The winter months often prove to be the worst in terms of weight gain due to there being two major holiday periods in quick succession. These are of course Xmas and the new year. Not only that but the cold weather means you struggle to find the motivation to engage in exercise, it's simply easier to huddle up in front of a warm fire.
The result of this is consuming more calories than you burn which in turn leads to you packing on a few extra pounds. That's why we'll discuss a few simple yet effective strategies for beating the winter weight gain that you can put to use. These aren't earth shattering but with some forward planning and commitment you can lose those excess pounds one at a time without going on some absurd crash course diet.
How to Lose The Winter Weight Gain
Calories are key to a successful weight loss strategy. Put simply if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight. Burning in excess of 3,500 calories equals roughly 1 pound in weight, 35,000 calories would of course equal roughly 10 pounds in weight lost.
There's no set formula for each person as your recommended calorie intake will be dependent on gender, age, height and other variables. But consuming no more than 1,500 calories a day for women and no more than 2,000 calories a day for men is a great starting point.
* The real key is to burn those excess calories through physical activity
Whilst it's easy to over-indulge on the wrong foodstuffs during the festivities you should strive to maintain a balanced diet in-between. Avoid consuming ready-made processed foods and instead source fresh ingredients and prepare your own meals from scratch.
* Incorporate lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet and switch "white foods" for whole grain
Carbs - The No.1 Source of Energy
Carbs are key in any diet as they are the bodies primary source of energy. However there are two main groups of carbs which are simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs are your enemy whereas complex carbs are your best friend. Again avoid processed foods and white foods as these are usually loaded with simple carbs.
* Incorporate fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains into your diet as they are usually loaded with complex carbs
Water is Your Best Friend
Water really is the dieters best friend! It contains no calories and is key in keeping the body properly hydrated. Drinking lots of water can help keep hunger pains at bay and help you feel fuller for longer. To really boost your weight loss efforts cut out all sugary, carbonated processed drinks and replace with natural juices and water.
* Before eating a meal drink a large quantity of water, this will help you feel fuller without over-eating
Engage in Exercise Regularly
Whilst the winter months tend to leave us slightly dormant it's important to engage in some form of physical activity on a daily basis to burn those excess calories. You don't need a gym membership and you don't even need to embrace the cold weather outside to get some exercise, you can do so from the comfort of your own home..
Engaging in Exercise at Home
Most people think you need equipment to engage in physical activity at home but this simply isn't true. There are many simple and effective cardio exercises such as squats, thrusts, star jumps and tap backs that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine at home. All you need is a small space and some motivation.
* Invest in some workout DVDs for an in-house mentor if you struggle to find motivation
Don't Overdo It - Build Yourself Up
A sure-fire way to put yourself off engaging in exercise regularly is doing to much to soon! Remember - slow and steady wins the race.. If you go from being dormant to overdoing it in a manic attempt to shave off the pounds then you may pull a muscle or something more serious. Allow your body time to adjust, stretch your muscles into your routines and work only to your levels of fitness.
Make Exercise a Daily Habit
As stated there's no need to go overboard with exercising, especially at first. However, it is important that you make your weight loss exercises a daily habit. Set a routine and stick to your routine and before long it will no longer be a "chore" but more something you can look forward to.
* Just 15 minutes of light exercise daily is fine to start, build yourself up but make sure you engage in some form of physical activity daily
Goal setting is important as you are making a commitment to yourself. Don't set unrealistic targets but setting targets will prove to be key in your weight loss strategy. Find the right balance whereby you are pushing yourself and setting limits but you're not depriving or over-working yourself.
A good target to set may be to lose 10 pounds in a month, that's 2.5 pounds per week. No easy challenge but not impossible at the same time. It will mean an overhaul of your diet and lifestyle but is within the recommended weight loss target of 3-4 pounds a week.
If that seems too much then set a smaller challenge of perhaps losing 5 pounds in a month. That's just 1.25 pounds per week. It's up to you and based on your individual preferences you may just want to lose a few pounds or you may want to drop some serious weight before the warmer seasons arrive. Just be careful not to try and lose to much at once, warm yourself in gradually!
Monitoring and Tracking
Finally it's wise to monitor your progress daily or at least weekly. This will help you stay focused and on track, if you see your efforts in black and white you'll be much more motivated to continue reaching your targets. Keep a journal and monitor your calorie intake each day as well as the deficit. Also, monitor your thoughts and feelings by noting these down in a journal or something similar.
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