The warm weather is approaching, it is time to spring clean! Not just your closet but your weight loss regimen. You may have fallen into some habits that seem healthy but the reality is they may be ineffective and adding unnecessary clutter to your already hectic schedule. Simplify your life by tweaking your habits to provide the intended benefits. Here are some tips to a fresh and improved way of thinking about your routine.
- OLD HABIT: Eight glasses of water is the general recommendation, but it does not take into account different life styles. The 8 glasses of water is a great rule of thumb for healthy active individuals, but it is not a scientific number. Each individual has different water intake needs based on their activity and physiology. If you do not drink until you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
- IMPROVED HABIT: Drink a glass of water right when you wake up in the morning. Even add in a packet of Emergen-C instead of having that usual cup of coffee. If you are someone that forgets to drink water during the course of the day, fill up a half-gallon jug with water and aim to finish it by the end of the day. If you are hydrated, your urine will be clear to a very light yellow. If you need to drink more water and are dehydrated your urine will appear a darker shade of yellow. Stay Hydrated!
- OLD HABIT: Some studies state that weighing yourself daily can make you more conscious of your weight and assist you in losing more. However, recent research disagrees. In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, it was found that focusing on being healthy as opposed to the numbers on the scale can help decrease blood pressure, improve mood, and help keep off pounds in the long run. The scale can be discouraging for some individuals because they cannot see the whole story. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if a person is in fitness training to lose weight their weight may increase because of added muscle mass. For women the scale can be especially misleading because women retain 3 to 5 pounds of water fluctuating in a day depending on their menstrual cycle.
- IMPROVED HABIT: It is recommended to focus on body composition and how much energy you have on a daily basis. Instead on getting on the scale everyday, weigh yourself once a week . Try other techniques as well, such as trying on a pair of those jeans that just did not seem to fit prior. Make the jeans your goal rather than the number on the scale.
- OLD HABIT: A steady-state of cardio has its drawbacks. The body can get used to the routine and stop responding. This means that the weight loss has hit a plateau and will stay that way if you do not stimulate the body by mixing up the routine.
- IMPROVED HABIT: On your cardio days use the stairstepper or the treadmill on the incline. Also try interval training and strength training 2 or 3 days a week to challenge your body and burn more fat.
4. Eating After 8pm
- OLD HABIT: There is no study that proves eating after 8pm will make you gain weight. The harm in thinking this is that you may overindulge on dinner to get through the night. Most people believe that when you go to sleep at night, your metabolism slows down and the calories are converted to fat. The fact of the matter is that as long as you are consuming the right nutrients and appropriate portions, nothing will turn into fat.
- IMPROVED HABIT: It is ok to eat later but stick to something lighter. Certain types of food may be more difficult to breakdown at different parts of the day. Eating a large steak dinner at 10pm is not the best thing for the body but snacking on cottage cheese with fruit and a few nuts is light enough and will let you sleep better.
5. Crunches are the Ab Exercise of Choice
- OLD HABIT: People perform the same exercise everyday thinking that eventually it will give them a six-pack. Ab workouts should be designed more towards building strength than attempting hundreds of crunches to get ripped. Everyone has a six-pack but most individuals have a layer of fat covering it. If you are healthy and have cardio and strength training in your fitness routine, those abs will be discovered.
- IMPROVED HABIT: Challenge the strength of your abs while working out other parts of your body. If you strength train properly, you will be engaging your ab muscles with each exercise. You do not have to spend all that time doing the same crunches hundreds and hundreds of times.
6. Eliminate Fat from Your Diet
- OLD HABIT: When fat is eaten in moderation, it is an essential part of your diet. Healthy fats actually slow down the digestion process which makes your feel fuller longer. People think that by eating fat it will make them fat and end up eating more carbs instead that convert into sugar and are stored as fat.
- IMPROVED HABIT: Fuel your body with healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
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