It’s a brand new year and you’re determined to get that figure you’ve been dying to have for years, once and for all. For some reason, you get this idea that you’re going to stop eating your ultimate favourite food because it’s a real calorie bomb. It does beg the question, though: why? Why should you give up on your favourite food completely? Unless you’ve developed a potentially life-threatening allergy, why do it when you can still lose weight without taking your favourite food off the table? Here’s how you can do this.
Assign Cheat Days To Your Weekly Meal Plans
Not only do cheat days allow you to indulge in your favourite calorie bombs, but they’re also perfect for encouraging weight loss. It sounds unbelievable but there’s a logical reason behind this. When you’re on a diet, your body will eventually learn to pick up on the fact that there’s a regular caloric deficit in the amount you eat versus the amount you burn. To make up for this, your body will attempt to adjust itself such that there’s an evener balance, resulting in a drop in metabolism. This is why there’s usually a bit of a plateau after your initial drop in weight.
Here’s where your favourite food comes in. Adding cheat days to your weekly meals is precisely the spark that will reignite your body’s metabolism. By allowing yourself to gorge on whatever your heart wants for one day, you will fool your body into believing that there’s an increase in caloric intake and it needs to keep burning fat.
If the idea still makes you feel horrible, here are a few compromises you may wish to make:
- Fast in the mornings of your cheat days
- Add probiotics beforehand to help with digestion
- Cook your own version of your cheat meals using healthier ingredients
Do seek your doctor’s advice before considering fasting as a compromise though. Fasting is unlikely to harm most healthy individuals but you can’t be too careful, especially when your own health is concerned. You definitely don’t want to burden yourself with even more health issues.
Substituting With Healthier Ingredients In Recipes
You may still be able to eat a less guilt-ridden version of your favourite foods by substituting certain ingredients with healthier ones. This one does depend a lot on your willingness to learn how to cook (or your ability to secure a good cook in your life) but imagine a future where you can actually eat your favourite food without feeling bad! If you’re afraid of setting the kitchen on fire, or some other disaster along the same lines, convince someone else to help you. This might just be the perfect opportunity for you to spend more time with your loved ones as well.
Here are some ingredient substitutions to kick things off:
- Zoodles (zucchini noodles) to replace your regular pasta
- Lettuce leaves in place of tortilla wraps
- Replace evaporated milk with evaporated skim milk
- Using more egg whites than egg yolk
- Changing white flour to wheat flour
The possibilities are endless. Exercise a little more creativity in your cooking or explore your options on the internet. Of course, you’re still going to need to do some actual exercise as well.
Up The Ante With Your Fitness Game
Everyone needs the right push to keep your momentum rolling in the gym. But has it ever occurred to you that you can use your favourite food as the most effective fitness motivation? The next time you’re struggling to get on your feet, try telling yourself that you’re working out because you want to be free to eat whatever you want. Of course, this doesn’t mean you would be able to revert to your old habits when it comes to portion control. You do still want to make sure that you’re still burning more calories than consuming them.
If you haven’t started working out a fitness routine yet, there’s no time like the present to begin. Start by structuring your fitness schedule around three phases: cardiovascular training, strength training, and most importantly, plenty of rest.
Start With Cardiovascular Training
Cardiovascular training involves any sort of exercise that brings your heart rate up, kicking your body into gear as it burns more calories. If you’re wondering what’s most effective at making you lose weight: the answer is sprinting. Simply add short bursts of sprints in between your usual pace the next time you’re on the treadmill.
Strength training, as the name suggests, involves focusing on building your strength. This means that, yes, muscles are involved. Don’t baulk at the concept just yet, though. Muscles are much denser than fat and tend to weigh more, but they shouldn’t be your enemy. Where cardiovascular training helps you burn fat, strength training works to boost your overall metabolism. In other words, it’s going to help you keep you from regaining all the fat you’ve lost through cardiovascular exercise. Maintaining muscle requires more energy than fat, thus forcing your body to work harder and more consistently at burning calories. You don’t even have to lift weights right off the bat — bodyweight exercises are more than enough to start with.
Set Aside Some Time For Rest
Finally, cap your plan off with some time set aside for sufficient rest. After putting your body through such intense training, it’s going to need all the time it can get to recover. The best way to do that is by encouraging optimal blood circulation to your sore muscles. Do this by engaging in the lightest of exercises, such as yoga or even a short, calming walk. Good luck!