Starting to lose weight: Part 1

If it means a few pounds or it means halving your weight I will try to break down the key points to work on when considering losing weight.
02.02.2016

When we talk about losing weight a lot of things need to be considered before we can really set out a plan of action. There are however a few key points that we can all stick to if losing a few or many pounds is your focus in the coming weeks and months.

The first thing to think about before you plan to lose weight is to not really set a target weight to achieve or to have an idea of an amount of weight to lose. Setting goals can be a good thing for many people as it drives their ambition to reach the next level but one of the things it can do is keep some people settled once they achieve their target weight or their mind’s goals.

Know that these things take time and understand that your body will react differently to new ideas. It will take an unknown amount of time for you to lose the weight so why would you put yourself under the pressure of a time-scale or a target weight. You have all heard the saying ‘Good things come to those who wait’. I couldn’t say it any better myself so you must have patience in order to succeed, So do the damn thing.

So what are the key points for losing weight?

Diet

Your diet will make up more than half of the battle with your weight. Understanding what is good and bad for your body will be the key to start losing weight. Having a change in your meal intake will totally transform your physical efforts and it is essential for you to embrace the change fully. If you are planning in a few cheat days of your favourite meal in between training then you are only giving yourself an excuse to slip back into bad habits. The keys are quite obvious to many people but it is worth reminding ourselves of them;

  • Eat less empty carbs - Eating less empty carbs can drastically increase your levels of energy and keep you on track. Try to get more complex carbs in your diet such as brown rice, sweet potato and brown pasta. These will be more difficult to break down for your body and keep your metabolism working over the day.
  • Cut non natural sugars out - Any manufactured sugars from sweets, chocolate and snacks can seriously affect tiredness and energy levels, leaving you crashing after the initial ‘rush’. Aim for all natural sugars from fruits or vegetables or if you really have a sweet tooth then focus on artificial sweeteners if your cravings need to be crushed.
  • Drink more water - Water is often overlooked as a diet change for people but being and staying hydrated is essential for you to feel on top of your game and stay motivated. Caffeine is ok in small doses (normally in the morning) but it can leave you crashing again after the initial rush so focus on keeping your body hydrated. An intake of between 2-3 or 4 litres is an ideal amount depending on your training and physical effort during the day.
  • Do not avoid all fats - The main types of fat found in food are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Most fats and oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats in different proportions. As part of a healthy diet, we should try to cut down on foods and drinks high in saturated fats and trans fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats. Foods such as olive oil, avocados and nuts can be a great source of these ‘good’ fats and can help the body provide more energy to burn off during your training.

Training

When training to lose weight there should firstly be a large emphasis on a high amount of cardiovascular training. The aim to is to make the body work to burn off any excess fat by keeping your heart rate in what some call the ‘target heart rate’. There can be a danger of overdoing it on occasions but as long as you are building up a good sweat and staying hydrated whilst doing so you should be in the required heart rate zone.

One way you can see what your maximum heart rate should be whilst training is the following recommended by the British Heart Foundation. The formulae is as follows;

220-(your age) = (your maximum beats per minute)

So for example if you are 25 your maximum heart rate can be found with; 220-25= 195

This is a guide only and obviously everyone can be at differing fitness levels so investing in a smart band or heart rate monitor is sometimes a great way to keep an eye on yours. This cardiovascular exercise can be in many different ways and can be kept fresh by alternating the exercise you do on any given day.

We will look at the different forms of cardio in next week’s article where we also take a look at involving weights in your training in next week’s article as we continue to discuss the goal of losing weight and it’s possible hurdles to overcome.

Written by:

Taeo Robinson

Taeo Robinson


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