There have been a number of things that we have learned since we started running Shed and Shred our six or eight week, group training and weight loss program.
These are 8 Tips we have come up with for losing weight:
1. Count your calories. Your best bet for losing weight is tracking what you are putting into your body. This probably won’t be something you will do for the rest of your life, but it will definitely help teach you how many calories are in the foods you are eating. You will also need to weigh or measure your food—best option here is to put a kitchen scale (available for about $20 at your favorite box store) on the kitchen counter.
2. Make exercise a priority and part of your routine. If exercise remains one of those things you put off until the weekend—like the laundry—it will be harder to get the ball rolling. Making it part of your weekly schedule will help keep you on track. If you are a very busy person, block it off in your schedule.
3. Get a buddy, personal trainer, or join a class. Being accountable to someone will help you immensely! When you don’t feel like going to the gym, having an appointment will keep you from blowing it off. You will always feel better after you workout!
4. Be consistent with exercise and food. When you over eat on some days and under eat on others, we notice that weight loss slows. Your best option here is to keep things consistent. If your diet and exercise are consistent and you aren’t losing weight, you can choose one thing to change. If you are all over the place with your food and exercise and you aren’t losing weight, you will never know what the problem is.
5. Drink plenty of water and avoid consuming excess salt. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and your body works much better when it is properly hydrated. I have had clients who were doing everything right except drinking enough water. They were stuck in a constant state of dehydration and they weren’t losing weight. Once they started drinking more water the weight started coming off. Adding salt to your food will cause you to retain water. As the salt ions enter your cells, water will follow to maintain a proper electrolyte balance. When this happens you will get thirsty and drink water. All that extra water will come in, but it won’t go out. I’ve seen a swing of 5 pounds overnight because of a very salty meal. There is 1 pound of water in 1 pint—it doesn’t take long to put on an extra pound or two of excess water.
6. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound. Setting a goal of losing 25 pounds in an 8 week period is not a smart goal. Losing 1-1.5 pounds per week is considered healthy weight loss which means a total of 8-12 pounds in an 8 week period.
7. Be open to lifestyle change. Many people do not put on a lot of excess weight because they are eating healthy. Being open to reevaluating what you are really doing for food is a must. Eating pizza and hamburgers for dinner is not eating healthy. Be open to eating more fruits and veggies!
8. Get enough sleep. Not only does lack of sleep affect cognitive function—we all can attest to that, I’m sure (if you can’t, wait until you have kids)—but it also affects performance in the gym. Just like the water example, I’ve seen clients who started to lose weight after a plateau once they started sleeping better.
BA, MS, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, UVAC Fitness Center Director and Personal Trainer