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How to Lose Weight Fast

From BluWiki

Get That Weight off Fast!

Whether you have just a few extra pounds to shed before an important upcoming event or just seriously need to make weight loss a large part of your life, there are many smart ways of achieving your goals. But first, completely forget about "miracle" pills, fad diets, fasting, or other potentially dangerous ways of losing weight quickly as they simply do not work over the long term and they can even cause serious health problems.

So what can you do if you really need to lose 20 pounds as quickly as possible but haven't had any success simply watching what you eat?

First, arming yourself with as much accurate information as possible about good health and weight loss is the ideal starting place.

When it comes to dieting and weight loss, there's certainly no lack of information to be had especially during this modern technological age of the Internet. But despite what some unscrupulous advertisers and entrepreneurs would like you to believe, there is no magical elixir or product that will cause you to lose weight overnight.

In a nutshell, to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis.

Burning Calories

One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories which means you would have to burn that many calories to lose a pound. Therefore, cutting out 500 calories per day without doing any exercise at all will cause a weight loss of at least one pound per week.

While it may sound daunting especially if you have a lot of weight to lose, it is very possible to adopt a lifestyle that includes delicious foods while still losing unwanted pounds of unhealthy fat. Even just a loss of 10 percent of your total body weight has the potential to make an incredible difference in your health including lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of serious diseases.

Although the typical recommendation for weight loss is an average of one to two pounds per week, it is possible to safely and effectively lose more and keep it off for good.

Naturally, the more you weigh the more weight you will be able to lose as opposed to someone who only needs to drop five pounds. However, do keep in mind that losing too much weight at once is never recommended as the sudden changes have the potential to cause a host of adverse reactions within the body.

Advice From Doctors

Before starting any type of diet plan seeking advice and recommendations from your own physician is important and even more so if you have health problems to take into consideration. Always check with your doctor before beginning any diet plan or exercise program.

These 10 very simple but rather in depth steps can help you to lose weight as quickly as possible and also safely while keeping it off for the long term.

To begin, you will need to make a commitment to losing weight and getting healthier and find the motivation to keep you going throughout your journey no matter how short or long it may be.

Then comes the task of setting a realistic goal or series of smaller goals and learning all of the varying factors that may affect your attempt to lose weight such as caloric intake and Body Mass Index or BMI.

Portion Control and Moderation

Next is the all important matter of portion control and moderation. Even foods that are "good" for you can cause weight gain and stall your efforts if you eat them too much or too often.

After you have learned the proper portion sizes and about calorie counting, discover how to make better, healthier choices choosing from the five distinct food groups.

Now we can add the extremely important aspect of exercise into the equation and reap the numerous benefits that come as a result. There are a large number of exercises to choose from for working all parts of the body allowing it to function at its optimal level.

Regardless of how much weight you have to lose, any exercise at all will help to make a difference and improve the body as a whole.

Maintaining your ideal weight is, of course, something you will want to take seriously. For many people, making complete lifestyle changes that they can live with over the long term is the absolute best way to ensure they remain at or near their ideal weight.

Making the Commitment and Finding the Motivation

The very first step toward losing weight fast but keeping it off for the long term is making a solid commitment once and for all for a healthier life. Pick a date or time, clear your calendar, and devote all of your energy to losing weight, getting in shape, and looking and feeling better.

Sit back and honestly assess your lifestyle including your eating habits, how often you exercise, and your attitude toward food and weight loss in general. Then, ask yourself some very important questions.

Why do you want to lose weight? Do you eat to comfort yourself? Or out of boredom? Do you crave certain foods? Or, do you simply enjoy eating unhealthy foods?

Once you have identified your true feelings about food make a list of everyone and everything that is important or special to you in your life. It is clear to see that food isn't anywhere near as important as any of these people or things. Refer to your list anytime you are feeling down or need a little boost to keep yourself on the right track.

Although it is certainly true that only we ourselves can make the changes necessary to be successful at losing weight, everyone can find a source of outside motivation in their life to make the process a bit easier.

Whether it is friends, family, coworkers, or buddies from a support group, surrounding yourself with supportive people who will be there and listen when needed increases your chances for weight loss success exponentially.

Involving Family and Friends

Some people may do better if they let those close to them know they are trying to lose weight. If a feeling of accountability will help you to succeed then by all means let those you care about know what you are doing and how much you would appreciate their support.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more private approach to losing weight and aren't the type to join support groups or let friends and family in on the "secret," keep yourself accountable by keeping a journal or log of your efforts. Stick to regular weigh-ins and record your progress daily.

