If you’re like most people, you probably put on a few pounds in 2024 with the extra time spent at home. But now that things have improved and you can go outside, there’s never been a better time to lose weight and get back to your pre-lockdown shape.
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Start to Count Calories
Everyone knows what calories are and what eating too many can do. However, do you know how many you really need each day? Just like body type, everyone’s nutritional needs are different. In fact, you can have two people who weigh the same but have very different caloric needs. Someone who’s active generally needs more calories than someone who lives a more sedentary lifestyle. And if you fell into the second category, as many people did last year, you need to start counting calories now.
On average, you need to consume between 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day. These should come from a variety of whole food, like healthy grains and protein. You also need to keep track of how many calories you’re drinking as well. Since some beverages contain as many calories as a full meal, not knowing what’s in it can hinder your weight-loss efforts.
Maintain Portion Control
In addition to counting calories, you also need to control your portions. Since you need to create a caloric deficit, you need to eat less and exercise more. Take note of the recommended serving size before and after cooking. For instance, one cup of dry rice can yield two cups cooked. The same holds true for pasta. Limit your carbs and instead, increase your servings of vegetables. Not only can you eat more fresh vegetables than pasta or rice, but you’ll also feel full longer.
If you’re a meat and potato kind of person, you might want to ditch them for a while. Following a vegan, or at least a vegetarian diet, can speed up weight loss. You still need to be mindful of your portions and not eat too many carbohydrates, however, vegan or vegetarian diets primarily consist of whole foods, which are better for you and don’t contain additives and preservatives. If you just can’t part ways with eating meat, swap out red meat for chicken. It’s low in calories and contains less artery blocking fat.
Keep a Food Journal
You also need to keep track of what you eat throughout the day. Even with the best intentions, you might overlook a snack here or a handful of gummy worms there. In addition to your three meals a day, also write down what you drink and any snacks. You should keep track of what you eat on your cheat day. Even though it’s a free day to enjoy your favorite food, you still need to factor it into your food journal. To make the most of these special days, you should consider snack boxes. These give you something new to try each month from different parts of the world. The snacks from Munch Addict creates boxes that taste great and also let you experience snacks from other cultures. Just remember to write down what you ate and the quantity as well.
Cook More Often
Eating out is one of the easiest ways to throw your diet off track. As tempting as it is to grab something out, you should still try to eat most of your meals at home. Even the healthiest of salads can be loaded with hidden fat and calories from the dressing and toppings. Cooking at home gives you more control in terms of quality and quantity. If you eat out, look for the healthiest options on the menu, choose broiled over fried and ask for dressing on the side. You can also ask to cut the portion in half, so you can take it home for later.
Try Out Intermittent Fasting
You could also try intermittent fasting. There are several ways to go about it, however, most people find fasting from late evening to late morning the easiest. You then consume all of the day’s calories within an eight-hour window. Keep in mind that your dietary choices still need to be healthy and the right portion. It’s also important to note that this method doesn’t work for everyone. You might be someone who needs to eat breakfast to avoid overeating later in the day.
This is so easy to say but for some people, is the hardest thing to do. To lose weight, you need to move more and eat less. So, if you don’t enjoy organized exercise classes, you can still get your daily quota of physical activity. You can perform short bursts of cardio throughout the day and still derive the benefits. These can be ten minutes each and include body weight exercises. Your goal should be finding ways to stay motivated to move more.
Workout with Friends for Extra Motivation
If you don’t like working out alone, ask a friend to come along. You can plan daily walks after work or meet up at the gym to strength train. Strive for at least three to four hours a week with one rest day to give your muscles time to recover. If you go strength train, make sure you rotate muscle groups to avoid overuse injuries.
Give Yourself Credit
If you’re doing all the right things but you’re not losing weight, don’t beat yourself up. Losing weight and getting back in shape takes time. Pat yourself on the back for your hard work. Take note of what’s worked in the past when you wanted to lose weight. If you’re doing all of those things but the needle on the scale won’t budge, you might need to change your routine.
When you continually perform the same exercise, your muscles become used to it. Over time, you might see a reduction in weight loss, even when you work out regularly. You can counteract this by changing things up. Instead of walking, start jogging or perform short sprints. If you take Pilates, try a spin class instead.