I may not know everything about women.. but I do know one thing – you like to look good. So I know that when it comes to summer, you aren’t going to want to hit the beach looking anything but stunning – so here’s a guide to help make that happen (asif you needed any help).
A lot of you will reduce your food intakes, try the latest fad diets you read in magazines, and generally find yourself in the gym as much as possible. This is all great stuff – yes, even the magazine articles! Funnily enough a lot of these fad diets do work in the short term, after all the claims they make must come from somewhere, but it’s in the long term that they often fall short – but can you do it better?
If you’ve read a few of my articles before, you may have worked out by now that losing weight is all about taking in less than your body requires on a daily basis. Calories in must be less than calories out. Obviously this allows you room for manipulation. You could do a lot of exercise, and not change your diet at all. Or you could not do any exercise and completely overhaul your diet. It’s a personal choice. Further down, I’ll give you some advice to help you make that choice.
One thing girls have over guys in the race for a summer body, is that most of you will only want one thing – to lose weight. I’m not going to muck around telling you how to gain much muscle while keeping yourself lean – and this makes your guide a lot more simple. I only have to write one program, where I had to write 3 for the guys.. so thank you for being sensible and knowing what you want (for once ;)).
I am not a girl, but this is how I would do things if I wanted to look good in a bikini and leggings…
Throw out any magazine articles that have those amazing weight-loss stories, the ‘lose 15 stone in 3 days’ kind – they are absurd.
Step 2 – work out where you want to be
I’m not suggesting the standard two options of ‘go hard or go home’, there is a plethora of choices in between that may well fit your goals. If you only want to lose 5 pounds – you can do that fairly easily within a month. You can diet casually and still achieve the results you want in time for summer, but with less impact on your lifestyle.
So take some time and try to put a numerical value on the pounds you want to lose. This is the rough number of weeks it should take to reach your goal weight (I’m suggesting fat-loss at a rate of about 1 pound per week).
Step 3 – plan your diet
Planning is boring to some, golden to others, but vital to a diet. A lot of people fail because they don’t make a plan, or don’t stick to it. There’s a saying here, you know it – I’m not going to say it.
If you want to be super keen and calorie count, a pound of fat is 3,500 calories. We can do the maths then, that if we’re losing 1 pound a week we need to lose 3500/7 calories a day from our maintenance level – 500 calories. For those not counting their calories – that’ll be about a quarter of the food you eat on a daily basis.
That’s a healthy rate of weight-loss, and due to it not being drastic as such – it will be mostly fat and not muscle. So you’ll be left with that toned look that I’m a big fan of.
If you want to lose more than a pound a week, obviously reduce your food intake by more – but I don’t recommend aiming for much more than 2 pounds a week.
If you want to lose less.. well, you get the idea.
Step 4 – action
It’s time to face your fears, and put the plan into action.
Recommendations: I haven’t mentioned exercise up to this point, but this seems like a good time. I believe it is more beneficial to start any weight-loss diet without exercise at first.
I propose that you let the reduction in calories do it’s thing for a bit – and then introduce cardio as a game-changer a few weeks in, or if your progress begins to slow down/stall. Your body does it’s best work when it’s forced to adapt, and cardio is like a secret weapon that you can bring out to shock the body into burning some fat.
If you start a diet with a deficit and exercise, you won’t have much in the way of things to shock the body out of it’s comfort zone – or get through a weight-loss plateau.
I also recommend weight-training. I know a lot of you will worry that it’ll make you bulky, but it’s quite the opposite – it’s pretty much the only way to get that toned look. If you want abs, or you want a butt people can rest a drink on.. you’ll want to do squats. And heavy ones. But, this is entirely a choice of your own and not necessary for the guide.
Step 5 – monitor your progress
Scales are ok for measuring weight-loss, but they can be tricked by water-retention among things. The mirror is your best friend for monitoring your progress – and who needs an excuse to watch themselves go by?
If things aren’t changing – reduce your food intake, wait a week or two, and do it again. If you are really struggling with the diet – increase the calories a bit.
Step 6 – all done
It’s summer, you look fantastic. Your milkshake is bringing all the boys to the yard, etc, etc.
Some final guidelines
When on a diet, it’s important to keep to it – but also let yourself go once in a while. My article on refeeding is a good example of when cheating your diet is actually beneficial. Satiety, and hunger are closely related and some diets do help with reducing both. High fat diets in particular are not only better for fat-loss, but are also much easier to keep to. You can definitely have a successful diet without counting calories, but it’s a lot easier to plan and gauge results with your maintenance calories calculated and being in a caloric deficit.
I hope you enjoy the guide, and follow it! I may not be a girl, but when it comes to weight-loss I know a thing or two.. and a lot of it is written above.
My guide will be healthier, and work better than most of the fad diets you will read in a magazine, and best of all – you can follow it even after summer without changing a thing.
Oh – and as an after thought – drink lots of water, that shit is good for you.
Photo by Karrie Nodalo