With the new year just days away, many of us are starting to realize that our diet and fitness routine over the last year has been, well, less than stellar. How many times have we tried to lose weight but end up failing in the end? Better yet, how many times did we use the new gym membership that we purchased at the beginning of the year? Less than we anticipated. You’re not alone: New data shows us that upwards of 50-million people within the United States try to follow a new diet every single year. More alarmingly, only 5% of those individuals end up losing weight in the long run. What’s keeping us from tackling our goals and crushing the milestones that we set for ourselves? This article is dedicated to the unique tricks and tips that can help you lose unwanted pounds and build quality muscle after the holiday season is over!
In layman’s terms, intermittent fasting (IF) is a framework of eating that allows you to remain satiated even when consuming a smaller amount of calories. A user is advised to fast upwards of 16 hours out of a 24-hour day and consume their meals in the remaining 8 hours of the day. Reducing the feeding window allows us to eat bigger meals closer together to increase the feeling of fullness after calories are consumed.
The benefits of intermittent fasting spill over into other areas of a user’s life, however. A study conducted in 2003 by the National Institute of Ageing applied intermittent fasting periods to mice to see if the framework would lead to any interesting data. Surprisingly, the test concluded that rats performing periods of fasting had lower levels of Glucose in their blood and increased brain activity.
To start incorporating this diet into your lifestyle, try eating your last meal around 8 o’clock in the evening. Fast all through the night and avoid reaching for breakfast before your day starts. Sipping a black coffee or a green tea with no calories can prolong your fasting period and reduce unwanted hunger cravings that arise. After this, grab your first large meal of the day at lunch time. Again, consume the rest of your meals and daily calories prior to 8 pm. Although this style of eating may seem difficult in the beginning, it slowly becomes easier and your fasting period may increase to 18 and 20-hour windows!
Track Your Progress and Count Calories
Losing weight, in basic terms, is a game of addition and subtraction. If you can consume and burn more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight, you will lose fat. A natural extension of this understanding comes in monitoring your meals and daily caloric consumption.
Although calorie counting may seem daunting, new data shows that individuals who count their calories lose five times more weight than those who don’t. A close inspection of those same metrics also reveals that the vast majority of the population consumes more calories than they’re aware of on any given day. If you’re serious about your weight loss and dieting journey, you will begin to track and record these data points for future reference.
Don’t run away just yet! Many iOS applications and smart phone tools have been created to make the calorie-counting process much easier. Certain applications, like MyFitnessPal, have a deep database of foods and meal items that can be tracked and calculated to give an accurate reading of your daily consumption. A list of features for this application are as follows:
- Track and calculate calories
- Optimize weight loss and cardiovascular metrics
- Join usergroups to motivate yourself and expand your knowledge
- Bar code scanning technology that makes tracking calories easier
- Food journals
- Nutritional breakdown of various food items
By utilizing the tracking tools available to us, we can ensure our weight loss goals become a reality in the future. Wherever your fitness levels may be, we can expand and grow our skills with the right tools.
Trick the Mind
For those of us that struggle with portion and size control of our meals, tricking the mind may be a helpful tactic in our journey. One useful piece of information that we can use to control our eating habits is using smaller plates and utensils when eating a meal. Oddly enough, a smaller bowl or plate can trick the mind into thinking that the current amount of food is all that’s available. When you use large plates and devices, we tend to load the plate up to fill the specific dimensions.
In combination with size manipulation, water can be used as a filler to manipulate the body into thinking that it’s more full than it actually is. The next time you sit down for a nutritious meal, make a goal of drinking 2 glasses of water with your food items. The water fills the stomach and creates satiation before too many calories can be eaten during one setting. Small drops of lemon can be added to the water for a more pleasant and tasteful experience while providing powerful antioxidant properties.
The last truth, and often the most difficult for people to accept, is to create a real commitment with yourself to actually take your diet and exercise seriously. At the end of the day, the reality is that an individual will have to work to maintain and lose weight in both the short and long-term future. Two critical pieces of information that need to be explored before the journey begins are accountability and incentives.
The accountability factor plays a large role in the psychology of an individual and motivates them to an even greater extent than external factors. Many of us have a long history with a fear of failure and public ridicule from friends, strangers and coworkers. This fear drives us almost every day of our lives and many of us feel that we have no control. However, we can manipulate that unwanted anxiety and have it work for us instead of against us. Make your weight loss and fitness goals public domain and knowledge. Encourage those around you to follow and explore your achievements and failures. You will always try harder when you know that people around you are waiting for your next move.
Next, work on finding incentives that motivate you to push past plateaus and work through difficult times. This could be something as simple as buying a piece of clothing a size too small in order to subconsciously work towards fulfilling the goal of fitting into that item. The incentives can also extend to periods of cheating on your current diet: At the end of each week, and only if you’ve followed your diet with 100% accuracy, reward yourself with a junk-food meal of your choice. Although breaking your diet too often can be damaging, small meals placed strategically can lead to long term success in your diet and reignite your vigor to push past moments of weakness.
Author Bio :- Jordan is the beauty and brains behind Beautifully Alive! She loves eating healthy and trying new recipes.The self-proclaimed Zumba Queen has a passion for beauty products and loves reading new books. She’s always down for a DIY project!