Whatever route you take, the biggest determining factor of your success will be how committed you are to making healthier changes as a whole. Whether you have 10 or a 100 pounds or more to lose, instead of looking at weight loss as a temporary time in your life view it as a new beginning toward a better, healthier, fitter you.

Millions of people around the world lose weight every day and with the right information you can do it too regardless of your age, fitness level, or how much you currently weigh.

Setting Realistic Goals

The quickest way to sabotage your weight loss efforts is to set unrealistic goals for yourself. Although you naturally want to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time you certainly do not want the plan to backfire.

Dropping 10 pounds in a week or just a few days is not only unhealthy for the entire body but it sets the stage for gaining it all back plus more in many cases.

An attainable goal in a reasonable amount of time is not only better for your health but it is also better for your mind. Trying to lose a lot of weight too fast and failing or gaining it all right back perpetuates the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting.

Instead of becoming disheartened and abandoning your healthier way of living set small goals for yourself and bask in the glory of success as you reach each milestone.

"Reward" yourself by buying a new outfit once you have reached a particularly impressive goal, or try a new low fat treat for dessert, brag to friends and family, or simply pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, break down the total number and set a new target date for reaching each goal to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For instance, instead of saying, "I have to lose 60 pounds," try saying to yourself, "I need to lose 10 pounds at a time and will give myself one month to do so."

Remember, you didn't gain the extra weight all at once so why expect yourself to try to lose it too quickly?

Learning the Factors that Affect Your Weight

After you have committed to losing the weight and found a few motivational factors to keep you sustained throughout your journey it is time to learn the truth about weight loss. There are many factors both internal and external that may affect your weight loss efforts but one of the biggest is caloric intake.

Caloric Intake

As we know, to lose weight we have to take in less calories each day than we need to maintain our current weight and by increasing physical activity we can speed up the process considerably. We also know that 3,500 calories is equal to roughly one pound of fat.

To determine how much you are really eating each day, before beginning your diet plan write down everything you have and remember to include all of your beverages and any condiments used including extras like butter and sugar. Also be brutally honest about your portion sizes if you really want to know just how many calories you need to cut to lose weight.

Check the calorie count of the foods you are consuming by either reading labels or checking reputable Internet sources to know exactly how many calories you are consuming.

To find out how many calories you must eat to maintain your current weight use an online calculator that allows you to simply enter your current weight, choose male or female, and select an activity level ranging from sedentary to exceptionally active.

A 160 pound woman who is lightly active needs to eat about 2,545 calories a day to maintain that weight whereas a 140 pound female who gets the same amount of exercise needs roughly 2,200 calories per day.

When it comes to finding your ideal caloric intake, the exact amount you should be consuming per day will be based on factors such as your age, gender, and fitness level.

One way to get a generic idea as to how many calories you need to maintain your weight is to multiply your weight by 10, however, this method is not foolproof and does not work for everyone again due to variations like age, metabolism, and muscle mass.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

You may have heard of BMI and have wondered how it relates to weight loss. The Body Mass Index is a number used to ascertain how much body fat an adult has and involves a mathematical formula using both the weight and the height. There are many online calculators to use that will quickly give you your BMI along with a better idea of how much weight you really should be losing.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a BMI of 18.5 or less is underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is within the normal weight range, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity.

Although BMI is a valuable tool, it is not always a foolproof method of determining whether or not a person is overweight or obese since other factors including age, gender, and overall health should also be taken into consideration.

Stress and Weight Loss

Many of us face stress on a daily basis whether it is our jobs, financial concerns, relationship issues, taking care of children, or simply leading a busy life.

What most of us do not realize is that tension and stress can have a direct effect on not only our weight loss efforts but our overall health in general. Linked to serious conditions including heart problems, stress, fortunately, can be managed provided you have the right tools.

Often times simply taking a 15 minute break for yourself is enough to unwind at the end of a long, tiring day. But, many of us have a difficult time finding a few stolen minutes for ourselves. Although we each have the same 24 hours in every day, some people seem to stretch that time out as if by magic.

Take a good look at your priorities and obligations and come up with a workable plan to ensure you have at least a few minutes to de-stress daily.

Whether it is reading a few chapters of an interesting book, relaxing in a bubble bath, taking a quiet walk through the park, doing yoga, or simply meditating make sure you take the time to slow down your mind and body and allow yourself the chance to recharge.

If you feel stress, tension, and anxiety are large parts of your life that you just are not able to manage on your own, talk to your doctor about therapy or medication to ease your symptoms.

