As some of you know, I'm getting married August 2nd, and for others that don't know, I'm on a quest to look the best I can in my dress.
Yes, it was a rough year last year with my books, dissertation project and lots of stress, and I put on some body fat that I'm not too happy with. I'm just like anyone else: if I slack on my eating and exercise, body fat likes to jump on my hips, thighs and lower belly. I'm not one of those lucky people that can eat anything and be lean; I really do work hard to have a lower than average body fat % and a high level of quality muscle mass.
But, as I said, things went downhill last year and now I'm getting back on track after completing my dissertation project in March and finalizing some other writing & projects that I had to accomplish.
And, as everyone knows, it can be easy to put on body fat, but takes twice the time to take it off.
Despite some hurdles, I'm making great progess and expect to meet my Aug 2nd goal. I've dropped significant pounds off the scale and am decreasing the circumference of my fat-storage depots consistently. I'm also comfortably wearing clothes (pants and shorts) that were too tight just a few months ago and feeling better about my body every day.
Although it's not easy sometimes to get where you want when your body is off-track for some time, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to really make a difference in the way that you look. Now, they might sound too easy, but they really do work (believe me, I'm living proof):
#1) Write down what you eat right after you eat it.
This doesn't mean that you have to write down the calories or macros (but you should know the volume and weight of the food), because you intuitively know in your head what's too much, what's not good and how much is enough to fuel your system.
Your body is also a smart machine: it can regulate food intake VERY well as long as you're conscious about what you're putting in your mouth. Some people call this mindfull eating, and there's even research done to show that you can consume significantly more food than you need when you aren't paying attention.
Finally, your energy needs change each day due to differences in activity levels that we all experience from work and planned exercise. So, you don't necessarily have to stick to a defined calorie level day-in and day-out, just know what's going in so you can regulate how to balance it out.
By tracking what goes in your mouth, you can also stop your body from telling you you're hungry when you just ate a short time ago. When you get a sense of hunger but seen that you've just ate an hour ago, you know your body is just trying to set you off track. Drink fluids and wait it out for the next hour at least before you dive into more food.
#2) Move your body for 30 minutes everyday.
Even though there's such thing as the 10-minute workout or the 6-minute fat-blasting routine, your body has to be in motion AT LEAST for 30 minutes EACH AND EVERY DAY.
There is absolutely no reason at all that you can't move around for 30 minutes by either cleaning or shopping or walking your pets (or around a few blocks at lunch) and also doing your 10-minute workout. If you're sedentary and sit all day with as minimal movement as possible (which is the case for many people who commute to work, then sit at a computer all day and then come home to zone out on the T.V. all night) you might as well put out a welcome mat for body fat gain and muscle mass loss.
Your body was meant to move (if it wasn't we'd been born without arms and legs) and it likes to do it.
It doesn't matter what you do, just get off your butt and move. Don't get analysis paralysis worrying about what you should do - just get out there and do it. Your body will thank you.
#3) Get the stress out of your life.
No matter if you workout all day and keep your diet as perfect as possible, if you're overworked and stressed out, your body will not let you lose fat. That's just evolution: in times of stress your body goes into storage-mode and inhibits all fat and energy loss. It conserves everything you have so that you can fight off the stressful event/emotion.
So, if you're in a stressful place, find a way to get out or make it less of an impact in your life. Stay away from negative people who will only bring you down and into more stress. Find a way to minimize your workload. Take time to sit down and think about all the good you have in your life so the stress doesn't seem so bad. Or, enlist the help of someone that can help you become stress-free.
Do whatever it takes, but realize that stress will not only stop your fat-loss goals, but will decrease your healthy life span and make your world seem like a horrible place. You can do it and there is solution- just make an effort to make it happen.
Now, I'm off to get my workout in for the day and doing something I love: mountain biking for a few hours with my friends. I get to enjoy the beauty of the summer and get leaner at the same time. Life is good.