Here’s a lifestyle plan you can start on today. Expect amazing results in two months!
Yes, it is possible. The weight-loss experts we consulted agree: With the right plan and a lot of slimming ideas, some of you can lose as many as six inches in two months – without putting yourself through diet-and-fitness boot camp.
That’s, of course, a combined total of inches from a variety of areas, including your waist, hips, thighs and other problem spots. And the slimming won’t all be due to weight loss. Some of it will come from toning up flabby muscles.
So we present here a simple, two-part weight-loss/shape-up plan. We dedicate it to the new you who’ll be sporting a trimmer profile 60 days from now.
Remember, though, it’s a good idea to check with your physician before beginning a weight-loss regimen, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
THE 60-DAY SLIMMER PLAN
Our two-pronged attack on flab is a sensible dietary approach combined with an easy-dies-it exercise strategy – both calibrated for the realities of summer living.
Part One: Cut out the fat!
Rather than counting calories or reducing your overall food intake (as you would on most diets), the 60-day Slimmer Plan asks you to simply cut your fat intake. Gram for gram, fat contains more calories than either protein or carbohydrates, and it can end up as body fat on your hips, stomach and thighs a lot easier. Replacing fatty foods with low-fat alternatives is a much more enjoyable and a much easier way to lose a few pounds than the usual crash or starve schemes.
The easy way to gauge an acceptable fat intake is to count grams of fat in your diet. (It’s easier than counting calories.) Keep track of your daily intake of fat grams and follow these general guidelines: If you’re a woman, consume no more than 44 grams of fat per day; if a man, no more than 67 grams. (These figures are based on people’s average daily calorie intakes – around 1,600 for women, 2,400 for men. If you think your calorie intake is much lower or higher than this, you can adjust your fat intake accordingly.) For every 200 calories above or below these numbers, add or subtract 5 to 6 grams of fat.
The suggested fat limits can give you a diet in which no more than 25 per cent of the calories you eat come from fat. This will most likely give you a significant savings that translates into substantial weight loss – especially when combined with exercise.
It’s easy to crowd some of the fatty foods out of your diet – just eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. With the exception of avocados and nuts, most plant foods won’t add enough fat to your diet to be worth mentioning.
The foods that should be mentioned – and monitored for fat – are meats, dairy products and many baked goods. Beware, too, of processed foods that may have fat added, like some canned soups or frozen foods.
Part two: Activate yourself!
Many people who want to lose weight aren’t overeaters, but under-exercisers. They’re basically inactive or they’re weekend warriors. Rather than one day of perspiration followed by six of recuperation, the 60-day Slimmer Plan recommends spreading out your exercise over three or four days each week (each workout day followed by a less-strenuous day). Each exercise session should last a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of an hour. Exercise can be defined loosely as any sustained activity that will boost your heart rate above its resting pace for the period. You’ll burn off much more fat with regular, moderate workouts than you would with occasional intense activity.
You also need to firm up as you lose pounds. This means including exercises that help build muscle as you burn fat, resulting in a firmer, stronger body (that fits into swimwear a whole lot easier!) It’s known as resistance training – and even everyday chores, like digging in a vegetable garden for half an hour, can have resistance training value. The additional resistance training burns extra calories as it builds muscle. And muscle itself is much more metabolically active than fat tissue, so as you add muscle mass, you may increase your body’s rate of burning calories during normal, everyday activities.
Don’t try too much too soon though: Acclimatize yourself slowly. If you haven’t been very active up to now, start with something simple, like walking. For the first week: Walk at a moderate pace for 20 minutes on day one. Rest on day two. Add 10 minutes to subsequent workouts (every other day) until you are walking at a moderate pace for an hour. Not super-comfy – you are supposed to be working up a sweat – but you should not get breathless or so tired that you just want to give up.
Before each exercise session, do some gentle stretching exercises for about five minutes. Concentrate on the muscles you know you’ll be working the hardest: Legs for walking, arms for swimming, and so on. After your workout, spend five minutes doing some sort of cool-down – even if you just walk around.
If your motivation to exercise is starting to flag, use the reward system. Get a big jar and put a fiver in it for every mile you walk, or lap you swim, or whatever. Plan to break open the jar on the 60th day of this programme and treat yourself to new clothes, or even a mini vacation!