Your Personality

Yes, your personality has a direct impact on attitudes toward food, dieting, and weight loss. For example, if you are the impulsive type who tends to jump into things thinking about the ramifications later you will want to remove any food temptations from sight. Or, if you are the type of person who tends to not pay attention to what or when you eat, you will want to make portion control and keeping a food log or journal a large part of your efforts.

People who are anxious, depressed, or nervous may eat to comfort themselves, only temporarily, of course. On the other hand, take charge personalities and independent, motivated individuals seem to have an easier time losing unwanted pounds and inches.

Some other factors that affect both weight loss and weight management include age, gender, metabolism, and your family history.

While there is little we can do about age and family history, metabolism is a different story. Unfortunately our metabolism naturally slows as we age but with regular exercise we can combat the effects of aging and keep our bodies burning calories as efficiently as possible well into our senior years.

As far as your gender is concerned, you can adapt your diet and exercise plans to suit your needs better based on whether or not you are male or female.

In general, males have a higher metabolism than females and are able to build lean muscle mass far better than women who usually have a much higher fat content. These facts actually make perfect sense when you think about the evolution of human beings. Males needed to be leaner, stronger, and faster in order to fend for their families while females needed more body fat to successfully reproduce and provide for their infants.

Although humans have changed considerably over the last several thousand years we are still basically the same biologically speaking.

Practicing Portion Control and Moderation

Portion control and moderation are two of the biggest determining factors of weight loss. They are not only imperative for losing extra pounds quickly and safely but they also help to keep you from feeling deprived.

Instead of missing out on some of your most favorite foods and dishes entirely, learn how to pare down the portions along with exactly how much you really should be eating for your meals and snacks.

The key is moderation, not total elimination forever.

Proper Portion Sizes

When it comes to serving sizes, many of us don't have an accurate idea as how much we should be eating. In most cases, the portions we give ourselves are far larger than the recommended amounts. While it may be easy enough to learn the exact number of ounces we should be having, it is often difficult to determine accuracy without a food scale.

For meats and proteins, the recommended three ounce serving of lean beef is roughly the size of a deck of cards. A three ounce serving of cooked chicken is also the size of a deck of playing cards.

Picture the size of your checkbook to determine how large a three ounce serving of fish should be while a one ounce slice of luncheon meat should be about the size of a compact disc.

A half cup of cooked beans should be about the size of a light bulb while a quarter cup of medium size nuts such as almonds is approximately the size of a golf ball.

For fats and oils, a tablespoon of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or salad dressing is about the size of a poker chip. A tablespoon of olives, about 5 medium sized ones, is also the size of a poker chip.

If you need to determine how much cheese you should be eating, an ounce and a half of hard cheese is equal to about three dice. For ice cream and frozen yogurt, a half cup is the size of an ordinary light bulb.

Grains and Veggies

When it comes to grains, a slice of bread should be no larger than an audio cassette tape, a two ounce biscuit the size of a hockey puck, and a bagel no bigger than a can of tuna. A cup of cooked pasta or a cup of flaked cereal should each be the size of a baseball. One cup of popcorn is also about the size of a baseball.

For a half cup of cooked rice, the portion should be roughly the size of a light bulb.

With vegetables, one cup of raw, leafy greens, one cup of cooked vegetables, and a cup of carrots or broccoli are all about the size of a baseball. Baked potatoes should be about the size of a computer mouse while a half cup of mashed potatoes is equal to the size of a light bulb.

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For accurate fruit serving sizes, one cup or one medium sized apple and one cup of strawberries are the size of a baseball. An ounce of dried fruit such as apricots and pears is about the size of a golf ball while a half cup of blueberries and a half cup of grapes are each the size of a light bulb.

For foods that are already prepared such as a cup of soup or chili, an eight ounce pot pie, and a cup of macaroni and cheese, each are about the size of a baseball. A slice of pizza should be roughly the size of two dollar bills while a three ounce hamburger should be the size of a deck of cards.

Everything in Moderation

For many people, allowing themselves to "cheat" on special occasions or every now and again as a treat is perfectly acceptable as long as you aren't overindulging and can make it a point to get right back on track. However, there are some of us who just are not able to resist the temptation and would fare better by completely avoiding foods that we cannot eat in moderation.

It may help to know that when we eat, the signal does not immediately reach the brain telling us we are in fact being satiated with nutrients. It takes some time for the impulses to reach the stomach from the brain signaling that it has had enough. Because of this, eating as slowly as possible is a large part of making portion control a successful aspect of losing weight and losing it quickly.


