Ok, so we’ve had some time to work on our New Year’s resolutions. Was yours to lose weight and/or trim down that belly fat? If you have excess weight in specific areas of your body, it’s not possible to reduce or lose fat in just those areas. Not good news, huh? But it’s true. You have belly fat? You cannot spot reduce. You have to look at your body and think of your body and it’s weight and shape as one entity. Women typically lose weight from the top down and gain weight from the bottom up. Another not so fun thing to learn. You can’t dictate where that weight or fat will come off. It’s just not possible. Doesn’t it seem like those trouble spots lose fat and inches last? That’s also true. Remember the last time you lost weight and you noticed that your face and hands seemed to look better, look thinner and your rings began to fall off? It’s when your face looks thinner that people will notice and start commenting. Top down!
Muscle weighs more than fat and if you’re building muscle and reducing body fat you can still notice a change on the scale AND will eventually lose inches in those trouble spots. You’ll look better, your clothes will fit better and those trouble spots? They’ll start looking better, too.
Muscle tissue is active tissue and requires protein to be maintained. Fat, not so much. Your body will always use up the muscle before it will dig in to that fat store when it needs to be nurished. A diet balanced with protein, fat and carbs is ideal. Remember, it can take you 6 weeks to build muscle and become more fit but only 2 weeks to get out of shape again. Keep working and building that muscle. A fit muscle will help you burn more calories than a non-fit muscle. If you stop exercising, you will lose that muscle mass so when you gain weight again, you are actually gaining more fat then you had before your diet and weight loss. So build that muscle! Look at it this way. You get to eat more with healthy strong muscles. Stay active and the more you can eat.
Here’s one thing I have learned to do and I hope it helps you, too. Keep a food diary. I know, they all say to do that and you say it’s just not a fun thing to do. Right? But make it fun. Don’t skimp on food just yet. Eat everything as you always have. But write down everything you eat. I mean everything! And try to determine the calories these foods and portions contain. This is is important. Don’t get bent out of shape about this; a ballpark figure is better than none and it’s not that critical at this point. After about one week, sit down and circle everything you ate each day that you know wasn’t good for you. Foods like fastfood, desserts, high fat foods, chips, and junk food for instance. Now take a close look at all those calories and all that food you ate that you circled. Add everything up daily and then subtract all those calories that you circled to see what a difference those bad foods can make on your diet.
Now, for one week do the same but cut out all those foods and calories that you circled in the first week. If you’re serious and you truly want to lose weight, this will work for you. There’s a formula you can use to determine the number of calories you should consume each day according to your body size. There’s many web sites with this information. Just Google “how many calories should I eat to lose weight?” The information will pop up and you can choose the web site you like. Pick the one that has the easiest formula for you.
You can’t just cut down on calories. I’m sorry. Another thing you didn’t want to hear. But it doesn’t take much more energy or movement to burn a few more calories. When you figure out how many calories you can eat each day, you’ll need know how many calories you need to burn if you want that donut or you want that burger. Not a good way to do it, but it’s still calories in and calories out. Again, you can Google “calories in a donut” or whatever you want to eat and then try Googling “how many calories do I burn exercising”. Or substitute the word exercising with walking, running, playing basketball, or whatever your exercise might be. Want a 200 calorie donut? Find out how many minutes of walking you need to do to burn off that 200 calorie donut. Google it.
It really is a simple process. You have to want to lose weight. You have to want to make changes in your life. You have to want to get into that smaller size. I suggest you put a photo of yourself up on the refrigerator and keep adding them as you lose. What a great feeling! Remember, all you need to do is to do a little more. Park in a parking space at the outer end of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of elevator, even dance down the hallway to the bathroom! It all helps. JUst stay busy and don’t sit down!
I must say here, too, that you should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program or diet. But remember calories in and calories out is the bottom line. Use your computer to Google the calorie information you need. Get yourself a notebook and use it. Write down everything thing you learn. Do you know how many calories it takes to burn one pound of fat?