Weight Loss Plan That Works

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I'm no expert on weight loss, unless you count the fact that I can lose two pounds a week at will. This translates into about 20 pounds in two months. I have, in fact, lost significant amounts of body fat quickly enough that colleges, walking in the halls behind me, claimed to have thought I was a new employee.

Like anyone, I sometimes get lazy and let my good habits slack, so the pudge starts to creep back on if I'm not diligent. But the following method works for me every time. So many people have asked what my secret is, I'm willing to share. It's not rocket science; it boils down to fresh food and exercise.

Still, there is a specific method I follow:

Preparation

1. Visualization. Get a good mental picture in your mind how you want to look. Sometimes, I'll even turn to magazines to find my mental image, although it does not mean I'm going to transform myself into a tall, willowy model. But the image of a taut waistline, shapelier legs or sculpted shoulders fixed in my mind helps keep me on track towards my goal.

2. Do not wait for "motivation". You'll find true motivation after you begin, as the first few positive changes and increased energy spur you on for more.

3. Begin with a trip to the grocery store, and load up on enough fresh fruits and veggies to get you through a week, good protein choices like fish, chicken and omega-3 eggs, and whole grain bread, pastas and cereal.

Food plan

In a nutshell, think "fresh" when making food choices and never go hungry.

1. Do not skip breakfast. To streamline your morning, set out a small bowl of whole grain cereal the night before, rinse some fresh berries to toss on top, and in the morning all that's left is to add the milk. Or, along with making a healthy lunch the night before, pack a breakfast that's easy to toast and enjoy at your desk, such as a sliced, boiled omega-3 egg with low fat cheese on a whole grain roll, and a baggie of berries Egypt grapes.

2. A typical lunch for me is turkey or some other low-fat protein choice on a whole wheat bun, and a piece of fruit. Or, I might tote a container of whole wheat pasta, veggies and cooked shrimp. The trick is to get the whole grain bread and pastas into the first two meals, because …

3. Dinner is a protein choice, such as chicken or fish, and a whole lot of steamed veggies sprinkled with lemon juice. For this meal, as a general rule, I leave out any rice, pastas or bread choices.

4. Also plan a mid-afternoon snack of veggies, fruits and / or nuts. My favorite is a handful of blueberries and almonds, which is a great source of protein.

Other food tips

o Think 'substitution' for any of your bad habits. If you like cheese, try a low-fat version. Swap a potato chip or chocolate bar habit for rice cakes, baked chips, popcorn and low-fat chocolate cookies. Your goal here is to gradually eliminate the chips and cookies, but weaning yourself with better choices at first can be easier than going cold-turkey.

o Never go hungry. It bears repeating.

o If you do have a burger and fries for lunch, do not beat yourself up, and do not look at it as a reason to have a crappy dinner as well. You're not "off" your "diet". You're not even on a diet, you're on a healthy food plan. One bad meal describes to be followed by a healthy one.

o Drink lots of water, flavored with lemon juice.

o Avoid, as much as possible, alcohol, white flour products, fast food, soda, candy and anything else that's basically in the junk food category.

The second important part of this plan is regular exercise, and one of the easiest and most effective exercises is simply to start going for a walk each day. Weight training is also extremely effective, since increasing muscle mass helps consume calories and adds tone and shape.

It's always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

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