Be overweight in the summer heat. Exposing a fat stomach or fat thighs isn't pleasant when everyone is wearing gnat-sized beachwear and drizzling oil onto wasp-like abdomens. For people carrying excess weight, summer can be an unpleasant trial. So let's take a look at how you can reduce some of your fat and make next summer a happier experience.
Summer Weight Loss Trap
One guaranteed way to fail is to look for a "shortcut" weight-loss method or diet. You know what I mean: the type of program that promises "a fast, effortless way to lose unwanted body fat, trim that tummy, or get rid of love handles." In my expertise, none of these diets or pills work. The medical evidence is quite clear: the maximum rate of sustainable fat loss is between 1 and 2 pounds per week, perhaps a little more if you are obese. Besides, if a brilliant scientist did manage to concoct a formula for rapid, effortless weight reduction overnight, he would be more famous than Einstein. He wouldn't be peddling his program in 30-second TV infomercials or mail-order advertisements. So, for your sanity and your financial health, don't waste time on weight loss methods that make extravagant claims. If you don't believe this, think of any overweight friends who favor the short-term "lose 20 pounds in two weeks ' approach, and ask yourself why they are still fat.
Three Month Summer Diet Plan
You can't lose much weight in a week or two. You need about three months to impact your body shape. The human body is interested in the world and survival. Rapid weight loss is a prima facie symptom of disease, not good health. The only guaranteed way to improve your body shape is to adopt healthy eating and increase exercise.
You can lose about 26 pounds in three months - more than enough for most overweight people to experience noticeable health improvements and a much leaner body. And by reducing your weight gradually in this manner, you have far less chance of weight regain, so if necessary, you can continue losing more with less danger of incurring a weight loss plateau or other obstacles.
You Need A Motive
No one likes to change their habits. So if you want to change your eating and exercise habits, you need a strong motive - something to keep you dieting and exercising when boredom sets in. Whatever reason you choose, it must be something more powerful than the urge to eat tasty high-calorie foods in front of the TV!
A Good Motive For Weight Loss
Anything that commits you in advance to achieve your weight loss goal makes a great motive. Book an expensive beach holiday, or buy clothes to fit your body at the end of your diet program. Both require you to succeed. Maybe your doctor told you to lose weight. Whatever your motivation is, it has to be pure and from the heart otherwise, you won't stick with it.
Be Positive About Short Term Sacrifices
Whether you're trying to lose weight for the summer, save money, or pass exams, an essential piece of the motivational jigsaw is your ability to be optimistic about making short-term sacrifices. The choice is relatively simple: you can focus on the "deprivation" involved in giving up certain foods, or you can focus on the benefits you will get by not eating these foods. Sadly, many dieters focus on feeling deprived. After a while, they see their diet as a burden, a bore, an evil necessity. This reason is why so many of them quit. They can't "see" the benefits of weight loss. On the other hand, suppose you want to improve your body shape for the summer. In that case, you must avoid this trap and appreciate the longer-term benefits you will receive by making short-term adjustments to your lifestyle.
The Good News About Improving Your Diet
Many of our tastes, food cravings, and general attitudes to food are strongly influenced by what we eat and drink. I know countless mothers with families who have reported tremendous changes in their personal and family eating habits after less than three weeks of improved eating. Unfortunately, the average modern diet is loaded with sugar, fat, and sodium, making us want more of these items. But suppose you can break out of this dependence on junk ingredients for even 2-3 weeks. In that case, you'll notice a massive difference in your tastes, which brings me to healthy eating.
Think Healthy Eating, Not Weight Loss
In my experience, one of the most effective weight loss strategies is to focus on healthy eating. I'm not saying you shouldn't stand on your weighing scales. Just don't measure progress exclusively by what the scales say. Be aware that it's just as important to enjoy your food and feel good about your change of eating habits. And any diet you hate is guaranteed to fail, no matter how much weight you lose. As soon as you achieve your goal, you will revert to your old eating habits and regain every pound lost.
Exercise Provides Wonderful Indirect Benefits
Exercise burns extra calories and therefore does help to widen your calorie deficit. But its direct effect on weight loss is typically relatively small. It's not uncommon to gain weight when you start exercising. The actual weight reduction benefits of exercise are indirect ones. It raises our metabolic rate, helping us to burn calories at a slightly faster pace, and improves our mood, which typically reduces our need for comfort eating. However, don't overdo your exercise workouts. I've lost count of the number of dieters who started exercising too vigorously and burnt out within three weeks. Ideally, start with 45 minutes/day of any physical activity you can easily manage and gradually increase the duration and intensity. Listen to your body at all times, and be sure to loosen up beforehand and wind down afterward.
See Yourself As You Want To Be
If your goal is a waistline you can proudly display in the sun, then don't wait until it happens to "see" it. Instead, visualize it from the moment you start dieting. For example, imagine yourself walking along a beach or lying next to the pool with a perfectly flat stomach. Whatever your ambition for your weight or body, get used to visualizing it in the most outstanding possible detail because "seeing it" is the first step to making it come true. As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words.
Feeling Discouraged? Just Visualize The Benefits!
If you have a lot of weight to lose (100 pounds+), you may not think losing 26 pounds in three months is particularly worthwhile. If so, ask yourself this question. What's the alternative? No matter what method you choose, you won't lose weight any faster, so it's only a question of when you start and how long it will take. I can answer the last question right now. Losing 100 pounds takes about a year - typically a little longer to allow for disasters. Fifteen months would be a more realistic period to reduce weight by this amount. This is nothing. Just visualize yourself walking down the street 100 pounds lighter. Tell me that eating healthily for 15 months is too high a price to pay for such a fantastic prospect.
Your First Priority - Get Support
If you want to lose weight for the summer, your priority is to find support. Join a diet group at work, a fitness class, or weight loss meetings. Or join an online forum. Of course, losing weight on your own is perfectly possible, providing things go well and your scales keep saying nice things. But when difficulties arise, as they surely will, having the support of real people can make all the difference between success and failure. If you experience difficulty finding support, try my weight loss forum. It's great fun and very inspirational.