead of you, and you allow yourself to focus on the shorter-term objectives. You can do this by establishing weekly tasks, and monthly goals. These can include increasing weight each week on a weighted exercise, or sticking to a set number of workouts per week, or adding more vegetables into your meals. Whatever is suited to your long-term objective. As you succeed each week, you'll feel more and more motivated on your journey, and come to a realisation that your end-goal is much more achievable than you thought.
2. Make a plan
Like the saying goes - failing to plan, is planning to fail. Planning is the secret to losing weight, and keeping it off. By having a plan, you have an end objective and you keep yourself accountable. For your diet, you can plan and prep your weekly meals. This will make grocery shopping a much more efficient task and will remove any doubts about what you are consuming during the week. Planning also applies to your exercise regime. It is pointless to step into the gym and mindlessly move from one equipment to the next with no set objective in mind. Before you workout, try planning out a workout routine by jotting them down on paper or on your phone. This will give you a focus, and allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment after smashing a workout. I love researching and finding different exercises that I'm excited to try! By popping them into my workout plan, I find myself looking forward to my workouts to try something new.
3. Don't skip meals
Your diet makes up for the majority of the weight you lose. The food you fuel your body with will determine how your body looks, feels and performs. By skipping meals during the day, your metabolism will slow as your body will hold onto previously consumed calories, since it does not know when the next supply is coming. In addition, keeping yourself starved will have an impact on your ability to concentrate, your mood and emotions. You also run the risk of nutritional deficiencies and fatigue, which may lead you to skip exercise altogether! It is all about eating smart. Try eating smaller portions, more regularly throughout the day. And make sure you are eating nutrient-dense meals that are balanced in good carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
4. Eat more fruits and veggies
The easiest way to improve your diet to achieve your weight loss goals, is to simply add more fruits and vegetables into your meals. Fruits and veggies are full of essential vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients that is essential for overall health and weight management. It is best to eat fruits and veggies fresh and whole – the way nature intended. Skip the unhealthy dressings and toppings, and try different spices and herbs to add flavour. Opt for smoothies that blend the whole fruit over fruit juices, since juicing removes a lot of the fibre and nutrients. Adding more unprocessed and natural produce into your meals is the best way to boost your metabolism and control your weight.
5. Switch it up
If you're doing the exact same workout every time, and eating the exact same meals every week, your motivation is bound to come to a halt, leaving you feeling bored and discouraged. Your body also easily adapts to the same old workout routine, which makes it so important to continuously switch things up and challenge your body in different ways. This is something so easy to avoid - just be creative! Make an effort to try something new every once in a while. If you head to the gym every workout, why not do something outdoors? Or try boxing? Or try a ocean-side yoga class? If you are sticking to the same type of exercise, make it a point to venture off to a different part of the gym you wouldn't normally workout at, and try a different exercise or equipment. Go crazy with research, and look up different exercises and recipes! This will keep you excited and ensure your body is constantly being challenged.
6. Drink plenty of water
Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is vital to any weight loss and fitness journey. There are so many benefits to drinking water. It keeps you fuller and suppresses temporary spikes in appetite. It will boost your metabolism over time and help you burn more calories. It increases energy and relieves tiredness and fatigue. It will flush out toxins from your body and keep your immune system happy. The list doesn't end there! An easy way to ensure that you are always staying hydrated is to carry water bottle with you at all times. This is a simple way to make sure that you always have easy access to drinking water.
7. Get enough rest
When trying to balance a hectic day-to-day schedule and working out, sleep is often the first thing that goes out the door. I am so guilty of this. It is so critical to remember that sleep is actually one of the most important factors for, not just weight loss, but for your overall health. Getting sufficient sleep every night ensures that the hormones which control how you burn fat, how you store fat and how you maintain muscle are not disrupted. Sleep is also vital to allow your body to fully recover after a workout, and be ready to hit the next. By sacrificing sleep, you will eventually feel as if you are running on an empty tank. So, make sure you are getting enough zzz's!
8. Keep it in perspective
With anything in life, there are bound to be setbacks and times of little motivation. Keep in mind that your fitness journey is a long-term one and that you are in it for the long haul. Successful weight loss is not achieved through 'overnight quick fixes', or with a 'two week miracle program'. It is achieved through permanent lifestyle changes. So, don't be too stringent with your goals and don't be discouraged if you have an off week. Pick yourself up, and move forward. Allow yourself to be flexible, and make sure you find ways to enjoy your workouts and meals. Remember, your fitness journey shouldn't feel like a huge constraint on your life. It should add to it and make you feel like a happier, healthier and better you!