Having difficulty deciding the theme for my first blog post, I decided to ask several of my college peers what I should write about. The most common questions revolved around body fat, weight and physique. I heard questions like, “What foods make us fat?”, “How many calories should I eat to maintain my weight?”, and “I work out consistently throughout the week, why haven’t I lost weight?”
The reality is, we are all different. What works for one person may not work for another. I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but here are five tips that we all will benefit from following.
1.) Look at your overall diet.
Calories matter. Most of us realize when we’re eating food we shouldn’t be. If you’re consistently justifying your bad eating behaviors, such as wings and fries after a workout or spoonfuls of ice cream when you’re not even hungry, that could be your answer. If you really want a sculpted figure, you’ll want to consider limiting the amount of high fat and sugary food from your diet. Instead of having an ice cream bar for dessert tonight, opt for low-fat yogurt or a bowl of berries. For lunch tomorrow, order a Caesar chicken wrap instead of a cheese burger. Just a few minor changes in your diet will go a long way to help you manage your weight!
I’m not saying go vegan or vegetarian, but it’s important to make sure our meals contain them. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 1/4 of your plate with vegetables. Making veggies the primary dish to your meal ensures you’ll get plenty of fiber and nutrients.
3.) Whole wheat!
The types of carbohydrates you consume are significant when it comes to weight management. Whole wheat products consist of complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest, contain more fiber, and will supply more sustained energy. For example, eating whole wheat toast in the morning will not only provide your body with more nutrients, it will keep you feeling full for longer. So the next time you visit the grocery store, consider whole wheat over white.
4.) Exercise consistently
A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that simply performing sit-ups, crunches, and other abdominal exercises won’t do much to reduce belly fat. Instead, cardiovascular exercise can help you burn more fat. The key to weight management is consistency! If you don’t currently exercise, consider hitting the gym or the trail 3 times/week to start. If you currently exercise, switch it up by taking a walk around the neighborhood or trying a spin class. Keep in mind there are no shortcuts to fat burning. You don’t have to exercise intensely, but consistent physical activity is important to maintaining a healthy body weight.
5.) Drink water!
Water is essential to keep you energized, hydrated, and alert. According to an article by Mayo Clinic on the health benefits of water, drinking plenty of water helps provide a moist environment for your vital organs, which helps them to function better. The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake of water should be about 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women per day. So remember to drink up! There’s a reason we associate water with life. Are you getting enough?
The hardest part to living a healthy lifestyle is not the procedure, but the discipline it takes to keep it up. Behavior change is hard. There’s no magic pill to make your fat disappear. You, and only you, can work hard to make it happen. So get out there and commit. There are no excuses.