As a personal trainer and weight-loss coach, I am constantly answering health and fitness questions from my clients, on social media and in our Start TODAY Facebook group. In this column, I address some of the most common questions and roadblocks that trip people up on their journey to establish a health and fitness routine.
Summer is here and I’m not feeling my best. How can I lose weight quickly?
Looking for some quick ways to get in shape now that beach season is upon us? One of my busiest times of the year as a weight-loss coach is spring and early summer because people are looking to tone up for the warmer weather. It’s easy to be swayed by fad diets that promise quick weight loss or to spend hours at the gym in the hope of fast results, but there are healthy ways to work toward feeling confident on the beach that don’t involve taking drastic measures.
First, I’d like to clarify that while losing weight is a goal that many of my clients come to me with, quick weight loss is unsustainable and not something I promote. Instead, if you’re looking to feel better quickly with summer approaching, I focus on establishing habits that will help you reduce bloat, increase your energy and mood and begin to see muscle tone.
When people ask me how to lose weight quickly, here are six simple, but effective, tips that I recommend they implement into their daily routine:
Up your water intake
Drinking water is not only key for feeling good and staying hydrated, but it also helps reduce inflammation and cravings (both which can hinder weight loss) and improve our overall health. I suggest setting a goal of drinking half of your bodyweight in ounces daily. So for a 180-pound person, that would mean 90 ounces of water a day. If you are spending a lot of time outdoors in the heat or exercising, you should aim for even more.
- Healthy habit: Slice lemons or orange wedges and keep them in the fridge. Every time you pour another glass of water, squeeze some natural flavor into your cup to make the water more appetizing.
Move more all day long
Many people think cardio means spending an hour sprinting on the treadmill or sweating it out on a bike. If you enjoy doing those things, great! But cardio exercise can be as simple as walking. In fact, walking more throughout the day is the number one thing I focus on with new clients when it comes to starting a fitness routine. Keeping yourself isn’t only vital to weight loss and maintenance, but it has a huge impact on our mood, energy levels and pain management — all things that affect our commitment to other healthy habits!
- Healthy habit: Some of my clients build “transition walks” into their schedules. I encourage them to transition from work hours to relaxation hours with a brisk 15-minute transition walk around the neighborhood. This not only clears their mind and helps reduce stress, but also ensures that no matter what, they get some movement into their day.
Go to bed early
Getting quality sleep and maintaining a regular sleep schedule is vital when it comes to losing weight! Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived have a much harder time losing weight and keeping it off. Getting enough sleep allows your body to get the rest it needs to function at an optimal level, which means more effective workouts and less food cravings.
- Healthy habit: Wind down easier at night with a bedtime routine. Dim the lights, have a cup of tea and read a book — or anything else that helps you de-stress and relax.
Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables
Get your greens in! When it comes to what you’re eating, skip the fad diets and focus on the basics. It’s so important to make sure we are giving our bodies the fuel they need, which means lean proteins, whole grains and lots of produce. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables is one of the simplest, yet most effective, ways to lose weight and keep weight off. Not to mention that these foods are naturally lower in calories and higher in water, making them more filling.
- Healthy habit: Add a small side salad to lunch and dinner to help curb your appetite and easily increase your veggie intake.
Add in strength training
Toning the body is important — even if you’re not at your goal weight. Building muscle mass helps to burn fat and speed up the metabolism. Use your body weight or dumbbells to perform a strength-training routine three times a week for 20 minutes.
- Healthy habit: Keep a set of dumbbells on the kitchen counter so that before (or while!) you cook dinner, you can get in five minutes of strength exercises.
I know this is easier said than done, but when our adrenals are in overdrive and cortisol levels are high, it’s hard for the body to release fat. So if you’re doing “everything right” but not seeing results, stress may be to blame. Daily walks are a great way to release stress. I also recommend committing to a daily meditation practice, a yoga practice, or even simply journaling.
- Healthy habit: Before bed, place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your heart. Take 10 slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose to calm your nervous system.