Take the time to fully enjoy your food. Appreciate the aroma and the texture by chewing slowly and purposefully while relaxing and savoring your meal even if it is something small or just a quick snack for energy. Get into the habit of putting your fork or spoon down between each and every bite.

What type of beverages do you usually drink during or after eating? Choices like whole fat milk or sugary soda pop will add fats and empty calories to your meals. Instead, drinking ice cold water before meals and during them will not only reduce the amount you eat but it will also help you to slow down between bites.

One simple tip to help "trick" your brain into thinking you are eating more than you actually are is to use smaller plates and bowls. If all of your dinner plates are on the large size use a salad plate instead.

You could also make it a point to take half of a normal, healthy portion, eat it slowly, and then go back for "second helpings."

Counting Calories

Now that you have a better idea regarding portion control it is time to address the issue of calorie counting.

A calorie is a measure of energy that relates to how much energy the body receives by eating food. Fortunately you do not have to be a math expert to keep track of the calories you are consuming. Once you get into the habit of keeping track you will be able to simply look at most foods and dishes and gauge an accurate estimate as to their total caloric values.

Do keep in mind that although when it comes to gaining weight, all calories are created equal, some foods are definitely better than others if you are trying to lose weight.

For example, 100 calories from a piece of candy will have little to no effect on your hunger levels but the same amount of calories coming from a fiber cereal will help you to feel fuller longer.

Likewise, compare the 500 calories in a full chicken and vegetable dinner to the same amount in a thin slice of cake. Clearly the former choice offers nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals while the latter provides little more than temporarily satisfying a sweet tooth although both contain the same calorie count.

Be diligent when it comes to reading product labels and paying attention to serving sizes. There are also numerous websites with accurate information regarding calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, fiber, and protein. Invest in a set of measuring cups and spoons and faithfully use them when preparing every meal.

Empty Calories

When counting calories you will want to avoid the common trap of eating empty calorie foods.

Empty calories are foods containing solid fats, sugars, and of course, plenty of calories, but offer little to absolutely no nutritional value.

Some perfect examples of foods that contain empty calories include pastries like donuts, cakes, and cookies as well as candy, cheese, hot dogs, ice cream, and soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks with added sugars.

But if the idea of counting calories is out of the question you may find success by instead opting for considerably smaller portions and restricting your intake of foods known to contain a lot of fat and sugars.

Whatever route you choose, make all of your calories count by eating healthy foods that will sustain you and give your body the vital nutrients it needs.

Making Healthier and Better Tasting Choices

Healthy living doesn't have to equate with eating bland, boring, and flavorless meals. Finding healthier substitutes that add plenty of flavor to your favorite recipes and meals is a lot easier than you might think with the five food groups to choose from.

With all of the countless choices we have available today low calorie dishes do not have to be complicated to prepare or devoid of flavor or appeal. You won't ever have to worry about sacrificing taste, texture, and flavor when you learn to be creative with a variety of simple, basic foods and seasonings.

Your main goal, of course, should be to reduce the amount of calories, fat, salt, and sugars in the ingredients used to prepare all of your meals. Eating more plant based foods is an ideal way of getting vitamins, minerals, taste, and texture but not the fat and calories.

So, what are the five food groups and what type of foods can be found within each?

The five main food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and proteins most of which contain smaller subgroups for further definition.

Grains

Grains, actually two subgroups, consist of foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, and rice.

Whole grains, which contain all of the grain in its entirety, (bran, germ, and endosperm) include brown rice, bulgur or cracked wheat, whole cornmeal, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal.

Refined grains have been processed to remove part of the grain (bran and germ) giving it a finer texture and lengthening shelf life at the same time. Refined grains are also often enriched with vitamins that are added to replace what has been lost during the milling process. Some vitamins often added to refined grains include folic acid, niacin, and riboflavin.

Examples of refined grains include white bread products, white flour, and white rice.

Vegetables

In the vegetable group there are five subcategories which are used to organize the foods based on their nutritional content.

The subcategories are dark green vegetables, red and orange, starchy, beans and peas, and finally, all other vegetables.

Included in the first subcategory are vegetables like broccoli, dark, leafy green lettuce, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and watercress.

Red and orange vegetables consist of choices like acorn squash, carrots, pumpkin, red peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Starchy vegetables include corn, black-eyed peas, lima beans, potatoes, and water chestnuts.

In the beans and peas subcategory you have your choice of filling foods such as black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, split peas, and navy, soy, and white beans. Beans and peas are also considered to be proteins along with eggs, meats, nuts and seeds, poultry, and seafood.

The final subcategory of vegetables consists of choices such as artichokes, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, green beans, green peppers, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, onions, turnips, wax beans, and zucchini.

