Sometimes weight loss can seem to be a daunting task, with all the mixed messages out there and the contradicting thought points and the emerging plethora of new diets around. There is however a simple yet extremely effective routine that I personally use to keep in shape and for people who are starting out to drop some pounds, look good and regain their vitality. Now these steps aren’t new or are they incredibly complex. They are 6 daily rituals which at their essence are the most basic knowledge that literally everyone can do and perform everyday to some degree.
I’d like to tell you that there is a magic weight loss pill or some cutting edge diet that dissolves fat and changes your entire physique in 3 days – but I would be lying to you. There is no quick fix, no fancy pill or a new fancy weight loss diet. It’s a way of life, a few lifestyle changes that over the long-term will get fantastic results much better than getting on the new diet bandwagon and falling off it to regain not only the weight you have lost, and then some.
1. Goal Setting and Visualization
Goal setting is so critical to useful endeavour. Without a goal it’s like steering a ship without a rudder. This is a critical first step whereby everyone should have written down a goal to achieve their desired weight loss. Here’s a simple way to set a goal in 5 minutes. Make the goal S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. There are hundreds of variations to SMART goals however they are all essentially the same.
If you are looking to lose weight here’s what a goal may look like:
I want to lose 10 pounds by Dec 31st 2014 at 5pm.
See how I have even inserted the time to the exact hour? This is so that you give your subconscious mind a time to work towards (more below).
Below this you would want to write out the steps you are going to take to achieve this goal. This could be:
- Go for a 30 minute walk every morning
- Eat vegetables with each meal (3 times a day)
- Reduce the amount of processed food I eat by half
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Do yoga 2 times a week
- Lift weight 3 times a week
As you can see I have made each of the steps that accompany the goal with exact numbers this makes it far more specific and measurable, so that it allows you to track and measure your results.
If you are starting out PLEASE don’t try everything all at once. For example if you want to lose weight, start with one form of exercise first and set out to do this 3-4 times a week for half an hour. Try this for 2 weeks and when you feel comfortable, take another step forward and incorporate perhaps eating more greens into your list. Don’t try to take on everything at once, try one or two things at a time and test the waters until you are almost certain you can incorporate another step into your plan.
This is critical that you write down your goal before anything else you attempt, it will keep you motivated throughout the entire process. By setting a realistic goal, you are bound to hit it – no matter what!
Now this may seem like a new idea or a bit woo woo, however there have been studies conducted on visualization and these studies have shown that when people hold their goals and aspirations in their mind’s eye for an extended period of time they start to ingrain the image into their subconscious. The subconscious mind has a difficult time in differentiating what’s real and not real and often accepts these images to be real and starts the process of changing thought processes to make your goals happen.
Here’s what to do:
Find an image of what you would love to look like or an image of what you used to look like, and hold it in front of you. Stare at this image for 30 seconds and then begin to alter your focus as if you were looking straight through the image. Do this every day so that this image sinks into your sub-conscious mind. Before you know it your sub-conscious mind will start to work on your goals and desires and you (without much notice) will start making the changes you need to get yourself closer to your goal!
Now this is so basic! Cardiovascular exercise is so important, it burns calories and most of all keeps your heart healthy. There is a huge array of different cardiovascular exercises out there including High Intensity Interval Training, however these types of exercises may not appeal to you and you are looking for something manageable without the risk of injury then walking is for you. Try walking in the morning just as soon as the sun is up – this way you are getting much needed vitamin D and also burning calories.
Here’s a fantastic weight loss tool. Yoga may not seem that it burns calories, but it really does. Studies have shown that yoga with its many postures and positions engages a large number of muscles simultaneously. By contracting and holding muscles for short periods of time generates much of the same calorie burning mechanisms as cardiovascular exercises by increasing your bodies metabolic rate. Yoga is great for another reason: flexibility. Flexibility is often overlooked when it comes to overall wellness. Being flexible allows you to guard yourself from injury, lessening the effects of previous injuries while allowing greater flexibility throughout the body.
If you are time bound try starting with a 5-10 minute Yoga routine, do as much as you can with the limited time you have. You can easily access hundreds of different Yoga videos on YouTube. Check out Tara Stiles. Tara has a fantastic range of 10 minute easy to learn Yoga routines.
4. Detoxification and Hydration
Detoxification has become popular as of recent years. Detoxification is the process of expelling the build up of toxins from the body that has been accumulated through what you eat, drink and breathe. These toxins are often detrimental to vital organs and have a huge role to play in inflammation. Inflammation from eating say processed foods are caused by a whole host of bad oils, sugars, and chemical additives that leave organs such as the liver clogged up and working inefficiently. Inflammation in the gut leads to many side effects one of the most common is weight gain.
Here’s a simple but effective drink to increase metabolism and flush out toxins – drink more water! Chances are that you aren’t getting enough water in your day. The recommended daily intake of H2o is roughly 6 to 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Yes! 6-8. Water is so vital for our bodies and we just aren’t getting enough of the good stuff. The easiest way I found to keep me hydrated is to have a glass bottle or a mason jar filled with water sitting next to me no matter what! When I am at work I have a bottle sitting on my desk the same while I am at home. Fill up a mason jar and leave it on your bed side table before going to bed so if you do wake up thirsty you have quick and easy hydration. First thing in the morning you may want to consider drinking a litre of filtered water with some fresh lemon juice, this helps flush out nasty toxins that have built up in your body over night.
Another fantastic detoxification option is to drink a green juice or green smoothie in the morning. Juicing or blending allows you to get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals into your body first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Juices and smoothies contain a huge about of nutrients which help assist in healing your gut, flushing toxins out of your liver, repairing damaged cells and giving you sustained energy throughout the day without having the peaks and crashes like coffee!
5. Remove refined and processed foods
These include any form of so called “food” that comes in a can, box, preserved or in a plastic bag. You know which food you are eating is absolute garbage, get rid of them! They are doing absolutely no good for you. These foods are making people fat, sick and nearly dead for the past 50 years and are continuing to do so at an even more rapid speed. This category also consists of refined oils such as canola, cotton seed and vegetable oils. Other foods would include any sort of refined white sugar, soft drinks, white breads, potato chips, deep fried foods of any kind, takeaway food from all of the major fast food “restaurants”, microwaveable foods and all forms pastry. Basically anything that you know has added chemicals or is made in a factory somewhere.
This all may seem like a monumental task, and you would be right. However, please don’t expect to start with every single tip on this list at the same time. Focus on one thing at a time and eventually add steps to move even closer to your goals.
I hope this information helps you in some way shape or form! If you would like more great insights, tips and guides please visit eatlivelife.com.
To your health and wellness!
Merwin is the founder of Eat Live Life – a site where he draws on his experience in overcoming adversities with his own health. Eat Live Life aims to create a healthier and happier world. Merwin is a dedicated nutrition researcher, wellness advocate, writer, student, meditation practitioner and wannabe Yogi.
Merwin runs the Eat Live Life site and I was fortunate enough to meet him and exchange posts a few weeks ago. Check out the post I did on his site HERE.
Peace, Love and Lunges,