- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Keeping Your Weight Loss New Years Resolution
A Multi-Faceted Approach
Have you resolved to lose weight in the new year? Losing weight is a multi-faceted endeavor, and despite your honorable intentions, you may be setting yourself up for failure if you don't take the following things into consideration.
Weight Loss is affected tremendously by various hormones, and one of your best bets at maintaining normal, fat-burning-conducive hormone levels is getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can bring with it hunger, exhaustion, even depression and an onslaught of whacked-out hormone levels.
You can't view your weight loss efforts with tunnel vision- there are a million things that effect your body's ability to shed unwanted fat, so there's definitely more than one thing to consider when trying to lose weight in a healthy fashion, and sleep is one of those things. This may mean re-prioritizing your life- you might have to shut the television off and go to bed earlier; you might need to quit partying into the wee hours of the morning.
Before I move on, I'd like to point out that getting out of bed super early to hit the gym will be counter productive if waking that early means sacrificing sleep. Exercise is great, but you're fighting a losing battle if you're throwing your hormones out of balance by sleeping to little.
I recently heard someone say that "if you want to lose weight, you'll just hafta get use to hunger pangs". Unfortunately, this is the approach way too many people take and it's probably one of the main reasons why so many people fail their weight loss goals for the new year- they simply can't take eating so little. Well, the good news is that you don't hafta starve yourself and "just deal with hunger pangs" to lose weight and burn fat. In reality, starving yourself triggers your body to hold onto fat reserves, so consuming calories actually plays an important role in weight loss. However, eating too much provides a caloric overload that feeds fat stores, so obviously there's a balance between starving yourself and overeating.
Remember that losing weight is a multi-faceted endeavor, and eating correctly plays a major role in reaching your goal.
Ultimately, you want to avoid two things: starvation and overeating. Starvation can be circumvented by eating the right foods (healthy foods that help you feel full and stay nourished) at the right times. Don't skip breakfast. The first meal of the day can be bigger than most because it provides a nutritional foundation for the rest of day. If you're going to eat a big meal, make it breakfast. Any meal needs to have proteins to provide substance- this will help you stay full and stave off hunger.
Eggs, chicken, lean beef and fish are excellent choices. Avoid things like fish sticks and battered or fried chicken and fish fillets- these foods are highly processed and contain simple, often refined carbohydrates that leave you empty and unsatisfied almost as soon as they go down the hatch.
Veggies are always a major component in any healthy diet- the nutrients they hold will help keep your body nourished and healthy, yet they're usually low-calorie, fiber-rich specimens. Potatoes and some other roots are really the only veggies you need to be careful of, seeing as how they contain a lot of energy and should be treated as carbohydrates.
Fruits are an excellent source of energy, but contain sugar (naturally occurring sugar that is) and need to be consumed in moderation. A little fruit with breakfast and before your workout is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your healthy eating habits. Sugar is considered a carbohydrate (a simple carb) and therefore categorized with other carbohydrates. This food group includes breads, rice, and pasta. The majority of your carbs should come from these foods (not pizza rolls, hot-pockets, or desserts). 100% whole grain, rolled oats (healthy oatmeal) is also a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates that will do a marvelous job at making you feel full for longer.
If you're in the habit of eating 2 or 3 large meals per day, you might be at risk for overeating. Consider eating less per meal, but increasing the number of meals to 4 or 5. This spreads out the nutrients and calories, making it easier to stay away from caloric overload.
And Of Course... Exercise
I listed exercise last for one primary reason: improper sleep and eating habits will greatly hamper your efforts in the gym. I don't care how hard you workout or how often you hit the gym: if your eating and sleeping practices fail to be healthy, your exercise will prove to be of little effect.
Having said that, a balanced resistance training routine, coupled with appropriate cardiovascular activities will prove quite helpful in burning unwanted fat and dropping those pounds. First, don't neglect the lower body. The muscle groups in the lower body are your body's largest, and they illicit the greatest metabolic influx when trained. Don't be afraid of "getting bulky", just remember that low resistance and a high number of reptitions will ensure that you get toned, not buff. Movements such as the squat, deadlift, lunge, push (like push-ups, shoulder or bench press), pull (like pull-ups or rows) are compound movements and should be the foundation of a weight loss regimen. Isolation exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions target smaller muscle groups and will not illicit a profound metabolic influx. Targeting fat is impossible anyway! Don't waste your time trying to "isolate and burn" fat off of targeted areas of your body- it doesn't work that way. Your best bet is a systemic function, like increasing your metabolic rate tremendously by focusing on compound movements and large muscle groups.
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