Fruits

Within the fruit group you have an incredible choice of canned, dried, fresh, or frozen fruits to eat whole, cut into pieces, or in juice form.

Some of the most commonly eaten fruits include apples, apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, melons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pineapple, and tangerines.

Dairy

In the dairy group there are subgroups of milks, cheeses, milk based desserts, and yogurts.

As a general rule, when trying to lose weight all dairy products should be low fat or fat free. Some foods in these groups include all types of milk, hard and soft cheeses, puddings, ice cream, and frozen and regular yogurt.

Proteins

In the protein food group there are meats such as beef, ham, lamb, and pork along with game meats such as venison, and poultry including chicken, duck, goose, and turkey.

In addition to eggs, beans, and peas, nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts or filberts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds are in this category as well.

Seafood is also protein and may include options such as fresh catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, Pollock, swordfish, trout, and tuna. Canned seafood and shellfish are included in this category with choices such as protein filled foods such as clams, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, sardines, scallops, squid, and shrimp to choose from.

Now that you know what to find in each of the five food groups it is time to decide what to eat for each of your meals and snacks.

While some people prefer to follow the three meals per day "rule," others find they have better results eating smaller, more frequent meals. Instead of three larger meals spaced throughout the day, five smaller meals are eaten closer together with either no or limited snacks. Whichever one works best for you and your lifestyle is naturally the better choice.

What to Eat for Breakfast

You will want to start out each day with a healthy breakfast. Too many people skip breakfast either because they are too busy or do not realize the vast importance of this first meal of the day.

A filling yet low calorie breakfast sets the tone for the day and eliminates cravings mid-day. When we allow too many hours to pass between meals the blood sugar drops causing a host of ill effects on the body. Instead of giving into cravings or feeling sluggish due to a lack of energy during the afternoon start the morning right with a healthy breakfast.

If you are pressed for time in the mornings have cold cereal for breakfast which only takes a few seconds to prepare. Opt for a high fiber cereal without any added sugars and use skim or reduced fat milk. Add fresh fruits such as sliced banana, blueberries, or strawberries for a sweet taste without all of the additional calories. Have green tea or coffee with a low fat creamer or fresh juice as your beverage.

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You could also quickly whip up an omelet with egg whites, low fat cheese, and chopped onions or green peppers along with a slice of whole wheat toast for a filling and healthy meal.

For an even heartier breakfast add ground or chopped turkey to your omelet and enjoy it along with a serving of fresh fruit.

What to Eat for Lunch

Lunch serves the important purpose of tiding us over until dinnertime and giving us the energy needed to get through the day.

Your choices for healthy lunches are just about near endless as there are an incredible number of low fat, low calorie foods to choose from regardless of your tastes or preferences.

Low fat cheeses and lean cuts of meat are ideal for making sandwiches and salads are always the perfect choice for lunch. Be sure to choose a low fat dressing or use the regular variety sparingly. You may also want to use leftovers from previous night's healthy dinners as a quick solution for lunch.

If you enjoy soups, be wary of cream based soups that tend to have more calories than the broth varieties. Soups can also be high in sodium so take that into account when planning your meals for the day.

What to Eat for Dinner

Depending on your tastes and preferences, you have a nearly infinite number of choices for preparing interesting dinners each night of the week that will keep you from getting bored while trying to lose weight.

If you are tired of the same old meals day after day look online for some new recipes and make sure you note the specifics such as fat content and calorie count.

One serving of lean proteins such as a three ounce, skinless chicken breast or a three ounce piece of fish along with a serving of whole grains and another of vegetables makes for the ideal dinner in terms of nutrition and satisfaction.

By adding whole grains and vegetables to your dinner you will feel fuller longer thanks to the fiber and water content.

If you eat an appetizer before the meal such as a bread roll or vegetable soup, be sure to include the calories when figuring out how much you should be eating and also remember to account for other variables such as sodium and fat content.

What to Eat for Snacks

If you think you have to eschew snacks completely when you are on a diet or trying to lose weight, think again as there are many foods that are perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.

Fruits and vegetables are perfect for snacking and you won't feel guilty after eating a bowl of grapes as opposed to a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Also try whole grain crackers for a filling treat that will provide both fiber and complex carbohydrates for energy.

Nuts and seeds are other good choices for snack time, but be mindful of calorie counts and fats, even the heart healthy kind.

A few slices of cheese or a container of low fat yogurt are also considerations for healthy snacks.

When it comes to eating snacks between meals, again, you want to remember moderation and portion size as well as the type of calories you are consuming.

