A Weight Loss Guide for Dummies

By Karla Bennaton on March 13, 2016

With summer right around the corner, it’s fair to say that many of us are jumping on the weight loss/fitness train. If you’ve been on a diet before, you have a general idea of the hard work and dedication that weight loss entails. If you’ve never done it before don’t worry! In this article I break it down into a simple and easy guide for those trying to get fit and shed some pounds right before the summer time!

1. Meal Prep

Meal prepping is key to losing weight. Your exercise and dedication mean nothing if you’re not feeding your body the right things. This is actually the part where most people screw up because they don’t have a set diet plan and usually end up making bad food decisions that can delay their weight loss results. Choose one day out of the week, most people choose a weekend when they’re less busy. Whatever day you decide to go grocery shopping, make sure you go prepared with a list of items you need to fulfill your diet plan. Once you’ve purchased your ingredients, prepare enough food for the week and distribute it into single sized portions into glass or plastic containers labeled for each day of the week. This makes it much easier than cooking for every meal because let’s be honest, who has time for that? Your food will be ready to eat and you will save a lot of time.

2. Eat clean

Eating clean is a simple concept yet most people fail to conquer it. When “eating clean” you should limit processed foods which basically means anything that comes from a box or a bag and has more than 5 names listed on the ingredients list. Another key to eating clean is limiting alcohol consumption as well any other drink that has a lot of sugar. Fruit juices and sodas have little to no nutritional value, they’re loaded with carbs and more sugar than what you need in one day. Avoiding canned and pre-packaged foods is wise considering they’re usually high in sodium and saturated fats and are often high in calories.

3. Find a workout buddy 

A workout buddy will not only workout with you but they will keep you accountable. If you and your partner can’t always workout at the same times, it’s alright as long as the two of you keep in contact. Send each other motivational pictures and messages to encourage one another daily as a friendly reminder that neither is doing this alone.

4.  Plan a workout routine for the week

It’s important to workout every muscle group in the body. This means that every day you should be targeting a different muscle group so that you get a full body workout every week. You can do a lot in 45 minutes if you don’t have an hour to dedicate daily. As long as you’re working out different parts of your body on different days you should see significant results overtime.

 

5. Try HIIT (High-Interval Intensity Training) 

Technically anything that increases your heart rate and keeps it up in a short amount of time constitutes as cardiovascular exercise. You can run, ride bike, jump rope, or do anything that gets your heart rate up and keeps you sweating. But HIIT is a form of interval training exercise where you alternate between high anaerobic and recovery periods of exercise. HIIT workouts are good in general if you’re trying to shed fat and improve overall fitness which means they’re also good if you want to lose weight. Although HIIT has no specific formula, it usually has a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery. A session of HIIT can last anywhere from four to thirty minutes and and can be a series of 30-40 seconds of sprinting and with 15-20 seconds of jogging/walking. A reliable timer on your phone or watch would be recommended for an effective HIIT session.

6. Attend group fitness classes 

People who workout in groups tend to have higher weight loss success rates than individuals who workout by themselves. This is because when you workout in a group you will be more highly encouraged and motivated. The group dynamic is like none other and your group members will help you and cheer you on when things get tough. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then you should definitely look into cross fit training, Zumba classes, pole fitness classes, indoor cycling, and yoga among other types of group exercise classes. You can find these at your local gym or fitness studio.

7. Have realistic goals and expectations 

The truth is that we all have some sort of fitness goals we are trying to achieve but the key to actually making these goals a reality is to have a plan and stick with it. For any long term goal, it is important to have realistic expectations and meet them in a timely manner. An unrealistic expectation would be to lose 10 lbs. in one week, this is unhealthy and almost nearly impossible. You should aim to lose ¾ to 1 pound per week depending on your diet and workout regime. If there are weeks were your weight remains the same DO NOT be discouraged! Everyone’s body is different and your body is trying to adjust to all the new changes you’re making. Don’t worry, keep calm and just keep working hard towards your finish line.

 

I am a senior at The Florida State University pursuing a Bachelor's in Editing, Writing and Media. I was born in Honduras but moved to Miami when I was 6 years old so I've lived there most of my life. I am the oldest of two and my younger brother also attends Florida State. During my free time I enjoy working out, cooking and traveling. After graduation I will be teaching elementary students at a school in Miami-Dade County.

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