1. Make the Commitment: Now is the right time. Your life is busy and full of stress. It always will be. Would you put off feeling better for a month? Probably not. Then make the commitment to yourself to start feeling good and lose those extra pounds today.
2. Aerobics: Plan three 30- 45 minute aerobic workouts into your schedule each week. Don't leave it to chance that it will fit in because then it won't. It can be walking, biking, or even a class. Just get your heart rate to 60 - 75% of your maximum heart rate.
3. Weight Training: Plan two workouts per week into your schedule. Why? Simple, muscle burns calories. The more muscle, the more calories you will burn all day long. Worried about getting too muscular? Don't be, First of all you would need to be genetically predisposed to have large muscles (and if you don't now, you probably aren't), and second you would need to take in a lot of extra calories. But, if you find yourself too muscular, then you lost that extra bodyfat that you were trying to lose, and you could always cut back on the weight training.
4. Hydration: Water is involved in everything the body does from your joints to your liver (which is the organ that metabolizes fat). The rule of thumb is eight, 8-oz glasses of water per day. This sounds simple, but most people that I come across who diet and exercise regularly and still can not lose weight are under hydrated. Drink coffee or soda, great, but you still need eight glasses of water.
5. Eat 5 - 6 Small Meals Per Day: Why? Because this technique will increase your metabolism and energy levels. It will also curb that hungry feeling which leads to cheating. This technique will train you body to stay in a constant food burning mode with a steady, but not overabundant flow of nutrients.
6. Balanced Meals: This means you need to have some protein and fat with carbohydrates at each meal. Both protein and fat reduce the glycemic index of carbohydrates, so you won't get a big, fat-producing insulin surge. High GI foods (simple sugars, fat-free treats, and highly processed foods) cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels - which causes a big insulin release to shuttle the excess blood sugar into cells. Remember, whatever isn't used by the body at that point in time is stored as fat.
7. Limit Fats and Simple Carbohydrates: One way to do this is to eat less processed foods. But, this isn't always possible, so pay attention to what you are eating. Read labels, if more than 20% of the calories comes from fat, don't eat it. Eat whole grain breads and cereals, they will fill you up faster.
8. Limit Eating Near Bedtime: If possible, try not to eat two hours before turning in for the night. Most people are not as active after their evening meal as they are earlier in the day. It is best to keep the total calorie level, as well as carbohydrate level, lower in your later meals. This will prevent extra fat storage that would occur as we sleep.
9. Record: Write down everything you eat and drink in a log. This will keep you honest, and help you plan. It has been said, "the act of recording history, changes history"? By writing down your food intake, you will see where you have been making mistakes and it will make you think about it before you make that the same mistake again.
Dennis M. Dewane, CFT
10. Reward: Give yourself a reward when you achieve certain goals. Maybe a new outfit (because the other ones are getting baggy). Acknowledge the hard work you have done and the success you are achieving.