Follow these substitution tips to make healthier choices for all of your meals and snacks:

Baked Goods

Switch to whole wheat flour instead of the white, all-purpose variety and use whole grain bread crumbs instead of the white kind. Remember to adjust the amount of flour used in your recipes as the whole wheat type is less dense and better suited for baked goods such as cakes or fresh muffins.

When it comes to using eggs in recipes for baked goods, use only the egg whites or an egg substitute. To keep foods from sticking while baking by using a cooking spray instead of butter, margarine, or shortening and always use nonstick cookware.

Dairy Products

Use pureed apples or applesauce instead of butter, oil, or shortening. Always use reduced or fat free milk and if a recipe calls for evaporated milk, opt for the skim version. Likewise, choose fat free or low fat creams and cheeses. Instead of ordinary cream cheese try pureed low fat cottage cheese or Neufchatel.

===Meats=== Opt for extra lean or lean ground beef along with chicken and turkey without the skin. Stay away from fatty cuts of meat and prepared lunchmeats which are not only loaded with fats and calories but are also high in sodium. Instead of fatty bacon try turkey bacon, smoked turkey, or a lean prosciutto otherwise known as Italian ham.

Seasonings

Cut back on table salt and replace it with a blend of herbs and spices or a salt-free seasoning mix. Rice vinegar or citrus juices such as lemon, lime, and orange can also be used to add flavor. Substitute low sodium soy sauce for the regular variety or use hot mustard or sweet and sour sauce.

Sweets

Instead of using the full amount of sugar in a recipe, cut the amount in half and add extra taste with sweet flavorings such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Substitute syrups with the sugar-free type or pureed fruits and used canned fruits kept in their own juices or water as opposed to in heavy syrup which adds unnecessary calories.

There are plenty of other substitutes to use for the fatty foods we are so used to eating on a regular basis.

Use your imagination and experiment with recipes and various cooking methods to make meal times both healthy and enjoyable. For example, instead of ordering the usual pizza loaded with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni make your own delicious, low fat version at home.

Choose whole wheat dough, fresh herbs instead of salty seasonings, low fat mozzarella, and plenty of vegetables. To avoid making a soggy pizza, vegetables like onions should be partially cooked because of their high water content.

When it comes to making mouthwatering dishes that use creamy soups for flavor, choose the fat-free varieties or pureed carrots, potatoes, or tofu. Mashed potato flakes are also an ideal thickening agent that will not add a lot of fat and calories to the meal.

You can even add interest to ordinary salads by substituting crunchy and vitamin filled greens such as arugula, chicory, collard greens, kale, spinach, and watercress for iceberg lettuce. And skip the fatty salad dressings choosing reduced calorie and fat-free dressings along with flavored vinegars.

It is always a good idea to stock your pantry with healthy staples so that you will also have what you need on hand to create a healthy and satisfying meal anytime.

Incorporating Exercise Into Your Life

For a surefire way of burning fat and increasing energy levels, add exercise to your daily regimen. Although you can lose weight simply by cutting calories alone, adding exercise into the mix has a countless number of benefits to take advantage of in addition to burning even more calories.

Besides burning calories, exercise also increases lean muscle mass and has a positive effect on all systems of the body from the brain to the heart to the lungs to the skin. And, regular exercise will help to improve your physical abilities like endurance, flexibility, stamina, and strength.

Despite knowing all of these great benefits there are still many of us who simply dread the idea of exercising and even cringe just hearing the word mentioned. Whether it is a lack of time, energy, or motivation, there are several reasons we may intensely dislike exercising and try to avoid it all costs.

The good news is that it does not have to be like high school gym class. The secret is finding an activity, or several of them, that you enjoy doing and practicing it often.

Do you love music? Why not dance instead of running or jogging? Learn new dances or simply enjoy the music and move your body while burning calories and building muscle tone.

Are you an outdoorsy person? Walk or hike through the woods or countryside and enjoy the sweet sights, sounds, and smells that nature has to offer.

Can't imagine another mile on the treadmill facing the washing machine in the basement? Move it to a better location or bring a small television or radio into the area. This will give you something to focus on other than the tenths of a mile slowly ticking by on the treadmill's display.

Sneaking Exercise In

Without even beginning a strict regimen, there are many "sneaky" ways to incorporate exercise into your life and not even realize it. Instead of driving everywhere walk as often as possible. Along with burning calories you will be saving gas and wear and tear on your car. When you do have to drive, park as far away from your destination as you can to add extra steps into your day.

