Losing weight is possible through a gradual and holistic approach. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix when it comes to shedding the pounds. If you are looking for a way to jumpstart your journey to better health, then it’s important to look at four key pillars: fitness, nutrition, sleep, and stress. All of these are components of a healthy lifestyle that allow your body to function well, which ultimately leads to better metabolism and losing weight. It’s important to look at this 30-day challenge as a way to shift your mindset on these key pillars that will bring you to a fit and toned body without having to spend hours at the gym or cutting out your favorite desserts for good. Remember that in the end, a healthy body and mind are what is important. You want a lifestyle that brings you to your weight loss goals.
The first part of fitness that you should look at is what types of activities you enjoy. Every fitness routine should have some strength, cardio, and flexibility components, but how you achieve those goals is up to you. Aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day in addition to your fitness activities of choice. If you want to up the ante, try interval training. This includes alternating bouts of intense work with rest breaks in between. This type of training will spike your metabolism and burn calories even when your workout is done. Strength training is similar in that it promotes lean muscle growth, which is fueled by calories while you sit around. It’s about training smart. Endless cardio will not do the trick because it will lead to a stressed and inflamed body that wants to hold on to calories. Work toward short and intense workout sessions that raise your heart rate and build muscle. Recover with light activities such as walking.
It’s impossible to avoid nutrition when you are trying to lose weight as it makes up most of your progress. To shed pounds, you need to take a good look at what you are eating on a daily basis. The main nutrition habits to focus on are lean toward lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, healthy sources of fat, and non-processed carbohydrates. Lean protein examples are chicken, turkey, or eggs. Fruit and vegetables can be consumed as much as you would like, but it’s ideal if you can try out different types. Examples of good fats include nut butter, avocado, and olive oil. The last one is a kicker: non-processed carbs. This consists of sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. The goal is to include nutrient-dense foods without added chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. This ensures that your body can use all of the consumed fuel efficiently.
Sleep is a primary factor when it comes to weight loss. Without proper sleep, which is about 7-9 hours, then your ghrelin (hunger) signals increase and your leptin (satiety) hormones decrease. This means that you are more likely to overeat and still feel hungry. In addition, sleep allows your body to repair and function optimally. Without it, bodily functions such as your metabolism aren’t as effective which is counterproductive to losing weight. Focus on forming healthy sleep habits by going to bed earlier and avoiding screen time before bed. Try to implement new sleeping habits each night in order to find the ones that will stick as a habit. The extra sleep will give you a better handle on your cravings and weight loss will seem a lot easier.
Feeling frazzled can indeed prompt your body to hold on to fat and extra calories. This is because your body perceives stress as an attack on your body and thus holds onto all of its resources (such as that extra cookie). Try to incorporate long walks, yoga, naps, journaling, or meditation to decrease levels of stress. This will not only make you happier from a mental standpoint, but your body will be able to decompress and not hold on to extra calories. Stress causes inflammation in the body and this inflammation hinders weight loss because your body wants to keep extra nutrients when it perceives that you may be in danger. It goes back to basic physiology, so it’s essential to avoid stressing about losing weight. Relaxation will lead to losing pounds.
About the Author: MAGGIE YOUNG