Weight loss: What you Really Need to Know

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I think it’s fair to say that summer, and post-Ramadan period, are when we start to push ourselves to get fit. Ladies, it’s July again, so if you haven’t committed yourself to a fitness program, it is really time for you to do so. Before you start asking what your friend did to lose weight or what your neighbor’s idea on weight loss is, read this article first. We seem to have many misconceptions in Egyptabout weight loss, fitness and nutrition. Due to our collective culture, our information tends to travel without much validity or legitimacy. Yet when it comes to your health, and your body, it is absolutely vital that you research information you hear, even if it’s from your own physician. 

A lot of us are eager to have our beach body ready, some are even eager enough to try about anything. As a matter of fact, a study showed that women in the U.S and UK spend more than billions of dollars a year on fat burning pills, supplements and gadgets that promise to zap off some kilos. Unfortunately, it only ends up slimming down their wallets. Read the following dos and don’ts which have worked for me personally. Just bare in mind they are meant for those who are planning on following a fitness regimen, not the couch-hugging, TV-watching bunch.

Fist off let’s address some of those diet misconceptions.

1. You can lose weight by dieting only

It never ceases to amaze me how many women ignore exercise when trying to lose weight. Most simply try a diet that her friend or cousin tried, simply because it worked for them. Others even go to the gym for a daily jog on a cardio machine, or a high intensity aerobic class. Trust me, cardiovascular training and aerobic workouts alone do not, and will not reshape your body it is that simple. A combination of both diet and exercise is the only key.  By exercise I mean weight training or resistance training. Bottom line is your muscles have to work for you to have a slimmer body. You don’t have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger at the weight section; just tone you muscles by using light weight or some resistance bands.

Variety of exercises is even more important, as your body tends to adapt to repetitive routines, making the muscles immune to old exercises.


2. Don’t avoid strength training because ‘women who lift weights will get bulky muscles’

When people hear me say the word gym, they immediately ask me why I am trying to build muscles! The idea of a woman going to the gym, lifting weights and not bulking up is inconceivable to many people. A woman has only one-third the testosterone of a man, so putting on a ton of muscle is not going to happen. Those bulky women you see in magazines are all on steroids and growth hormones. If you’re target is to loose weight, then you‘ll only see those lean defined muscles.


3. Do consume at least 1,200 calories a day.

When you consume less than 1,200 calories a day, your body develops a starvation response, which will slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism is the key player in the losing weight game; the faster it is the faster you’ll lose weight. Actually, 1,200 calories should be a bare minimum for women (2,000 calories for men). Many women will need to consume even more than that, depending on your activity level.


4. Consume frequent, small and well balanced meals throughout the day

Again eating small meals gets your metabolism working. It also keeps you from starving and feeling fatigue by keeping your blood sugar level stable. Eating frequent will keeps you and your metabolism energized. This does not mean snacking junk every two hours; the meals have to be small and healthy, such as fruits, cold cuts sandwiches. 


5. Drink green tea regularly

In addition to the many benefits of green tea, it does boost your metabolism up to 4 percent, and it also helps burn fat. You can drink it as a beverage, or consume it in pill form.


6. Exercise beyond your comfort zone

 The phrase “no pain, no gain” does apply and is very much true. The human body strives to maintain stability, so you need to push yourself by applying high intensity to your workout, whether it is cardio or weight training.


7. Consume Omega-3 fats

These are present in tuna, salmon and walnuts. They are very beneficial to your health and to the recuperation of your muscles after an intense training. They are too essential to the pace of your metabolism.


8. Schedule the occasional “cheat-day”

A cheat-day is essential to any diet. As I have mentioned earlier, the human body tends to adapt quickly to routines; a cheat day breaks the diet cycle and shocks your body. Cheat-days take place after six days of dieting.


9. Don’t go on a severely restricted calorie or a nutrition limited diet

These types of diet are very unhealthy, and are more likely to let you regain all the weight you have lost after you stop them. Believe it or not, eating healthy is an integral part of losing weight.


10. Spot reducing is possible

No matter how much we would like to believe, we can not losing fat in only one part of our body. If you are only focusing on losing weight on your hips, or your midsection, it will not work. The human body loses fat over the entire body at various rates of speed. It’s impossible to spot reduce.


11. Exercise Requires a Hefty Time Commitment

You do not have to spend eternity at the gym to lose weight. I see a lot of people in the gym five to six days a week, and they’d be better off watching TV. Consistency and level of effort is the key. You are better off working out three days per week with enthusiasm and intensity, than five days of lacking off. In addition, long workouts can be counterproductive. Numerous studies prove that more than one hour of an intense workout increases cortisol levels, a catabolic hormone that will assist in destroying muscle.


12. Don’t think if you exercise you can eat whatever you want

Contrary to popular belief, you can not eat anything you want because you think you burn it off. This might help you maintain you weight, but it will never make you lose any. Exercising will burn calories, but if you’re eating anything you want and you’re over maintenance calories, you’ll most likely gain fat.


Finally, don’t get on a fitness program for one season of the year

Trying to get fit for the summer or for a special event even can be very unhealthy to your body. Too many weight gain and weight loss can be harmful to your skin; I am talking about our sworn enemy, cellulite. It can also keep your blood sugar level, cholesterol and several hormones climbing up and down the chart, which can put you in some health risks.

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