If you Google “weight loss,” you’ll find 417 million results. No wonder people get confused when they want to start losing weight! But don’t worry because we have the dos and don’ts of weight loss right here. Let’s get started!
Download this printable list and post it to your cubicle, fridge, or bulletin board.
1. Thou shall not put fad diets before a balanced eating plan
Nutrition can make or break your weight loss. Many factors go into a proper diet – getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and legumes. These are things you’re not likely to find in processed food. Not only do processed foods have little nutritive value, they have addictive properties that will leave you craving more. More processed food = more calories = more body fat. Next time you go to the grocery store, stick to shopping the perimeter of the store. This is where fresh foods can be found.
2. Thou shall get adequate amounts of sleep
Sleep is more important for weight loss than you may think. Not only do our bodies use this time to repair tissues, we burn calories in the process. If you don’t allow your body enough sleep, your muscles will start to break down (slowing your metabolism down in the process). Sleep deprivation also causes an increase of the stress hormone Cortisol, which causes your body to hold on to energy (i.e. body fat), and stimulates your appetite. And let’s be honest, no one wants to work out when they’re tired.
3. Thou shall consume water liberally
Water is vital to our existence. There are many ways water helps aid with weight loss. It makes us feel fuller, so we don’t consume as much food. It prevents dehydration (which can cause fatigue) and can help prevent cramping (no one likes runner’s cramps). Water also helps lubricate joints and helps flush toxins from the body, which will help reduce recovery time of your gym workouts.
4. Thou shall burn more calories
Simply put – get active! Cardiovascular activity is a very important component to weight loss. If you watch your diet and increase your caloric expenditure, weight loss will soon follow. Adults should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) exercise weekly. This may sound like a lot at first, but remember – this is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t have to rush to achieve your goal; even 10 minutes at a time is a step closer to dropping extra pounds. Try getting up at least once an hour for a short 10-minute walk. Other great ideas:
- Park on the far end of the lot at the grocery store
- Use stairs instead of elevators
- Walk around the block a couple times before getting your mail
5. Thou shall increase lean body mass
Cardio health is all well and good, but if you really want to light a fire to your metabolism, strength training should become your bestie. Often overlooked by gym-goers (notably women), strength training is the best way to increase your lean muscle mass. Many females worry about bulking up, but, in reality, most women simply don’t have the level of testosterone required to do so. Instead, ladies tend to lean down and tone up.
As you build muscle, your body works hard to maintain the new muscle tissue. This increases the number of calories you burn, even when you’re at rest. The good news – you don’t need to be in the gym six days a week. Moderate lifting two days a week will help maintain muscle mass. So pump some iron!
6. Thou shall not do it alone
We humans are social beings. And we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded peers. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will be there to encourage, motivate, and support your healthy endeavors.
Conversely, if you’re surrounding yourself with people who enable your unhealthy behaviors, you may want to consider helping them change with you – or cutting the proverbial cord.
7. Thou shall cheat – occasionally
I like to think I’m a realist when it comes to weight loss, diet, and exercise. Why on Earth would anyone ever swear off ice cream? We tend to be “all or nothing” thinkers. You know what I’m talking about – “Oh man! I messed up and ate this cookie. I guess my whole day is shot. I might as well down this plate of mini corndogs and start again tomorrow!”
This vicious thinking pattern is what gets many of us heavy in the first place. It doesn’t need to be this way! Should you eat whatever you want, whenever you want? No. Should you take down a Juicy Lucy once in a while? Yes. Should you feel guilty about it? Absolutely not. Life is more than tracking every single calorie that enters you all of the time. A balanced life leads to a balanced diet.
8. Thou shall treat oneself as thy would a neighbor
We are our own harshest critics. I’m sure everyone has been guilty of beating up on oneself for something that was just a tiny mistake. News flash – we all make mistakes! It’s how we handle them that will make or break us. Think of it this way: if a friend was on a similar journey, and they perhaps skipped a workout one day, would you berate them for it? Would you tell them they should be ashamed? Or that they’re never going to make it? Most likely, you would try to lift them up and encourage them. So why would you say those things to yourself?
Negative talk is pointless and it accomplishes nothing. Instead, learn from your slip-up. Dissect it, document it, and develop a plan of attack that will help you overcome next time around.
9. Thou shall celebrate little victories
You got up early this morning and went to the gym instead of going back to sleep. That is a big deal. Celebrate it! It’s the series of little victories in life that add up to a larger accomplishment. Find a way to reward yourself regularly (not with food). Your reward doesn’t need to be big; it could be something as small as a “You rock!” post-it note on your mirror. The point is to recognize the hard work you’re putting in.
10. Thou shall stay current
Fitness and nutrition are science based. Literally. As with all avenues of science, it is important to keep yourself abreast of new information. Make sure to check back here frequently for new ideas, workouts, recipes, and information.