Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, a pre-summer project or simply your decision to finally make a genuine change, getting your body into the desired shape takes time, patience, serious effort and dedication. Whatever you choose to do, make your health a priority. There are effective ways to achieve the perfect body shape without torturing and starving yourself.
Identify the problem areas
Start from the beginning – yourself. Who knows you better than you? Be honest with yourself and decide where the problem lies and what it is that you want to accomplish: lose weight, gain weight, tone up or improve general well-being and health.
Begin with taking your measurements as that will be your orientation point. Measure your exact height and weight and tape measure your target areas, for example, hips, thighs, waist and upper arms.
Next, calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index) that measures body fat based on your height and weight and calculates the range of your ideal weight.
There is no way around this. Whether you like it or not, you need to exercise. Your body is designed to move and being active is the most natural thing you can do. There’s a huge selection of exercises so it’s all about finding what fits your needs.
If you’re looking to lose weight, cardio is the best choice. It’s important to be consistent and do it at least 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. You can go jogging, running, cycling, rollerblading or swimming. If you decide to join a gym, then you have a couple of options there: the treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike.
Cardio-intensive exercises are designed to speed up your metabolism, burn calories and improve your cardiovascular condition.
One issue that might come up is that you get bored with the same routine so it’s a good idea to tweak it and alternate activities. You can choose to go running twice a week, one day at the gym and on other days, depending on your free time, join a class, such as CrossFit, Zumba, Tae Bo or some HIIT variant. This will spice things up and help you stick with your exercise plan.
On the other hand, if you’re only looking to tone up without excess weight to lose, you can do yoga or Pilates as they will help you get stronger and build long, lean muscles that most women aim for. Target different muscle groups on each training session (upper body, core, lower body) to get the best possible results. And if you don’t feel confident you can achieve this on your own, there’s always the option of hiring a personal trainer.
The most effective way to lose weight is to combine well-designed exercise programme with a smart diet plan. There is no amount of exercise that can compensate for poor nutrition, so a good diet is imperative.
You can opt to count calories (online calorie calculator, joining weight watcher groups) and noting down everything you eat in your daily food diary. This can be good as it will give you a picture of your food intake (and if you’re cheating), but it can also be tedious and tiring.
The best option is the overall approach – change the way you eat and make smarter choices. Focus on your protein intake (lean meats; or for vegetarians, tofu, tempeh, legumes) and cut down on carbs. Avoid processed food, sweets and soft drinks since they contain refined sugar that has no nutritional value, but do eat the good carbs, such as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet, whole breads and pasta). They are rich in fibre, keep you full and regulate your blood sugar levels.
If nothing else seems to work, one option is fat cavitation. These procedures give frustrated dieters an alternative way to lose weight, instead of a costly and risky weight loss surgery. Cavitation is fat removal body sculpting technology with no anaesthesia.
To help you keep going and stay motivated, find a workout buddy, join a weight loss group or keep a track record of your accomplishments including dropped weight and clothing size, pictures of before and after, or anything that will encourage you to persist. And don’t forget, once a week, you are allowed to treat and indulge yourself with a cheat meal!
Getting out of the comfort zone is difficult but change is good and all these simple lifestyle alterations, no matter how small, will have an impact in the long run. Just be patient and persevere.