The healthiest way for you to lose weight is to take things slowly and steadily. Your body will not react well to changes that are made too quickly in terms of both food and exercise.
If you haven’t exercised for a long time, then you shouldn’t rush into doing miles on the treadmill or going to the gym for hours at a time. Your fitness levels will not be adequate, and so you’ll feel demotivated and disheartened and you’re also more likely to injure yourself.
Instead, the best thing to do is start off small and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do until you find something that you feel comfortable with but that does get your heart rate up.
Equally, if you suddenly start starving yourself after eating too much for an extended period of time, your body will not suddenly lose lots of weight. Instead, you could become deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients. It’s also important to remember that small changes can make a big difference.
One extra biscuit per week could cause you to put on 2kg a year. Cut that biscuit out of your diet and you could lose the same amount. Also, things like swapping full fat milk for semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk can save you calories, as can things like low fat spread instead of butter or cooking spray instead of olive oil.
Exercise & weight loss
Exercise has been proven to speed up weight loss and even if you eat the same foods, if you exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week you will almost certainly lose weight. Exercise is also known to release endorphins, which make you feel good, and exercising can also improve your self-confidence as you get fitter and more able-bodied. Exercising also not only helps to improve your fitness levels, it helps to tone your body, so you’ll feel better about the way you look too.
There are many ways for you to gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. If you’re completely new to exercise, just try to move a bit more than you did before. That could mean using the stairs instead of using escalators, or getting off your bus stop one stop earlier than usual.
Instead of sitting in for lunch with something you already bought, try walking to the shop to grab something. You could also increase your activity quite easily with your children or a dog – go for a long walk after your dinner, go for a run around the park and have a game of ball, go for a walk with the pram, go swimming, have a play on a games console or just have a dance around your living room.
Once you’re comfortable with moving a little more, you can start to put an exercise regime into place if so desired. The best types of exercise for weight loss are long periods of exercise that get your heart rate up and that make you lightly out of breath and lightly sweaty, and periods of weight training.
Whilst you might think weight training is only for people who want to build muscle, weight training is actually an excellent way to burn off calories. Training your muscles means that you will burn calories for much longer after the period of activity – so this is an excellent way to burn off extra calories.
However, if you perform weight training, you should always give yourself a day off in between training sessions to give your muscles chance to repair. If you don’t have a break, you could cause yourself damage and will not see much benefit from the training.
An excellent form of exercise that gets your heart rate up is swimming, as is gym class, spinning class, running, walking quickly, dancing, indoor cycling, outdoor cycling etc. These are just suggestions – you can do anything you like, provided it gets you out of breath and sweaty. If you’re able to hold a conversation and sing whilst exercising, you’re not doing it strenuously enough! If you’re scared about going to a gym, try going to an all-female (or all-male) gym.
There are some all-female gyms that provide you with a targeted workout that takes just half an hour, plus you don’t have to worry about the embarrassment of not being able to keep up with the next person along on the treadmills as everyone is supposed to go at their own pace. There is also usually more support in these gyms.
Equally, you could try going to a personal trainer. Some trainers offer 1 hour or your first consultation free, and this hour could be the thing that helps you to kick-start your exercise regime. The trainer could give you advice on the best training routine for you. For more information on exercise and diet, try speaking to your doctor and see if they can refer you onto a nutritionist, or see if you’re able to get a free consultation at your local gym.