Weight loss requires more than just diet and exercise. Learn how to maximize weight loss results with these tips for total mind and body health!
Does this sound familiar? You bust your butt in the gym and you feel like you’re eating all the right foods, yet you still are having trouble losing weight.
So what’s going on?!
The fact is, weight loss is extremely complex and very individual. But with a little help, you CAN improve your weight loss results!
The two big lifestyle changes that people think about when setting out to lose weight are diet and exercise. And for good reason! These are the big players in weight loss.
However, there is so much more to weight loss that often goes overlooked.
Let’s take a look at some of the other factors that play an important role in weight loss and learn how to maximize weight loss results.
Adequate sleep is essential to reach your weight loss goals.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can alter hormone levels that impact hunger and metabolism. This, in turn, can have a negative effect on your weight loss goals.
Decreased sleep may increase your hunger cues throughout the day, which may lead to increased caloric intake.
Plus, high cortisol levels will increase weight gain. Another study showed that insufficient sleep can compromise fat loss even if you are following a good nutrition and fitness plan.
So despite the fact that you are doing everything right with your workouts and dietary plan, you can completely sabotage this with poor sleep habits.
And just think how much better you feel at the gym after a good night's sleep.
By getting adequate rest at night, you can give your best effort in your workouts, which in turn will allow you to burn more calories and shed more weight during the day.
Tips for Increasing Quality of Sleep
It can be tough to get enough shut-eye when you lead a busy life.
You may be staying up late to finish work leftover from earlier in the day, or to get your kids ready for school the next day.
Getting eight hours of sleep a night may seem like a dream — no pun intended!
But it is important to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to continue to maintain a high quality of health and fitness.
Adequate sleep needs to be prioritized just as much as any other aspect of your life.
A few tips to get adequate sleep include:
- Have a set bedtime that will allow you to get 7-8 hours of sleep and try to stick to it.
- Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Avoid watching TV or using your computer or phone once you are in bed. This will allow you to focus on sleep only!
- Shut off electronics 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Again, this allows your brain to start winding down in preparation for sleep.
- Avoid caffeine during the evening hours, especially after 6 pm.
Staying well-hydrated is also crucial for ongoing weight loss.
Studies have shown, that when coupled with good nutrition, drinking enough water can increase weight loss in older adults.
In addition, drinking more water throughout the day may also decrease hunger cues and help you cut back on calorie intake.
Adequate hydration is necessary to get the most out of your workouts as well, which in turn will stimulate weight loss.
If you are dehydrated, you can develop muscle cramps, dizziness, or just feel fatigued overall, leading to poor quality workouts.
The amount of water that you should be drinking each day will vary based on your level of activity. The higher your level of activity, the more water you will need throughout the day!
The easiest way to monitor your hydration status is by the color of your urine — it should be pale or almost clear colored.
Tips for Staying Hydrated Throughout the Day
It can be tough to stay hydrated, especially between work, errands, and family commitments.
But there are some simple tips that can help you get in enough water throughout the day.
- Bring your own reusable water bottle with you when you are on the go. That way you can refill it throughout the day.
- Make sure you drink water prior to, during, and following a workout.
- If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a slice of lemon or lime for flavor.
- Drink water with your meals instead of soft drinks or high sugar fruit juices. Not only will this keep you hydrated, but will also help you eat less during your meals and decrease your calorie intake.
- Load up on high-quality fruits and veggies. These have high water content as well, which also adds to your daily fluid intake.
A healthy lifestyle isn't just physical well-being, it's also emotional and mental health.
Managing stress is essential for a well-rounded life, and is necessary for weight loss.
Stress can be detrimental to weight loss for a number of reasons.
Stress can lead to fatigue and disinterest in exercise. If you feel so overwhelmed with your day to day living, this can lead you to skip workouts, or just feel too tired to make it to the gym.
When faced with high stress levels, hormone fluctuations in the body also occur.
This includes elevated levels of cortisol. This stress hormone can lead to increased appetite and weight gain as well.
People have different coping mechanisms for stress, and this may include stress eating.
High calorie “comfort foods” can sabotage your weight loss goals if you turn to these during high stress periods in your life.
