What exactly is a “balanced weight loss regimen”? The most common mistake people make when they’re desperate to get rid of their extra pounds, is to go on a really drastic diet, with no exercise, thinking that way they’ll solve the problem faster. They usually wake up a couple of months later, hungry, unhappy and weighing the same, or possibly more. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
A balanced weight loss regimen involves treating the process like a marathon, not a sprint. Your body functions by a certain schedule and order – if you tamper with it, it will work against you, but if you nurture it, you will get the results you’re looking for. Here are 5 important guidelines for a balanced weight loss regimen, which will help both you and your body be in the best shape possible.
The pounds you take down should stay down
Going on a crazy, extreme diet, because you don’t think you have the time or discipline to actually change your lifestyle won’t get you the results you seek. Severe, restrictive diets only work for a short period of time, and traumatize your metabolism and digestion. When you go back to your regular eating schedule, your body will go into overdrive and make supplies in the event of another “famine” like the one you had just put it through. You will put on the weight you worked so hard to take down in no time, and you will end up feeling miserable.
Instead, take it slow and steady to achieve long-lasting results. Only go on a diet you can sustain for a long period of time, or you will find yourself back to the drawing board before you know it.
Going to the gym may not be so bad
We all have a bit of a gym-phobia: it’s either too expensive, or too time-consuming, or too embarrassing. First of all, no matter what size you are, there is absolutely no shame in strutting about in your workout clothes at a gym packed with people who, by the way, are there for the same reason you are. If you’re too squeamish to go alone, find a friend to accompany you.
Second of all, spending time and money might be the incentive you need to actually show up and do your best, because we all know how easy it is to skip out when you work out at home. While you’re at it, you might learn some tips and tricks, even make some new friends.
However, if the gym idea still doesn’t work for you…
Find a form of exercise you’re comfortable with
Whether it’s swimming, dancing, walking or jumping up and down, any form of physical activity is better than nothing. Maybe you can’t afford a gym membership, but you have a volleyball in your closet, your neighbour’s daughter has a jumping rope, or maybe your friend has a dog you can walk. Find your resources and take advantage of them – it won’t cost you a thing, but the benefits will be priceless.
The important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. Accept that there will be some pain at first, before you get used to it, but ultimately, you should have fun and enjoy yourself. If nothing else, it will take your mind off hamburgers and cookies for a while.
Don’t just count calories, count nutrients
You’ve seen athletes and models keep tabs on what they eat, checking out food labels like there’s a treasure map on them. What they’re actually doing is counting calories and making sure they don’t exceed a certain amount. This is a good idea, but as a beginner you should first focus on counting nutrients, i.e. vitamins and minerals. There’s nothing more dangerous going on a new diet than not getting all the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
A balanced diet should provide you with adequate amounts of vitamin A, C, E, K and vitamins from the B spectrum, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, potassium, selenium and other nutrients. You should especially watch out for vitamin B12, which can only be obtained from animal products, such as meat or eggs. If you choose to go on a vegetarian diet, you will need to take B12 supplements.
Always leave yourself room to cheat
Even though losing weight is all about discipline and restraint, you don’t need to torture yourself and deprive yourself of your favourite foods. The whole experience will become an unpleasant burden for you, and you might be tempted to give up sooner or later. Instead, give yourself permission to have a piece of cake or a slice of pizza from time to time, or even establish a weekly “cheat-day”, when you can eat whatever you want.