Are you fat, flabby, frustrated – and motivated enough to do something about it? And are you in a tearing hurry to see results without too many tears?
Yes, you can. You can have a better body in one short month.
If your image in the mirror makes you want to squirm, no need to despair. It is possible to get a better body – and fast!
You need to adopt just a two-point programme:
i. Lose weight
ii. Tone up your body
Excess body fat is possibly the biggest impediment to looking and feeling in good shape. So, losing those bulges should be your first marching order. But, although you want to see results in a month, remember that, paradoxically, the fastest way to weight loss is to go slow and gradual. One or two pounds a week is reasonable and healthy, and over a month that’s no mean drop in body fat.
The best approach to losing weight is based on two activities: eating sensibly and exercising.
Some people who want to shed pounds quickly opt for a very low-calorie diet. And, indeed, they do lose some weight quickly, but then they run into trouble. They starve and they starve but they stop losing weight. Why, some doctors believe that when you drastically cut down on food, your metabolism goes on strike – or at least calls for a slow-down. As a result, the body doesn’t burn those few calories you feed it. Your weight loss stalls.
Worse yet, the weight already lost is often muscle loss rather than fat. But if you go off the diet and gain weight back, do you regain muscle? No. you gain fat. As a result, you’re worse off than when you started. So, the correct way to weight loss is you emphasize good food habits you can live with for not just a month, but for life.
Cut down on fats. Fats are the highest source of calories available. Every gram of fat contains more than twice the calories you’ll find in a gram of protein or carbohydrates.
Try to limit the number of calories from fat to 20 per cent of total intake. Cut down on red meat, rich gravies, sinful sweet butter based preparations, creamy sauces and pastries.
Eat more of these:
Fibre. Fibre has become something of a super-hero, food-wise. Among its other healthful benefits, it also speeds up weight loss. The battle starts in the mouth. Fibre-rich foods take longer to chew, giving your stomach time to register “full”. So, you eat fewer calories.
Once eaten, fibre continues combating hunger in the stomach. The type of fibre in whole wheat products tends to expand by absorbing water, which contributes to feelings of fullness. What’s more, fibre can help prevent sugar-induced hunger by slowing absorption of glucose.
Fruit. Not all sugars are created equal. Satisfy your cravings for sweetness by munching on fruits and other foods that are naturally sweet. Not only are they lower in calories and higher in nutrition, they also may curb your appetite better than pastries and sweetmeats.
Soup. What is usually served to whet the appetite may actually suppress it. Because hot soup is difficult to consume with the same speed as a mutton recipe, it can be an effective food for losing weight. During the time it takes to finish a bowl of soup, the brain recognizes that you are eating and turns off the hunger pangs.
Is there any way you can speed up weight loss, and at the same time fight flab? Yes there is:
Exercise. And how it speeds weight loss. First, exercise revs up your metabolism. It can boost a dieter’s sluggish 40-calorie-an-hour metabolic rate to 70 or 80 calories an hour. Just a half-hour a day will keep you burning calories at a faster rate all day long.
And the calories may keep burning away all night long, too. Scientists have found that aerobic exercise can stimulate metabolism for up to 24 hours after you’ve stopped exercising.
Exercise can also reverse the muscle loss that often accompanies weight loss. One study, reported by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in the U.S. compared what effect diet, exercise and a combination of the two had on middle-aged women. All groups lost weight, but both exercise groups lost more fat and gained muscle. The diet group lost muscle.
Retaining muscle is desirable, of course. Muscles are firm and attractive, and – this great news for those trying to lose weight – they burn up more calories than fat.
What kind of exercise works best? Aerobic exercise is the answer. And it needn’t be anything more rigorous than walking. Regular walking ranks right up there with other aerobic sports in providing an adequate aerobic training stimulus. But it’s not necessary to walk at maximum speed to benefit from walking. In fact, devotees of the boardwalk stroll will be happy to know that even walking at slow speeds increases your metabolism.
And you burn about the same number of calories per mile if you walk at a 2-, 3-, or 3½- mil-per-hour pace. Walking 5 miles an hour (close to top walking speed) produces about the same energy expenditure as slow jogging. And if you race-walk – doing 6 or 7 miles an hour – you may be expending more calories than a jogger. A 30-minute brisk walk, three times a week, would constitute a good walking programme for adults. By “brisk,” we mean a pace of about or 3½ to 4½ miles an hour. But start slow and build up gradually.
A 155-pound person burns about 80 calories walking a mile at anywhere from 1 to 4 miles an hour. You’d burn 120 calories if you ran that mile. So if you just walk 1½ miles, you’ll burn as many calories as if you’d run a mile. That, combined with a lower fat and overall calorie intake, will not only see you shedding pounds but also improving short-term conditioning.
Apart from walking, there are other gentle aerobic-exercise options which you can try, such as swimming or cycling.
To further tine up – i.e. strengthen and tighten sagging muscles – try these simple movements. They are recommended by Jacl LaLanne, “America’s Fitness King”, who said, “In 30 days you’ll notice a vast improvement. And you won’t have to exercise more than 30 minutes a day unless you’re an eager beaver.”
Exercise 1. Sit on the edge of a chair, with your feet a few inches off the ground. Draw your knees towards your chest, trying to touch your knees to your forehead. Be sure to exhale as you bring your knees in. “This is a good exercise, concentrating on working your stomach muscles. Do six to eight repetitions at first, and gradually work your way up to 20.”
Exercise 2. Lie on the floor on your back. Then stand up as fast as you can. Repeat this three times as fast as you can – working toward 15 to 20 reps. “This is one of the best exercise you could do,” said LaLanne, “working practically every muscles in the body. First, get up using your arms. After you’ve done that, try to get up without using your arms. It’s a toughie.”
Exercise 3. Sit on the edge of a chair, and extend both legs in front of you. Put your hands on the chair’s arms or side, and lift your bottom off the seat. Doing a reverse push-up, lower yourself toward the floor, keeping your elbows close to your body. Work toward 15 to 20 repetitions to build your chest and arms.
But before you do these exercises, LaLanne said you should warm up by walking five to 10 minutes, then by running in place for an equal length of time. When you’re finished you should do a brief cool-down.