Weight loss can feel like an uphill battle and, in the end, it’s not really weight loss I’m talking about; it’s getting your body to look the way you want it to in a healthy way and that’s not always the same as dropping pounds. As someone who is on the journey herself, I can totally relate to the frustrations and heartaches of trying to get in shape without feeling extremely discouraged, confused by misinformation and lost in the sea of contradictory weight loss advice. In 10 steps, I can help you get on the right track to getting the body you want without all the bullshit.
STEP 1 – Fix Your Diet. Weight loss or “getting in shape” are arguably 75-90% diet so if you consistently eat too much, eat crappy fast foods, drink sugary beverages, or indulge in too many sweets, losing the weight you want or sculpting the body you want will be more difficult in the long run so my advice is to fix your diet first and then work on adding in consistent fitness.
STEP 2 – Lift Heavy Weights! I don’t mean you should jump the gun and just start trying to lift 100 pounds because that sort of thing doesn’t happen overnight. What I am saying is that there is this ridiculous notion that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights because they will get “bulky.” That is, quite simply, not true.
It’s just not in our physiology to be that way because we don’t produce enough testosterone.
If you see a woman and she has that “bulky” masculine looking body, it’s because she does steroids. That is the only way women can get “bulky.” Alternatively, if by “bulky,” you mean that you look fitter, but still haven’t shrunk in your overall size, this is diet related. You could be retaining water (drop your sodium/salt intake to fix this) or otherwise not making the proper fixes to your diet (see step 1).
The biggest reason you want to lift weights that are heavier than 10 pounds ( eventually if you can do that, it’s a good starting point) is to challenge your muscles so that they grow. You need to tear the muscle so they can repair themselves and grow. This is how your body effectively burns calories while strength training. That’s the “after burn” everyone talks about. Secondly, lifting weights is the ultimate anti-ager.
Your skin will be tighter (no loose skin after you lose the fat!), firmer, and more perky (yes your boobs will be perkier!).
Also, lifting weights and building your muscles is the most effective way for your body to burn fat. Doing cardio alone will burn fat, that’s true, but it will also eat away at your muscle. You ever notice that people who consistently do ONLY cardio look super emaciated and tiny or otherwise have a low weight (in numbers) but have no real shape or don’t look like they’ve lost that much weight in comparison to someone heavier who does lift? That’s why. They’ve effectively lost a lot of muscle mass even though they burned a lot of fat off and, in turn, their metabolism will take a hit over time making it harder for them to keep weight gain at bay. So, in the long run, lifting weights actually makes it easier on you to stay fit. You have much more room to have a cheat day or indulge every now and still maintain your fit body (think 1700 calories a day, give or take, depending on your activity level) whereas someone who only does cardio will have to subsist on around 1500 calories or so just to maintain. Lastly, strength training helps with appetite control while cardio actually makes you hungrier in the long run so you end up eating more (or feeling starved if you don’t eat) while burning less.
Proof of the effects of cardio V. weight lifting? BLAM.
One last thing – I don’t want anyone to think I’m knocking cardio. Cardio is great as a supplement to weight lifting, but I think alone it won’t give you the body you want.
STEP 3 Try Not to Stress Out! Stress has a huge link to weight gain and stressing out can make it harder to lose the weight that you want. It can be really hard to control stress, but you absolutely need to try to RELAX because cortisol, the stress hormone, is responsible for belly fat. Yep.
Think about that one for a moment and RELAX!
STEP 4 – Get Support! Getting in shape can be difficult enough, but stay consistent? That’s the real hard part of things and it can be even more difficult if you’re going it alone so try to find a partner to lift with or make healthy meals with. Whether it’s your sister, mom, dad, or boyfriend, you can help each other stay accountable and on track with your goals.
Plus, working out with someone else is tons more fun than by yourself!
STEP 5 – Laugh, Smile & Live Right Now. This one can be really hard to do and I have had a pretty hard time with it myself, but I am trying and that’s what counts! When we aren’t where we want to be in life and maybe things aren’t going our way, we sometimes recede back into ourselves. Especially where weight gain is concerned, I know we try to hide ourselves away – in baggy clothes, by avoiding friends and family, or saying things like “I’ll buy that outfit when I’m xx number of pounds.”
Try your best to live, laugh, smile, smell the fresh air, see the beautiful world we live in right now because once this moment is gone, you never get it back.
STEP 6 – Learn to Say NO. I used to be somewhat of a people pleaser in that I would do all of these generous things for others and nothing for myself. This is probably how I gained the weight in the first place ( aside from punishing myself all the time for wanting more “me” time). I think, especially for women, we’re so used to putting everyone else in front of us that we neglect ourselves all the time or feel guilty for wanting the time to ourselves.
As Jillian Michaels says ” Why not you?” Why don’t you deserve all the things you think others should have? You do.
STEP 7 – Be Kind To Yourself. As someone who has had a problem with self-punishment, I can honestly say this is one of the hardest things for me to do. I try really hard and the moment I slip up, I would backslide into a negative pool of hateful thoughts. The truth is, that kind of thinking did nothing for me. It didn’t serve my success or my goals; it only made me feel worthless and depressed and no one deserves that. So, I’ve been working hard to be nicer to myself and give myself more credit.
It’s not a work in vanity or narcissism, but simply the work of self-love and everyone, especially you, deserves it.
STEP 8 – Be Patient! I’m super impatient. In this technological era where everything is available with a click, I think we all are and with weight loss, you have to be patient. It takes time to lose the weight and gain the muscle that you want to look your best. Try to think of it as a lifetime goal for yourself and be happy and reward yourself with something nice when you make progress.
It will keep you encouraged in the long run to stick to a healthy, prosperous life.
STEP 9 – Focus Abundance Not Scarcity. This could mean feeling more gratitude for the things you have in life, the progress you have made in your goals (however big or small), the accomplishments you’ve achieved, or your diet. By your diet, I mean try not to focus on what you can’t have, can’t eat, etc. A lot of diet plans have this mentality of “no white carbs” or “no sugar” and I don’t really think that’s sustainable because we will always feel like we want what we can’t have. An easier approach is to think of things you can have. What has helped me is setting goals like “Try to eat 4-5 servings of greens and 1-2 servings of fruit per day.” If I am indulging in a bad meal or food (french fries!), I try to add a huge green salad in which I eat before anything else. Then, when I go to enjoy the less healthy food, I eat much less because the salad has already helped to fill me up. Also, by having goals for what I can eat, I don’t worry so much about not eating things that are bad for me and more on the healthy delicious foods.
STEP 10 – Indulge the Healthy Way! You might love chocolate cake, burgers, fries, cheesecake or ice cream and that’s cool. Whatever it is, try to make it yourself at home and create the most healthy version of that food. For instance, I love french fries so I try to make them with daikon, sweet potato or even red potatoes and bake them instead of frying them. This ensures that they have no artificial preservatives (like fast food), no trans fat, only healthy fats (I use coconut oil), less sodium (sea salt + herbs), and they’re made from whole fresh foods instead of frozen ones. For cake, you can use alternative flours to lower the carb count, healthy coconut oil in place of butter or shortening, honey in place of sugar, etc. These small changes will make the end product healthier without affecting the overall taste.
I hope these tips help you in your fitness goals!
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