By Salma Awwad
Planning a New Year getaway and need to shed the fat pronto? Here are 10 tips that are guaranteed to accelerate your efforts and help you trim down in time for your vacation.
1- We all know that weight loss is a result of a very basic equation: Calories-in ˂ Calories-out = Weight loss. Although this holds true, it is not exactly as simple as it may seem. Fat loss is not only about the number of calories you consume, but also about the type of calories you consume. Now, let’s address both these points, starting with the number of calories you should be consuming first. You can find out your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) by multiplying your bodyweight (in kg) by 28. Next add the calories you burn during your daily workout: Half an hour of moderate aerobic exercise = 350 calories, while half an hour of weight lifting/ resistance training = 200 calories. Add total amount and keep your daily calorie consumption below it. For example, if you weigh 56kg and jog for 30 minutes per day, then 56x28=1568+350=1918 calories required for weight maintenance.
2- Now comes the tricky part. How many calories do I need to cut out in order to achieve quick yet healthy weight loss results? As tempting as it may seem in the beginning, avoid drastic calorie reductions or your metabolism will be compromised. As a general rule, if you have a small amount of weight to trim off, just cut out 200-300 calories from your daily intake. For a more drastic effort, you shouldn’t subtract more than 500 calories at any given time for long lasting results and healthy weight loss.
3- Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the type of calories to consume. In order to avoid losing muscle mass and guarantee that you are truly attacking your fat reserves, you should always monitor your daily protein intake. If you’re engaged in a moderate exercise routine then your minimum amount of protein consumption (in grams) should be no less than your total weight. Ideally, it should be 1.3 x total weight in kg = daily protein intake in grams, and if you are extremely active then the formula becomes 1.8 x total weight in kg = daily protein intake in grams.
4- Limit carbs to complex- high- fiber forms. Consume them early in the day, preferably during breakfast. Oatmeal and Quinoa are two perfect examples with ample benefits. They both provide high levels of fiber, low levels of fat and high levels of protein.
5- Eat every 3-4 hours: According to Jorge Cruise, Author of “The 3-hour Diet”, when you eat breakfast within an hour of rising, consume meals every three hours beyond that and stop eating three hours before bedtime, your RMR increases along with your energy levels, while your appetite and cholesterol levels take a plunge. This plan specifically targets belly fat and has been proven to be very effective if, and only if, the 4-6 meals consumed per day are portion controlled.
In a 2001 study published in The British Medical Journal, researchers found that people who ate six small meals a day had a 5 percent lower average cholesterol level than people who ate one or two larger meals. Although it is not yet proven to boost your Resting Metabolic Rate as Cruise claims, several studies show that eating four to five times per day (meals or snacks) is associated with reduced or no obesity risk. When you eat regularly throughout the day, your body knows that more food is on the way, and it's more likely to burn the calories you consume than store them as fat.
6- Circuit training: We can’t talk weight loss without tackling the topic of exercise, and the best way to get maximum results in minimum time is circuit training. You can set up as many ( or as few) stations as you would like, then continue through the circuit to get an effective whole body workout whether you have 15 minutes or an hour. Make sure you mix both cardio and strength training to send your metabolism soaring as your body becomes a fat-burning furnace.
7- The magic potion: Green tea with honey and lemon This beverage offers weight-loss benefits. According to a study published in the February 2013 "Journal of Medicinal Food," participants who consumed green tea daily for four weeks and participated in a program of weight training showed significantly increased lean body mass and resting metabolic rate -- a measure of how many calories your body burns while at rest -- compared to a control group that exercised but did not drink green tea. While compounds in tea can inhibit iron absorption from foods in your diet, drinking your green tea with lemon reduces that effect while honey adds the benefits of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and provides magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper and zinc as well as vitamins A, B-complex and C. Have a mug- full every morning and right after workouts get best results.
8- Up your H2O: In addition to the obvious benefit of filling up your gut so you wouldn’t mistakenly confuse thirst with hunger, now comes scientific evidence that H2O really does help you lose weight. Researchers in Germany report that water consumption increases the rate at which people burn calories. The impact is modest but the findings which reported in the December 2003 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water, the subjects' metabolic rates -increased by 30 percent for both men and women. The increases occurred within 10 minutes of water consumption and reached a maximum after about 30 to 40 minutes.
9- Cut down on the salt: Beat the bloat and feel instantaneously slimmer by getting rid of highly processed foods in your diet, which tend to be high in sodium and low in fiber. Get in the habit of reading food labels when buying processed, canned, or frozen foods, shoot for no more than 500 mg of sodium per serving in any product -- or a total of 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Look for labels that say "sodium free" or "low sodium." Also experiment with different spices as an all-natural alternative to table salt that can significantly enhance flavor without resulting in fluid retention.
10- Get some Zzzz: Sleep is essential for recovery and reducing stress levels in the body. Recent research shows that chronic stress is a main culprit when it comes to weight gain. Whether eating to fill an emotional need or grabbing fast food simply because there's no time to prepare something healthy, a stressed-out lifestyle is rarely a healthy one. But weight gain when under stress may also be at least partly due to the body's system of hormonal checks and balances, which can actually promote weight gain when you're stressed out.