Build Lean Muscle.
As a woman, I know what just popped into your head. A spray-tanned fitness model with bleached-blonde frizzy hair who is absolutely bulging with muscle from head to toe. So much that her veins are popping out and you are questioning what is going on under that skimpy string-bikini. Am I right? I have a TON of respect for women who body build, but please believe me when I tell you that unless you are putting 4-6 hours in a day at the gym and taking a ton of supplements that WILL NOT happen to you.
Muscle is crucial to slowing down the aging process, maintaining your composition, and keeping the weight off. As we age, muscles tend to break down which is a condition called sarcopenia. This happens due to inactivity and because of lower concentrations of certain hormones as we get older starting as early as age 30. Strength training can actually increase the production of hormones and help your body to convert protein into energy in as little as two weeks!! Give me some weights to lift right now please.
Muscle holds your skeletal system in place and when using proper form and technique you achieve proper alignment. You will stand up straighter, have better posture, and keep your body's composition with just 30-minutes of strength training each day.
Need one more reason to build lean muscle? Muscle burns calories more efficiently throughout the day. Pound for pound, a person with a higher percentage muscle-mass will burn more calories than a person with less muscle-mass. Build muscle and you will have better long-term success.
Track Your Food and Water Intake.
If you are like me you just read this, rolled your eyes, and said "Great. One more thing I have to do every day." Luckily, I have found an app for us that will make it EASY and it's not myfitnesspal where you have to enter every specific detail and it takes forever. The app I used is called 21-Day Fix Tracker and it's available in the App Store for $1.99.
Here's why it works, instead of focusing on calories you can focus on nutrition and the 6 color-coded food groups (Vegetable, Fruit, Protein, Carbohydrate, Healthy Fat, Dressing/Seed). Let's face it, you could eat 2000 calories in chips in a day and it would be completely unhealthy. Your body would not get the nutrition it needs to function properly. NOT ALL CALORIES ARE THE SAME. Stop counting them and focus on being well balanced with your food choices.
The FIX App also tracks your water intake and ensures the proper portions for health and weight loss in the long-term. It's easy and you just check off the color that corresponds with the foods you eat. When all the boxes are at "0" you are done eating for the day. Be consistent with this and you will achieve the long-term weight loss you want.
Give Your Body the Proper Nutrition
This can be a tough one. I could go on and on about how nutrient depleted the food is in the U.S. It's sad and frustrating, but that's another blog post. Even if you have differing opinions about factory farms, GMO's, and agricultural subsidies I think we can all agree that food today is not the same as the food our grandparents ate. It may feel like we are hungry all the time because many times our bodies are just not getting enough nutrients. Our brain sends the hunger signal and what do we do? Shove some junk food in our faces. It happens, I get it, and I do it too sometimes.
The big difference for me in the past 3 years has been Shakeology. Full disclosure, I am a Beachbody Coach and I stand to gain from this statement. But I have done the research, I have investigated the ingredients, I have been drinking it consistently, and Shakeology has changed my life. It's the real deal with 70-Superfoods including Acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Ashwaganda, Quinoa, Spinach, Moringa, and Gingko just to name a few. That means it's jam-packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin c (300% of your daily requirement), vitamins, and minerals. And it's REAL FOOD which is how your body is designed to absorb nutrients as opposed to a concentrated pill-type vitamin.
For me, the greatest benefit has been complete relief from seasonal allergies. I have suffered since I was 12 with an allergy to ragweed pollen. It always hit right before school started which was awesome because despite my new back-to-school clothes and perfectly quaffed hair, my eyes and nose were always bright red and swollen on the first day of school. This was the case even when I was completely doped-up on Claritin and could barely stay awake because it made me so drowsy. Right now I would be unable to even type because I would be sneezing and blowing my nose so much if it weren't for Shakeology. My symptoms didn't go away immediately, but waned each year and this allergy season I am proud to say that I feel like a normal person!!
The importance of consistent nutrition when it comes to long-term weight loss and health is obvious. Give your body the nutrients it requires and you will have much better long-term success.
Do A Program (Always)
I wish I could tell you that if you completed the full 90-Days of P90X that you would never have to lift another finger to maintain your health and weight loss. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. It's fine to take breaks in between programs and a great idea to switch programs after completing one so that you don't die from boredom, but if you want to maintain long-term health and weight loss you need to be on a program. Always.
It's only 30 minutes of your day and you will feel better about yourself. So just do it. Beachbody has over 40 programs that are proven and can be done anywhere in any space. I don't feel like it either sometimes, but I know that is worth it. I want to enjoy life and I don't want to be in a nursing home! So I push play every day and do a program from start to finish. Then I rinse and repeat.
Let Yourself Indulge (in moderation)
This is actually really important and often understated. Shaun T said it best, "If you're going to the movies you can order a small popcorn. Share it. And yes you can get butter." Life if meant to be lived and you should not deprive yourself! That being said, there is a big difference between a "treat" and a bad habit. If you are eating buttered popcorn every evening when you watch tv, or going for ice cream each time you accomplish a task then you are missing the point. Indulgences should be planned, portioned, periodic and you should be in control NOT the food or the person tempting you to eat it. Did I just take all the fun out of it? My bad. This article is about long-term weight loss and health though so think about your goals and what you REALLY want. If the indulgence isn't in line with your goals than it's not worth it. That doesn't mean you can't EVER have popcorn, ice cream, or pie (did you know I love pie?). It just means that while you are working hard to get to your goals or if you are having trouble maintaining them, then it's time to put the pie down until a later date.