Monday, December 6, 2010

5 Top Weight Loss Habits

My  trainer  Merv T's list of the 5 top weight loss habits is based not on a study or news story;   based on his personal observations among clients, nutrition professionals, and his  personal experience. The list comes from people who have lost weight and kept it off for years, and they swear by surprisingly simple techniques to stay on track. Here they are.

Start your day with a huge glass of water. Every single day.
The first thing you should do after your feet touch the floor in the morning is head straight for the kitchen and pour yourself at least 12 ounces of fresh, cold water. (Yes, it's best to finish it before you dive into your coffee!)

Why it works: Water will "cleanse" your body after an overnight fast, helping you feel refreshed and alert (and who wouldn't want that in the morning?). This is a great way to set the tone for a healthy day! And a start like that helps you make the right decisions about what you're going to have for breakfast and whether you'll make it to the gym. It will also give you a better workout, since you'll feel more hydrated. Good hydration also keeps your joints flexible, which may reduce your risk of injury, so you can keep moving. Finally, a big glass of water will start filling you up so you won't overeat at breakfast -- it helps make you a better judge of your own satiety.

Include a source of fat and/or protein at every meal and snack.
It's tempting to eat just a handful of grapes or pretzels when your stomach is growling between meals, but it just may sabotage your diet (even if you are eating foods you "allow").

Why it works: For many people, eating just carbs for a meal or snack never gives them a feeling of being satisfied. That's because simple carbs don't have staying power: fat and protein slow down the insulin/glucose response, keeping your blood sugars level, promoting satiety, and helping you stay on track the rest of the day. Try some almond butter or a handful of nuts with your apple, a hard-boiled egg with your raisin bran, or some hummus with your pretzels. And of course, plan your meals and snacks in advance.

If you go "off" your diet, forgive yourself and move on.
Maybe you indulge in one too many glasses of wine at a dinner party, and this leads to having a big rich dessert... or two... Don't hate yourself in the morning. Drink a big glass of water (see above) to clean your slate, and start over.

Why it works: One diet slip-up is not going to make a difference in the long run. Of course, daily blunders are no longer occasional... truly infrequent indulgences may actually help prevent burnout and give you some reprieve against a too-strict mindset. If you punish yourself or wallow in self-loathing because you didn't stick to your plan, you risk overall diet failure. We are human. We err. Keep the big picture in mind and try harder next time. In fact, I would recommend to have one “off” day a week!

Write down specific goals. Include times, dates, and other details.
Change them to keep them fresh, and adjust them as you meet your older goals. For example, "I will fit into my skinny jeans in 60 days" or "By November 30, I will no longer eat in front of the TV" or "I will be up to 12,000 steps a day by January 15."

Why it works: It's harder to kid ourselves about what it takes to do something specific than what it takes to do something general. For example, if your goal is to be able to run five miles by June 1st, it's very hard to delude yourself into thinking that being up to 2 miles by May 15th will work. But if your goal were less specific - for example, to "run more often," you would have a much easier time convincing yourself you're doing well when you're really not. Being more specific helps you to plan more effectively and better understand how you're doing, both of which are powerful allies in reaching your goals.

Resistance train 2 to 3 times a week.

Regular cardio exercise burns calories when exercising. However, resistance training will increase your lean muscle mass, which will increase your basic metabolic rate, so you'll burn more calories even at rest.

Why it works: While aerobic exercise burns fat during exercise, anaerobic exercises, like weight training, utilize fat hours after exercise. Weight training can also increase the metabolic rate a second way: It increases and restores muscle tissue, and therefore your BMR (Body Metabolic Rate).  Weight training exercises that use large muscle groups (e.g. gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest and back exercises), with a progressively greater resistance, have the most potential for restoring lean body weight and raising the metabolism hours after exercise.

No comments: