How to Successfully Diet on a Deadline
Usually, diets start because of the realization that your body has changed. You may have some favorite pants that don’t fit you anymore, or you look in the mirror and realize you have chubby cheeks. You may have gotten a comment on whether you were expecting a child anytime soon. These innocent things make you decide to start on a weight management scheme. However, some people lose weight because of a more pressing matter, such as a deadline.
Deadlines may come in different forms. You may want to lose weight for a wedding, a vacation, a race, or a get-together with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Whatever the case is, you need to know the right nutrition in order to maintain a healthy and functional body. Fitness tips can get you good results too. There are different strategies for different deadlines and you should follow the one that’s most suitable for you.
The One-Year Overhaul
Some people are lucky to have an entire year to work on a diet because it’s safer and better for the body this way. You can start by easing yourself into your new diet, allowing plenty of time for transition. Add exercise routines to get good results. With a year on this, you can learn to adapt to the new lifestyle and stick to it. Mark Beier, a certified personal trainer at the National Academy of Sports Medicine who also happens to be the owner and founder of Chicago Fit Clubs, thinks this way.
To start off the year-long overhaul, you can start light with only one to two days of strength training every week. Supplements can also be added to 2-3 days of doing light cardio workout. Examples of this are simply walking or biking for 45 minutes. Proceed by adding more speed, time, or resistance every week.
When it comes to diet, Atlanta fitness expert David Buer recommends being careful with what you drink. The celebrity fitness trainer encourages you to reduce and eventually eliminate the consumption of sodas, juices, and sweetened coffees. This change significantly reduces one’s calorie intake, leading to dramatic weight loss.
Along with the overhaul, you should consume more lean protein and fat. Eat more beans, fish, pork, chicken, and turkey. This is to stabilize blood sugar levels, says Buer. Lean proteins also accelerate fat metabolism and help improve the body’s recovery after a tiring workout. Protein also supplies your body with enough energy for the day. With this, you can remove those unwanted fat and develop good muscle balance.
As for more fat, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado, safflower oil, and raw and unsalted nuts are the best sources. You can also get some healthy fats from fish. Such fat has actually been shown to increase fat metabolism, improve brain functions, and even provide better skin, nails, and hair.
The 6-Month Engagement
Aiming to get a body that will fit better in your clothes just in time for that cruise six months from now? Fear not, because you have plenty of time to make some good changes.
Beginners and those with irregular exercise routines should start with strength training along with some cardiovascular activities. One to two days of strength training in a week will do just fine, as long as you have some light cardio at least two days a week to complement. Add more time, speed, or resistance to your weekly exercise. You can walk, run, or even bike. To help you get motivated, write your goals somewhere you can easily see them—a piece of paper or on a board would do just fine. Cross them off one by one. Also vary your speed by adding some jogging into your 45-minute walk.
You don’t have to make the workout unappealing. Give yourself some small rewards every month or so, but make sure that you reach some goals first before rewarding yourself. Splurge on new exercise clothes or a spa to commemorate your new achievement. Just make sure that you don’t reward yourself with high-calorie foods that will counteract your weight loss plan.
After a few weeks of strength training you can convert to a three-day intense training consisting of full-body, upper-body, and lower-body split and high-intensity interval training, recommends Beier. Meanwhile, Buer suggests 2-3 days of interval training. Do interval training by following a 5-10-minute interval of 20-120 seconds of intense activity and 20-120 seconds of rest. Work up to 20 minutes of interval training, which enhances your metabolism to burn off those stubborn fats.
Allow some full-body days where you do pushups and mountain climbers. There should also be some upper-body days where you work your chest, shoulders, arms, back, and abdominals. Exercises for this include lateral press, rows, chest press, and core workout. Days devoted to the lower body should focus on the hips, legs, and obliques by doing a variation of activities including squats and lunges.
Also according to Beier, create a workout routine that includes dynamic warm-up followed by core workout, high-intensity interval training, and cardio exercises. Use dumbbells, Bosu ball, and a treadmill for interval speed workout in combination with 4-5 strength exercises. It’s recommended to do about 8-12 repetitions of each exercise.
For the 6-month weight loss plan to work, your diet should be composed of mostly dairy, turkey, fish, chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt (low sugar), and leafy greens. Make sure that you eat plenty of green beans, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. These foods are high in vitamins, fibers, nutrients, and minerals to aid in digestion and improve blood sugar levels. As long as the blood sugar level is balanced, the expansion of fat cells can be controlled, effectively causing weight loss.
3-Month Tuning Up
Some would argue that three months is too short to achieve some change in one’s weight, but actually it is already plenty of time as long as you follow the right exercise routine and eat the right foods. Be warned though: with only three months to spare, you need to increase the intensity of your workout. There should be a staple cardio activity, preferably at least 3 days per week, and 4 days of strength program. Two days should be devoted to full body, one for lower body, and the remaining one for upper body workout. If you follow this, you can improve your body composition and your major leg muscles burn fat while smaller muscles are defined in upper body and full body training even without much calorie-burning.
It is also important to watch your diet. Always go for proteins, lean meats, and healthy fats. Stay away from major carbohydrates when it’s already past 3 PM—people are technically less active during this time. Carbohydrates consumed and not used will only be converted into stored energy, which is actually fat. Minimize your sugar consumption and add more vegetables. Eat every couple of hours for your metabolism to work better.
Yes, it is tough to aim for results in just three months, but as long as you follow proper training, your goals shouldn’t be too far away. Work hard to follow training as if it was an everyday ritual just like brushing your teeth, suggests Hollywood fitness expert Lacey Stone, who is also a personal trainer. It’s also a good strategy to create a community of people you go to gym classes with. An attractive instructor may also help you get motivated. As soon as you see results, you won’t want to stop. Continue doing this and a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.
Last Few Weeks
This can work for that last-minute getaway with friends or for when you want to elope on the weekend. You can still look better physically given this very short time interval. What you want to do is start drinking lots of water but add slices of lemon or lime to help flush toxins out of your body. One can look bloated when too much water is retained in the body, explains lifestyle editor Laurel House. The editor of QuickieChick also recommends diuretic foods to help in getting rid of that puffiness due to water retention.
Pure cranberry juice, celery, green tea, dandelion tea, parsley, and fennel are all diuretic. Foods containing high water content such as cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and watermelon can also help flush out excess water. Other options include potassium-rich foods like papaya, spinach, avocado, dates, and bananas. Even salmon can counterbalance bloat brought on by salt or alcohol.
If the event is in the next three days, make sure that you minimize carbohydrate consumption. Avoid pastas, breads, rice, and potatoes to let the body shed water. Remember, one gram of carbohydrates eaten will make your body retain 2.5 grams of water. However, you shouldn’t deny yourself the needed carbohydrates altogether. Get this from kale, Brussels sprouts, and other green vegetables.
House also recommends adding fat-burning foods in there, particularly when you only have a few days left before the big event. Grapefruits, jalapeno, ginger, and cinnamon are considered de-puffers because they break down fats and liquefy them so that they can be flushed easier with the help of pectin and lecithin-rich foods likes apples, berries, and soybeans.
You can burn more calories and slim down faster by adding the right exercise. Focus on cardio instead of resistance training four days prior to your deadline. Then, with only two days left, minimize cardio. No exercise is needed on the day before so that the muscles can relax. They will shrink and make you look leaner. Avoid water consumption on the day itself if you want to look leaner and sculpted.
You might want to work an area of the body that will be exposed on the event. For example, if you’re going to wear a strapless dress, work your shoulders and arms by doing 100 seconds of exercise. Do this 20 minutes before the event itself and your arms should look well-defined. House says this can make you look toned even if you aren’t.
However, House warns that this kind of diet isn’t good in the long term. It’s only good for one or two days, just like most cleanses and strict diets for weddings and other events. A person should aim to do more than that, says House. Rather than just looking good on the day of the big event, you should aim for something that will make you feel good about yourself any day.