Instead of taking the elevator take the stairs, take the batteries out of the remote control, work in the garden, spend more time walking the dog or playing outside with the kids and you will be building endurance, increasing energy, and burning fat with little effort on your part. Exercise with a buddy and encourage each other along the way.

Using a Pedometer

You may even want to invest in a simple pedometer to keep track of the number of steps you are taking each day.

But how many steps should you actually be walking on a daily basis?

Ten thousand steps a day is the common recommendation for weight loss and better health. 10,000 steps is equal to roughly five miles based on the average person's stride. Those with a sedentary lifestyle may only be walking as few as one to three thousand steps a day and will need to increase the number of steps they take gradually.

If you have a pedometer and wear it faithfully you will know exactly how much you are walking per day. Put it on the first thing in the morning and do not take it off until bedtime then record the number of steps taken in a log.

You may be quite surprised at just how much you walk, or don't walk, a day.

Create a fun motivational tool out of a simple map. Hang the map on a bulletin board and keep track of the miles you walk or bicycle using push-pins.

You also do not have to pay for a pricey gym membership to kick start your weight loss efforts. Getting all the exercise you need right at home is perfectly possible and you also won't have to spend a lot of money on expensive equipment you may or may not use.

Setting Up Your Walking Plan

Merely walking at a brisk pace is enough to raise the heart rate and burn as many as 500 calories per hour. And all you need to walk is a decent pair of shoes for support.

If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, do not start out by walking for an hour at a time in an attempt to burn as many calories as possible and most especially if you are significantly overweight.

Start out by taking five to 10 minute walks at a time until you are able to build stamina and gradually increase to at least 30 minutes.

If you don't want to spring for a set of hand weights, use a soup can for about a pound weight and a sack of flour or sugar for 5 pounds.

You can use your very own body weight for resistance when doing exercises like pushups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats with absolutely no equipment needed. Also, many cable companies offer free or low cost exercise videos to follow along to at home and the Internet is brimming with free instructional videos to watch and learn from.

How Much Exercise Per Day

According to the experts, anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes a day is the ideal length of time for exercising.

A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended for everyone to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease but some of us need as much as an hour and a half to be at our healthiest. This does not, however, mean that you must exercise for an hour at a time without stopping. Not only may that be too taxing for some people but it might also be difficult to find the time to exercise with the busy lifestyles of today.

In essence, if you are obese or overweight and trying to drop pounds quickly, 90 minutes of daily exercise are in order. For those who have already lost weight and are just trying to maintain it, 60 minutes a day is recommended while 30 minutes should be enough for anyone at a "normal" body weight trying to stay healthy.

Remember, the great effects of exercise are cumulative and will add up over the course of the day. Which means that a 15 minute walk in the morning, afternoon, and evening equals to 45 minutes of exercise added to any other physical activity you have done including cleaning, gardening, working around the house, and caring for the children.

If you do have an hour or so of time to block out strictly for exercise, by all means take advantage of it, and if it is during the morning, that is even better.

Get your body energized and ready to handle the day by getting in a good workout before your day really begins. You may also be less likely to make excuses for not exercising if you get it done first thing in the morning.

Maximum Heart Rate

Whatever type of exercise you engage in and regardless of the time of day you will need to know your maximum heart rate. This number is an estimate based on age. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

While exercising, check your pulse or heart rate on a regular basis including before, during, and after your workouts. Your target heart rate should be anywhere from 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

In essence, there are two basic types of exercise; aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercises refers to those that are relatively low in intensity and done for long durations while anaerobic exercises are done in short spurts and used to increase strength and build muscle tissue.

Some examples of aerobic exercises, which are sometimes referred to as cardiovascular exercises, include bicycling, cross-country skiing, dancing, fast walking, jogging, jumping rope, running, skating, stair climbing, and swimming.

Although aerobics are definitely in order for fast weight loss, you will also want to incorporate anaerobic into your workouts.

Anaerobic exercises as a whole may not initially burn as many calories as their aerobic counterparts but they do increase bone density and help build strength which increases muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have the more calories your body will burn even while at rest.

Examples of anaerobic exercises include weight lifting and training, using resistance machines, and doing calisthenics which are exercises like push-ups and pull-ups.

Weight training has the potential to burn a significant amount of calories but it must be done properly for the best results and to avoid injury. Unlike many other types of exercises, weight training should not be done every day to allow the muscles a chance to heal.

Recovering From Injury

Recovering from a torn or damaged muscle is the last thing you need while trying to stay as active as possible.

