Looking to lose a little weight for summer? Check out my top five fat loss tips and spring clean your health.
This fat loss post was my guest post originally featured on Parade Magazine online, I’ve syndicated it here for my readers
Does the warmer weather have you thinking about spring cleaning? My house definitely needs some TLC this year! But as you spring clean your closet, consider cleaning up your diet and fitness for spring and summer.
According to WebMD, most people gain an average of 5-7 pounds of weight in the winter months. Instead of crash dieting to lose the weight, follow these 5 fat-loss basics to get started and develop healthy life-long habits.
In life, nothing is perfectly steady, especially weight: it fluctuates on a daily basis based on hydration levels, macronutrient consumption, etc. The biggest thing you want to look at is your weight trend: is your weight steadily increasing every month?
I know that I have gained a few pounds in the past year from stress and health issues. The last year was stressful for me between personal stuff and health problems, and I let my stress-eating get the better of me.
Some of the weight I have gained is muscle so I am okay with that, but I still want to drop my body fat a little bit. That is life, though – no one is prefect! Right now, I’m working on following my own advice to get my eating back on track.
Looking to lose a few pounds? You’re in good company!
A 2006 Gallup poll revealed that almost 60% of Americans want to lose weight. But most people have a difficult time making these goals a reality. People on weight loss journeys are constantly bombarded with rules and tips for fat loss that many end up frustrated and stressed instead of healthier.
Here’s the problem with many weight loss rules: they won’t work if you’re not prioritizing the most important weight loss strategies first. Chasing the latest tips or diet tricks won’t get you where you want to be unless you make these five things a priority:
Fat Loss 101: 5 strategies that work
1. Calories & portion control
It is entirely possible to gain weight by eating too many healthy foods like nuts, honey, and dried fruit. Even if you are eating unprocessed and natural foods, you still need to be conscientious of portion sizes. You don’t have to count calories necessarily, just keep tabs on your portions, especially with nutrient dense foods.
Sticking with it long term is the key!
One bad meal won’t make you unhealthy, but one healthy meal won’t instantly make you healthy.
It takes consistency and time to see results, and the things that will make the biggest difference in your health are the things you do on a daily basis. A doughnut may be a nice weekend treat in moderation, but doughnuts daily will definitely cause problems.
For fat loss (not just weight loss), consistently engaging in exercise is critically important to keep the weight off permanently. You can lose weight by dieting alone, but it won’t make you more fit, and it will be harder to keep weight off long term without exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week for health maintenance, more if you are trying to lose weight. And don’t forget strength training! Aim to create a healthy balance of strength training, cardiovascular, and flexibility workouts to achieve all-around fitness
4. Eat for your body (and just say no to “food porn”)
If you spend any time on Instagram or Facebook, than you have probably seen the epic cheat meals that other people are indulging in. Social media food porn creates many problems for people trying to lose or maintain their weight.
Just because someone can get away with eating certain foods doesn’t mean it will work for you! Everyone’s body is unique and what may work one person won’t work for another. Avoid the temptation to try what everyone else is doing (those pro-yos with a pound of candy look tempting!). Really listen to your body and stick to the plan.
5. Macronutrient balance
This essentially translates into a balanced diet. You can eat the right number of calories but if you are not balancing your macronutrients properly, then you won’t see the results you want.
TIP: A good starting place for macronutrients is 20-55-25: 25% fat, 50% carbohydrates, 25% protein.
You can adjust up or down from there depending on how you feel and whether or not you are getting results.
Once you have the basics down, then you can make the smaller, “fine tuning” adjustments for better results depending on what works best for your body.
Remember: health and fitness is a life-long journey, not a short term race. Make it last.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist