This article could not have come at a better time…I think we’re all feeling a bit down.
Looking your best and feeling your best tend to go hand in hand, so it won’t come as much of a surprising to know that the two or intrinsically linked, not just by your self-esteem, but by your body’s chemistry as well. The truth of the matter is, when you get fit, you start to feel happier in yourself. As the cold, dark months draw to a close, you might not be feeling great – we tend to let ourselves go a bit in winter, our bodies slow down, and we crave the energy that sunlight and long days bring. As spring starts to rear its beautiful head, it’s time to shake off the funk and get back out there, banishing the winter blues and lose your winter weight in the process.
Yo-yo diets, with all the best intentions, aren’t necessarily the best way to make positive, healthy changes. They might help us to lose a few pounds, but their sustainability is questionable, and so often those pounds find their way back to us pretty fast. Our best bet for losing weight and keeping it off is a move towards a healthy lifestyle, and the best way for us to achieve that is by one small step at a time, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Make some of these little changes, and once you’ve mastered one of two, start adding more into your routine – they’re far more likely to stick that way.
Find a workout you love
Waking up one morning and deciding you’re a long distance runner probably isn’t the way to go, especially if you’ve never run for anything more than a bus. If you’ve decided that exercise is something distinctly lacking in your daily routine, spend some time trying a few different sports and activities out – you don’t have to choose one right away, so trialing many different types means you’re more likely to find one that might stick. Challenge yourself to a new activity a week for six or ten weeks, and then make the decision only at the end of the trial. Make sure to include some high intensity, meditative, and outdoor activities in there, and remember that you don’t only have to choose one if you end up loving them all.
Grab your walking shoes
Whether you choose hiking as a regular exercise or not, making the decision to walk móre often, rather than drive, can do wonders for your body and mind. Walking obviously gets your heart rate up, your muscles working, and burns fat, but it also allows you to get fresh air, experience new sights, and is all round, a great idea. Why not go for a ten-minute walk around the block on your lunch break, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and choose a walk in the wilderness as a relaxing weekend activity? You’ll feel the benefits in no time.
Don’t skip breakfast
You’ll have been told since school that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and what do you know, it totally is! It gives your metabolism a boost, balances your blood sugar, and a healthy, balanced breakfast actually makes weight loss a whole lot easier. Don’t get dragged down by the same dreary breakfast every day, mix it up, try new things, and see how your daily energy improves.
Opt for green tea and water
Not only should you not skip breakfast, but you should also make sure to hydrate in the morning. Thirst does not lend itself particularly well to concentration, and can even make weight loss more difficult. Green tea is a great way to start your morning, as the liquid content hydrates, the caffeine wakes you up, but the green tea aspect is also great for encouraging your body to burn fats. Water and green tea are the best foundations for weight loss – avoid too much fruit juice as it is mostly full of sugar, which your body stores as fat. Veggie juices are a great compromise, and rich with vitamins and minerals too, to keep your body and mind in tip-top condition.
Laugh and love
Socializing and laughter are so good for you that it can even help you to lose weight – who’d have thought it? All the wonderful hormones that our bodies release when we spend time with people we love give us energy, fight pain, and make us feel elated, meaning we’re far happier to work out. People who feel isolated or lonely often find that their bodies store fat as a result of depression – it’s basically the body’s coping mechanism – so keeping your friends close helps to avoid that. For the best of both worlds, get a workout buddy to keep you going strong, even when your motivation drops off, but also to laugh with and chat to while you work out.
Get a helping hand
Some foods are great at helping us burn fat and lose weight. Fruits and veggies full of water are a great place to start, so keep broccoli, leafy greens, and legumes in most of your meals. Superfoods are great for many things, such as preventing chronic illnesses, encouraging strong bones and good eyesight, and giving you energy, but they can even help you get slim. Oats, packed full of fiber, give you slowly released energy throughout the day, and boost your metabolism which helps to burn fat. Lean sources of protein such as salmon and chicken are a great way to feel full, without filling up on red meat. Many people choose to give their weight loss a helping hand by taking medication as well. Orlistat tablets are a prescription medication for weight loss, which can be helpful when taken alongside a healthy diet and exercise routine. Weight loss isn’t just about eating less and exercising more – there really are things you can eat to encourage your body to shed fat faster.
Don’t shun healthy fats
A common misconception is that fat automatically equals bad, but actually, some fats are really healthy and can even contribute to weight loss and a sense of wellbeing. Some fats, such as oleic acid found in avocados, encourage your body to feel full for longer, meaning we don’t have to eat as much – bonus! The fats in seeds and nuts also help you to feel full, and encourage your body to lower its insulin level, so they’re far better for snacking on that carb-rich chips and candy. Eat olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, and dark chocolate in moderation, and see how much your body thanks you. And because your blood sugar won’t peak and trough as it does with a complex carb rich diet, you’ll find your mood and energy starts to stabilize too – bye bye winter blues.
Sleep is definitely not for the weak
Living life in the fast lane can feel like the only way to get everything done in a week, especially when you’ve got a family to care for or a career to focus on. The first thing we start to compromise on, maybe after our exercise and diet, is the quality of sleep we get. People are staying up later and getting up earlier than ever before, and it’s not good for our bodies or our minds. Going to bed in a dark, quiet room, with no electronic distraction, and sleeping enough, will do wonders for your mind, but it will also help you to lose weight and maintain the energy to do so. Give it a go.
Losing weight and getting happy is all about not trying to do too much at once. One step at a time, make healthy substitutions and add exercise into your routine, and you’re on the right track.