Eating greens can help cut calories and promote weight loss.
Entering the second month of the New Year, you may find yourself beginning to sway from your resolution to get fit in 2013 — and the demands of a new semester could be the reason why.
These five tips are designed to keep you on track and help you achieve results by May (without adding additional stress to your busy life).
• Get some sleep
There are three hormones connected with weight loss and sleep. Ghrelin tells the body to eat, leptin lets the body know it has had enough and cortisol aids in metabolism. If you don’t get at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, the body releases more ghrelin, less leptin and more cortisol which increases the appetite.
“If you’re sleep deprived your metabolism will not function properly,” said Team Beachbody coach Kimberly Price. “Not to mention, you’re more likely to reach for less healthy options for an energy boost.”
• Eat breakfast (and every 2-3 hours afterward)
Morning can be one of the most stressful times of day for a college student, but don’t let rushing off to class deter you from eating a good breakfast.
Health and nutrition coach Charles Moss specializes in teaching people how to incorporate fitness and proper nourishment into their busy lifestyles.
“It’s important to fuel your body properly after not nourishing it during sleep,” Moss said. “Having a breakfast full of sugar with little to no nutritional value may give you a quick rush of energy, but you will soon crash due to not properly feeding your body what it needs.”
Eating every two to three hours ensures that your metabolism keeps burning calories. Just like oil to an engine every few thousand miles, consuming whole foods every few hours is essential to keep your metabolism in good running condition.
• Clean it up in the kitchen
While exercise plays a significant role in losing weight, the key factor is cleaning up those bad eating habits.
“It’s 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise,” Moss said. “Give your body good nutrition by eating as clean as possible to ensure that your cravings are minimal and that you’re being effective towards hitting health goals.”
Being overweight is a result of an over-consumption of calories. A healthy calorie cut will not only promote weight loss, but will also make you conscious of what types of foods you’re eating. Practices such as trading sweets for fruits and salt cravings for raw nuts will help you eat healthier and ultimately see the results that you desire.
Another secret: stop drinking your calories. Water really is your best friend and is arguably the easiest step when working toward a complete, healthy diet.
• Try a meal replacement shake
As a student, you’re constantly on the go. Taking time out to prepare a meal may not always be a possibility. This is when a meal replacement shake can come in handy.
Take it from Jeanne Rankin, assistant strength and conditioning coach at University of Missouri – Kansas City.
“Replacement shakes are not meant to replace every meal,” Rankin warned. “Instead of a big unhealthy snack in the middle of the day, try drinking a replacement shake or a fruit smoothie to hold you over.”
Choose a good one by scoping out how many calories, sugars, carbohydrates and proteins the drink contains. After you pick one that fits your diet (and your budget) a replacement shake or fruit smoothie can be a great go-to when you’re on the run instead of stopping at the nearest drive-thru or vending machine.
• Don’t be afraid of weights
Some people, especially women, are afraid of weight lifting while trying to lose weight in fear of bulking up, but the truth of the matter is that studies have proven lifters to burn more fat than their cardio-only counterparts.
Rankin said that muscle burns more calories because muscle requires more calories.
“You must challenge your muscles in order to build muscle. Don’t just pick up a light weight and do lots of reps. No matter how many reps you do, the last few should be challenging or it’s just not worth doing at all,” Rankin said.
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