One small study found that subjects that were entered into a stress management program had greater weight loss than those that did not undergo this intervention.
This shows that if you are feeling an increased level of stress in your life, this is something that should not be ignored.
Tips For Decreasing Stress
Stress is a complex issue and one that we all face on a day to day basis.
Meditation, yoga, or just sitting in a quiet room may be able to help you deal with stress.
However, if you feel that you are constantly overwhelmed you should never hesitate to talk with your doctor about your levels of stress.
This should never be overlooked as part of your overall health!
Now, moving on to diet.
This can be the hardest part for many women, but all the exercise in the world will be for nothing if you don’t pair it with healthy eating.
A year-long study in overweight, older females found that lifestyle changes involving diet, exercise, or both improved body weight and fat loss.
But the greatest change came from the combined intervention of diet and exercise.
Many women will try to lose weight by severely restricting their calories, or even eliminating whole food groups (like carbs).
This is likely to do more harm than good if you are trying to lose weight.
If you cut calories too quickly, your body can move into a “starvation” mode, where it attempts to hold onto weight for survival. Plus, you are more likely to binge eat later on if you deprive yourself of needed food and calories.
The key to healthy eating is to a balance of fresh, whole foods in your day to day meal plan.
Lean, high-quality proteins like chicken, fish, and lean beef are important to help fuel your workouts and to build lean muscle mass.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should be included in a well-balanced diet as well.
Processed foods and foods high in sugars and simple starches need to be limited in order to lose and maintain weight.
These types of foods will spike your insulin levels and lead to increased weight gain, especially around your midsection.
In order to lose weight, you also need to limit foods high in saturated and trans fats.
Now, this does not mean eliminating food groups or banning certain foods from your life!
It means making smart choices on a daily basis to maximize weight loss.
Everyone has different caloric intake needs depending on their activity level, current body composition, and weight loss goals.
It is important to structure your diet based on these needs and to always discuss this with your physician and trained nutritionist to lose weight in a safe and effective manner.
Daily Physical Activity
Being active outside of formal workouts is important to reaching your full weight loss potential.
Having killer cardio and strength training sessions is great, however, if you are sedentary for the rest of your waking hours this can slow your weight loss.
Try to include some form of physical activity into your everyday activities.
This does not mean you have to go to the gym or have a structured workout, it just means doing something that gets you moving.
If you have a desk job, try getting up every hour or so and walk around the office.
Little changes, like taking the stairs or parking farther away from the entrance will force you to increase your physical activity.
Take a brisk walk after dinner, or maybe do some gardening or cleaning around the house.
If you are watching TV at night, use the commercial breaks to do push-ups or core work.
These are all small changes that can add up to big changes that can maximize your weight loss.
Of course, having structured workouts is also necessary to maximize weight loss.
It is important to try to have at least three days a week that are dedicated to strength training and cardio work.
Structured cardio sessions will burn calories during the workouts themselves, and you will continue to burn calories throughout the day.
Lower intensity cardio sessions should generally last around 30-45 minutes. If you are short on time, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
Strength training is also essential to maximize weight loss. These types of workouts will increase lean body mass, which in turn will raise your basal metabolic rate.
This bump in metabolism will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
How to Maximize Weight Loss
If you feel like you are stuck in a weight loss rut, then now is the time to take a step back and look at your approach to fitness.
The keys to weight loss are complex, and there is more to it than just diet and exercise.
Adequate sleep and recovery, proper stress management, good hydration, proper diet, and high levels of physical activity are all part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Together, all of these components will allow you to maximize not only weight loss, but your overall health and sense of well being.
The Fit Mother Project offers some great resources to help you maximize your weight loss.
The best place to start is with the free Fit Mom 3-Day Weight Loss Jumpstart. Here you will learn some excellent introductory tips to start on a weight loss and fitness routine.
After that, you can move over to FM30X. This 30-day, all-inclusive fitness program will give you the tools for fitness for life.
This includes specific workout routines and healthy eating to fully maximize your weight loss.
Plus, you will have the support of trained professionals and fellow Fit Moms to push you to reach your full fitness potential!
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to maximize weight loss.