Naturally, any type of workout should begin with a warm up period in which your muscles and joints are acclimated to exercising. Very light stretching or walking slowly will increase heat and blood flow to the muscles and help to lubricate the joints allowing for easier movement.

Likewise, after exercising a cool down period is necessary. Some more intense stretching or walking or bicycling slower until your heart rate and breathing slow down are all that is necessary to properly cool down the body after physical activity.

Remember to keep your body fully hydrated during your workouts. Drink cold water before, during, and after all of your workouts to keep yourself hydrated and to avoid muscle spasms and cramps.

Tracking Your Progress

When it comes to motivation, few things can compare to seeing your progress in black and white. Whether it is a computer program, calendar, or a single notebook, keeping records documenting your efforts is an excellent way to stay motivated.

The three best ways of accurately tracking your progress are weighing in weekly, recording measurements weekly or monthly, and taking pictures of yourself on a regular basis.

Weighing yourself once per week is sufficient and it will allow you to see if your approach to weight loss is in fact working. Don't get into the all too easy habit of checking the scale on a daily basis but instead make the weigh-in a weekly ritual.

Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything and on the same day each week. Don't forget to write the number down in your log or journal.

Also use a tape measure to gauge your progress by measuring your arms, bust, waist, and thighs. Place the measuring tape in the same spot every time for accuracy and record the numbers along with your weight. You should also measure yourself first thing in the morning before eating or exercising.

Taking pictures of yourself throughout your weight loss journey is a wonderful motivational tool. Since we see ourselves all of the time it is often difficult to determine just how much progress we have made.

Take a picture of yourself in the same type of outfit standing in the same position every month or once every few weeks. Then, hang the pictures on the refrigerator or other prominent place in the house as a constant reminder of how you are doing.

Although supportive friends and family are great and a much needed part of getting healthier, there is simply no better motivator than seeing your own progress right in front of your very own eyes.

Maintaining Your Ideal Weight

Once you have reached your weight loss goals and are happy with your progress your journey is not quite over yet. There is still the ever important matter of maintenance to consider as you certainly do not want to fall back into your old habits again.

Also, frightening statistics regarding the consequences of being overweight or obese continue to make the news headlines. We know that a wide range of diseases and serious conditions are associated with carrying extra weight including type 2 diabetes, gallbladder problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, stroke, and even certain types of cancer such as breast and colon cancer.

All of these are more than reason enough to keep the weight off not to mention having more energy and looking and feeling better in the process.

Remember that just because you no longer have excess weight to lose, more than likely you still will not be able to eat whatever you want with wild abandon. Continue to make the same smart choices that allowed you to drop the weight in the first place, exercise regularly, and keep close tabs on your weight.

Getting the proper amount of rest each night is essential not only for maintaining weight loss but for better overall health. Some people need a strict eight hours per night while others need less or more to feel their very best. If you find yourself yawning mid-morning or not being able to focus during the afternoon chances are you need more sleep.

Take a good look at your schedule and commit to making the time to get to sleep earlier each day to give yourself the stamina you need to stay healthy.

Quick Tips to Remember for Fast Weight Loss

Here are 10 tips to remember for fast weight loss. If nothing else, keep these quick pointers in mind.

  • Make a commitment to losing weight and getting healthier not just for the length of time it takes to drop unwanted pounds but permanently.
  • Tap into your inner motivation to begin your quest for a better, stronger, healthier you. Only you can make the changes needed to lose weight and get fit for good.
  • Set realistic and attainable goals for yourself.
  • Eat all of your meals at regular intervals to keep yourself energized and both the blood sugar and metabolism at optimal levels. While eating, always sit down to fully enjoy your meals.
  • Whatever you eat, keep your portions in check and pay attention to serving sizes.
  • Watch the types of foods you enjoy increasing the amount of high fiber foods you have including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while reducing the amount of fats and sugars you consume.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each and every day. Check your heart rate or pulse periodically while exercising.
  • Do cardiovascular activities, which burn the most calories making them ideal for losing weight quickly, but remember to add intervals of strength training.
  • Find a weight loss buddy or a support system for morale to increase your chances of success during your weight loss journey.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and make it a point to focus on all of the good things in your life and concentrate on your progress rather than on any setbacks you may have encountered.

And finally, to successfully lose weight fast, which means at a steady pace and then keeping the extra pounds off over the long term, making permanent lifestyle changes is essential.

Why follow one useless fad diet after another when they couldn't possibly sustain your nutritional needs for the rest of your life?

Embrace the healthy foods you enjoy and make physical activity a regular part of your daily regimen for a longer, more fulfilling life.



References:

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This page was last modified on 3 August 2013, at 19:17.
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