Drop those crazy diets for good! Losing weight and staying healthy can go hand-in-hand for longer-lasting results than all those fad diets.
Grapefruit diet, all-bean diet, tapeworm diet, you name it and someone out there has done it! Put the tapeworm down and learn how to lose weight fast without compromising your health with these tips from some of Toronto’s top health and fitness gurus:
Healthy weight loss occurs at the rate of about 0.5 to 1 lbs per week, according to Hugo Low, a conditioning expert at Toronto-based fitness club Xtreme Couture, but weight can fall off quicker during the first few weeks of a weight loss regime. “Understand that during the beginning of someone’s fitness journey the numbers will be higher than the average. Someone who is severely overweight, with maybe 30-50% body fat, will lose more than the average person, sometimes anywhere from 5-10lbs per week.” And while this may sound great (and if you happen to lose a little more than planned, it is just an added bonus), it is important to be realistic about how much you will lose in the first few weeks in order to avoid disappointment. Remember, you are aiming for healthy and happy, not malnourished and miserable.
Evidence doesn’t lie and for women eating a 1,200-1,500 calorie a day diet that includes three healthy, portion-controlled meals and two small snacks, every day is the best way to lose those extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. “The six days on plan with one free-for-all day does not work in the long term,” says Mary Bamford, a registered dietician with the Adelaide Clinic in Toronto.
You know those hunger pangs you feel? Most often they are are actually thirst pangs and keeping your body hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure healthy weight loss. However, what you drink to quench that thirst is equally important. Skip the juice and the sodas (even the diet ones!) and reach for the H2O. No matter how you measure it, nothing can beat your standard eight to 10 glass of water a day. It will flush your kidneys of waste, will help your body metabolize fat more effectively, and will make you feel fuller when meal time comes around, which prevents you from gorging.
Hit the gym
Aim for 30-40 minutes of gym time three to five days a week, with lengthier and more frequent sessions if you are on a tight deadline. Mix up your routine, with a healthy dose of both cardio and weight training on different days, to keep you motivated and to see the best results. “Cardio will be very successful for most,” says Hugo. “However, the weight training is what keeps the weight off, so in the long run you cannot neglect this…it makes sense to do both frequently.”
Skip the crash diets
You know those drastic measures mentioned above? Skipping meals, cutting carbs, and eating nothing but grapefruits all fall under that heading and all will likely fail to produce the results you are looking for. “Most people on extreme crash diets just feel lousy; low energy, grumpy, achy, difficulty concentrating, thoughts obsessed with food, depressed mood; but a rare few will get serious and life-threatening complications,” says Mary, who advises medical supervision if a dieter sees no other option. “My warning is to be medically supervised if they insist on following an extreme crash diet. Tell your doctor and have him monitor the appropriate blood work…Medical monitoring is very important and necessary.”
Keep a journal
Documenting what you eat and your daily exercise regime is hugely important for reaching weight loss goals because it allows you to see exactly where you may be going wrong. Online diet journals such as www.fitday.com are the perfect place to record and study your daily caloric intake versus your physical output to ensure you stick to your numbers. And being “brutally honest” is a must, says Mary. “Get out the measuring cups and spoons for the first week so that you can estimate accurately,” she says. “In studies, overweight people tend to underestimate their actual intake by about 25% or 400 calories–that is why measuring everything is so important.”
Make it a lifestyle change
You’ve lost the weight so why stop now? Healthy living, including maintaining a healthy body weight, is a lifestyle choice and one that takes motivation, determination, and a lot of hard work. Remember the way you felt on your big day, or any other day when you’ve been at your healthiest, and think of that feeling often. Use it to help remind you, every day, how wonderful a heathy life can be.