Many people find it a real challenge when they try to lose 20 pounds. Muscle is hard to gain and easy to lose—unlike fat, which is easy to gain and hard to lose. Add extreme diets, out-there exercise plans and contradictory “expert” advice to the mix, and it’s no wonder people get confused.
Ultimately, losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated. Add these seven simple changes to your daily routine, and you’ll lose 20 pounds easily. Best of all? You won’t just look better. Thanks to your improved energy and focus, you’ll feel better, too.
1. Let’s Get Physical, Physical!
Your alarm clock screeches at the crack of dawn; you wake up, make the 45-minute commute to your job, ride the elevator to your office, and plant yourself in a cubicle for the next eight or so hours. After a long day, you make another long drive through rush-hour traffic and feel exhausted when you get home, even though you barely moved your body at all.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Most people spend seven or more hours per day sitting down. But humans aren’t designed to be sedentary. It’s important to work movement throughout your day.
Start small. Begin the morning by walking the dog (Fido will appreciate this, too) or just taking a stroll around the neighborhood. In an earlier blog post, we discussed 6 Great Places to Walk Your Dog in Mandeville! Bike to work or park far away from your office and take the stairs. Invest in a standing desk. These little changes add up and help you feel healthier and more energetic. Even just 30 minutes a day of exercise such as walking can improve your mood, spur weight loss and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
2. You Are What You Eat
Brace yourself: exercise alone isn’t enough to help you lose weight. Bodybuilders say that abs are made in the kitchen—meaning that what they eat is as important as what they lift when it comes to maintaining chiseled physiques. Whether you’re after a six-pack or just a presentable dadbod, diet is the No. 1 influencer of weight.
Again, baby steps are key here. Don’t drink soda (it’s full of empty calories)—sip water, seltzer, unsweetened tea or coffee instead. Swap out your favorite sweet or salty snacks for healthier options. Ditch the chips and go for protein-rich snacks like mixed nuts, trail mix, edamame, hummus with vegetable or roasted chickpeas. Protein keeps you full longer, and gives you a sense of satiety. Instead of ice cream or cookies, nosh on Greek yogurt with granola, smoothies or a protein shake.
Finally, don’t succumb to the late-night munchies. Time your meals for optimal weight loss. Eat dinner before 7 p.m. and you’ll see the difference.
3. Get Your ZZZs
Beauty sleep isn’t just a myth, so you have free reign to indulge in guilt-free naps. If you get eight hours of sleep each night, not only will you have more energy in the morning—you’ll also have burn more calories. Click here to see how many hours you should be getting.
On the flip slide, burning the midnight oil may lead to overeating and muscle loss. Not only will you feel tired, irritable and brain-dead, you might also lose muscle mass and suffer from an increased appetite. Studies show ghrelin levels (a hormone that regulates appetite) surged in people who got inadequate rest.
So when you’re sleep-deprived, it’s hard to fight the temptation to raid the candy machine for a quick energy fix—and your own body might undermine your will power. Don’t let tonight’s Netflix binge turn into tomorrow’s junk food binge. Do yourself a favor and put down the laptop.
4. Get Pumped Up
You’ve probably heard that cardio plus diet equals weight loss. It’s true that cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn fat, but it does next to nothing for your muscles. Studies show you can quickly lose weight with weight training. It shreds fat and sends your metabolism soaring (so you burn more calories throughout the day). The bottom line: if you want a toned look (and who doesn’t?), weight lifting is for you.
5. Stay Hydrated
Nothing’s less exciting than drinking water, but H2O helps optimize your body’s functions and even makes you feel full. (Try drinking a glass of water before meals.) Get those recommended 64 ounces a day for help with glowing, clear skin, less muscle fatigue, and of course, a better chance to lose 20 pounds. To make plain water more tantalizing, add lime and lemon for zesty citrus flavor and vitamin C. Or motivate yourself by sipping from a water bottle with a line drawn signifying how much you should drink each hour to hit your daily goal
6. Watch Yourself (Lose 20 Pounds)
Your fitness levels, that is. If you want to know how many calories you’re actually burning, or how active you actually are in your daily life, get a fitness tracker. You may be surprised to find out an intense, sweat-inducing workout burns less than 400 calories.
Plus, you’ll see how the small amounts of movement really add up over the day. And once you accumulate a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss, you’ll feel even more motivated to skip that birthday cake your co-worker brought in.
7. Enlist the Pros When You’re Struggling
Injuries and chronic pain are the worst, especially when it feels like it will like they will never go away. If you have back, shoulder or knee problems, the frustration mounts with each missed workout, It’s hard to imagine ever feeling free and comfortable again—and it’s especially hard to imagine getting back on track with your exercise program to lose 20 pounds.
You don’t have to suffer endlessly. Do what athletes do and get some professional help. Here at Jones Physical Therapy, we’ll create a personalized plan to help you get better faster. Have you had a past experience with Physical Therapy? We’ll include any preferences you have.
Call today to schedule a free discovery visit. There, you can sit down with one of our Physical Therapists and discuss your specific problem. We’ll let you know how Physical Therapy can help you—and you’ll be back to working out like a champ in no time.
This information is intended for entertainment purposes only and not intended as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose or treat or cure any medical condition, disease, injury or illness. If you feel you have a condition that needs medical care you should seek help from a doctor or hospital.