Getting Ready for Summer

Okay, the last entry was a little bit heavy so let’s lighten things up again – no pun intended…

Summer seems to be making a slow entry in Seattle, but I’ve already started hearing rumblings of concerns about fitting into cute summer clothes, shorts and swimsuits. At the same time, I’ve also heard talk about quick, unhealthy fixes. It’s interesting that, even though we know better in our heads, some will still choose to lower their calorie intake to a point of depriving their bodies. The body’s response is to screech to a halt, saying “hey, you are not giving me enough energy to function so I need to slow down and hold on to the reserves in case I am being starved.” The body holds on to that fat for energy so it turns to using the energy stored in your muscles. This pattern usually results in frustration, binges and, ultimately, either no weight loss or an apparent weight loss that is actually loss of lean muscle. And, the second you go back to eating the way you were before, the pounds comes back, sometimes bringing five to ten of their friends.

Okay, we all know that, but how can we lose it and do it quick?

It is a combination of tweaking your diet and increasing your physical activity. But, the primary thing to focus on is burning more calories than you are taking in. Keeping a food journal and calculating calorie and fat intake, or logging it online (try free site: Calorie Count) can be tedious, but also bring more awareness to portion sizes and the little tastes here and there that add up.

Activity In order for anyone to stick to an exercise program, you must find something you enjoy doing. Find something that challenges you or shakes up your current program and makes you feel empowered/powerful. For me, this is yoga. I never thought I could do it, but now embrace that each class challenges my mind and my body; and, every time I make just a tiny bit of progress on a pose, I feel strong and proud of what my body can do. (I just returned after a 7 month absence! Stay tuned for that post!)

More ideas: Try a Zumba or other dance class – I never feel more alive than I do after dancing for an hour and it’s a great core workout as well as calorie burner! Start a walking program or, if you’ve been walking a while, add some hills or try jogging (if you don’t have joint issues).

In the gym: Increase your incline or resistance levels on cardio machines or add 10 more minutes to your time. Increase the weight you are using in weight training circuits – and don’t worry ladies, unless you are taking large amounts of testosterone supplements you won’t bulk up like the boys! Finally, try intervals – 10-20 minute cardio segments, interspersed with two-to-three sets of three-to-five weight-based exercises (upper-, lower- or full-body exercises, depending on your program).

Food Making small changes one at a time will help your body get used to the changes without shocking your system. If you drink alcohol, try taking a month off from it – sometimes this change can yield surprising results for people. Replace something you may be dependent on – cheese, red meat, bread or simple carb – with a fruit, vegetable or complex carb. Get a scale or measuring cups and measure all of your food until you can eyeball portion sizes. Finally, try to eat as many whole foods – as opposed to processed foods – as you can. When you can’t, look at the ingredients listing and choose products that have few ingredients, and steer clear from partially-hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and high fructose corn syrup.

The only way you will achieve The Biggest Loser style weekly weight loss is by doing nothing but exercise for six hours a day and carefully controlling your calorie intake. Not very realistic for most of us. Healthy weight loss is around two pounds a weeks, some weeks it can be a little more, some a little less. So, give yourself some time to reach reasonable weight loss goals; and remember, starving yourself will only deprive your body of the essential nutrients it needs to function properly. You wouldn’t expect that your car would get very far on an empty gas tank, would you?

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10 Responses to “Getting Ready for Summer”

  1. Your site has helped me a lot to bring back more confidence in myself. Thanks! Ive recommended it to my friends as well.

    • rrafii says:

      Thank you for reading, and recommending. Let me know if there are future topics you’d like to see discussed. I recently accepted the realization that I have to me my own number 1 priority and stop waiting to be someone else’s priority… Keep believing in yourself and keep progressing!

  2. Very cool site and I just bookmarked ya too!

  3. Wow, I never new that, much appreciated.

  4. znane nago says:

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  5. easy diets says:

    Hello, thanks very much for the entertaining article. I had wanted to sign up to your RSS feed but unfortunately it does not seem to be working when I added it. Am I the only one with this trouble? I’ll visit in a bit to check back. Anyways thanks very much again for this post.

    • rrafii says:

      Thank you! I am still building up the website, including this blog page, and still learning – I’ll look into the RSS feed and see what I can do about that. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check back and keep reading…

  6. Anonymous says:

    A great reminder for all of us. Thanks Cousin! Hugs*

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