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It’s that time of year again when everyone with kids is frantically organizing and shopping for the coming school year ahead. But it’s not just your kids who can benefit from studying! Here, we take you back to the classroom and show you the ways in which you can educate yourself as you progress along your weight loss journey towards your goal weight graduation day!
You should view the human body as a complex piece of machinery, with things going in and coming out, transforming and dissolving all the time. Due to these constant changes in the body, your weight can fluctuate dramatically over the course of even just a 24-hour period. Depending on what you ate, how much water you drank, how much sodium was in your food, the time you weighed yourself, and of course, your hormones, your weight will be different. The healthy way to lose weight is to aim for between 1 and 3lbs per week, but don’t let the scales define you.
If person A loses 2lbs in a week and person B loses 4lbs, who has lost the most fat? The answer, is that only a body composition test would be able to tell you. While it may seem that the more weight you lose the better, if you are really restricting your calories, doing a lot of cardio and no strength training, you could be losing muscle rather than fat. It is important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, and to achieve your ideal body you will need to build muscle and tone up too.
So, while conventional scales may say you have lost just a pound, measuring your ratio of lean muscle and bone mass to body fat could show that you have gained 2lbs of muscle, meaning a total loss of 3lbs of fat. You can measure your muscle and fat ratios by using a Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA) scale, but you can also monitor your progress using a tape measure, for a sign of how your hard work is paying off in other ways.
Like learning, getting healthy and losing weight isn’t just done indoors. Focusing on diet is a great way to lose weight, but counting calories isn’t exactly fun. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do (e.g. eat ice cream), focus on what you can do and get outside and do it! You’re not in gym class any more so you don’t have to worry about being picked last for the team, just find something that you enjoy.
Start doing those Zumba classes, salsa dancing, cycling, Pilates…whatever gets your body moving and your heart beating. To ensure you build muscle and tone up, it is a good idea to incorporate some strength training, such as squats, push-ups, tricep dips and crunches. Building muscle also helps you lose more fat, so your body will be working hard even when you’re not working out.
You shouldn’t beat yourself up about past failures to lose weight but you should be able to learn from your history of reaching your goal weight. You may have even achieved it and then gained the weight back, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to repeat your mistakes. Perhaps you let your exercise routine slide once you hit your goal, where then a one pound gain turns into a 10 pound gain. Before you knew it, you were right back where you started. If that’s the case, remember that knowledge is power, as you’re now much more informed on what it takes to lose weight.
A great motivator is to keep track of the progress you’ve made, and not just changes related to the scales. While it’s natural to want to report weight loss in numbers, it’s important to remember that your weight loss journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Day to day changes are almost meaningless and very difficult to quantify, so focus on changes over time. Weighing yourself weekly will give you an idea of your progress, but remove as many variables as possible by wearing the same clothes (if any) and weighing at the same time of day.
You should also look at your body composition and how it changes by using measurements, taking photos and trying on old clothes. That way, your scales may be giving you an F, but the jeans you haven’t fit into for years are giving you an A+!It is also a good idea to set goals that aren’t weight-orientated; aim to build up your running speed or the number of push-ups you can do. Keeping a food journal is a great way to monitor how much you’re eating, but why not also write down how you feel. Make a note of your energy levels, or things you can do now that you couldn’t do last month.
We would love to hear from you about the lessons you’ve learned on your weight loss journey, and how you plan to continue on through the new season with success! Comment below and share your thoughts!