Losing weight is a bit of a balancing act. To reduce body fat, you must decrease the number of calories you consume while increasing the number of calories you burn through exercise.
Angie Hill, a senior exercise physiologist at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness, says it’s important to remember that weight loss is a journey, not a destination.
“The goal is to develop healthy routines that help you lose weight and keep it off,” she says.
Here are some of Hill’s tips:
- Eat nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats.
- Reduce or eliminate condiments, which are high in calories and fat.
- Snack on low-calorie veggies or eat a handful of nuts instead.
- Monitor your weight loss by weighing yourself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom. If the number on the scale consistently decreases, it’s an indication you’re losing fat.
- Start new exercise routines slowly. Begin with 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. If you want to train with weights, start with one set of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise, eventually working your way up to three sets of each exercise. Jumping in too fast can cause injuries.
- Expect soreness. When you’ve effectively worked your muscles, they will feel sore. If it lasts longer than a few days, you may have an injury that needs medical treatment.
- Avoid drinking your calories. Soda and sports drinks can negate the calories burned during a workout. Choose water instead, which can help speed metabolism.
Before starting any diet and exercise program, always consult your health care provider.
“Some diets aren’t right for some medical conditions. For example, people with kidney disease shouldn’t follow a diet that calls for a high protein intake. That’s why it’s important to consult your physician or health care professional to ensure your diet plan is safe,” Dr. Jain says.