Top Eight Easy Ways to Get in Shape
- Track your calories.
- Drink lots of water.
- Don't eat before bed.
- Never ignore your hunger, but always ignore your cravings.
- Watch fitness videos.
- More frequent smaller meals are better than less frequent bigger ones.
- Eat more foods that are nutritious.
There are tons of apps out there that you can download onto your smartphone that help you track your calories, and most of them are free. MyFitnessPal is the most popular and for good reason. There is so much food in the database that you don't even need to know the nutritional information of what you're eating to track it. Let's say you go to Chili's and have a Cheeseburger. On the search bar just type in "chili's cheeseburger" and add it to your diary. Notice that this doesn't say to diet. Usually, just being aware of calories consumption and forcing yourself to track it is enough to keep you from eating too much junk food.
There is no reason to not do this. Water is practically free and everywhere you go. Drinking more water helps your body in numerous ways. Obviously it has a purifying effect and it keeps you hydrated and able to engage in exercise which helps you get in shape, but there is one more thing about water. It burns calories. Yes, you read that correctly. Water has no calories, but when you drink it your body has to expend energy to bring it to your much warmer body temperature, and in the process you burn calories. You don't burn any significant amount of calories like this, but it's still a fun fact that you can use to motivate yourself to always carry water with you. If that isn't enough, it's been proven multiple times that we confuse thirst for hunger regularly and eat when thirsty so if you stay hydrated you can avoid this excess eating.
When you go to sleep, a good amount of the nutrients that haven't been metabolized are basically turned into fat. Needless to say, that's not good. There's an easy way to avoid this though. Just don't eat before bed. Set a time after which you won't allow yourself to eat about 2 hours before going to sleep. Late at night after dinner hunger usually isn't much of an issue anyways. It's usually cravings for junk food that occur late which actually bleeds into the next point.
Hunger and cravings are easy to confuse. You should always eat if you are hungry unless you are about to go to bed. Starving yourself slows down your metabolism which is a recipe for disaster. Cravings, however, should very rarely be listened to. A craving is what occurs when you really want to have one item of food. A good way to distinguish whether what you feel is hunger or a craving is to imagine yourself eating something that you tolerate eating but aren't a particularly big fan of. If that were the only thing you could eat, would you still eat it? If the answer is yes, then you're hungry, but if you want a Twinkie and only a Twinkie then it's time to reconsider whether what you feel is actually hunger.
I was hesitant to put this on this list since, well, running isn't easy. At least not at first, but after you go over the initial hump, it's an easy, incredibly efficient, and time effective way to get in shape. At first, running is miserable business, but in time it gets easier and by the time that you can run 6 miles without much effort, a milestone which it took me about a year to reach, it's an extremely efficient way of staying in shape. The average 150 pound person burns about 115 calories per mile which is incredible for a sport that anybody can do with what they have in their house. Start off taking walking breaks while running. For every 2 minutes that you run, walk 1 minute and work up from there. As long as you finish the distance, you burn about the same amount of calories regardless of pace. There are numerous "couch to 5k" programs meant for people who have no experience running which can get them running 3 miles straight in just a couple months.
Anybody who has been flipping through the channels between the house of 1am and 6am has run into the infomercials of these fitness videos. While many of them are overpriced and don't work well, do some research and find a series with good reviews that is tailored to your level. These videos were created for people who want to get in shape without much time or much effort. Fast, dramatic results require an equally dramatic effort, unless you need to fit into a suit or dress 2 sizes too small in a week for a wedding, there's no need to kill yourself in front of your tv.
This myth has been circulating for quite a while, and some recent studies have found that it's no longer much of a myth. We've survived off of three square meals for thousands of years. So what are the odds that we found a more efficient way of eating now? Well, that's like saying that we've been traveled predominantly like walking for thousands of years so what are the odds that cars, trains, and planes are more efficient? The only difference is that one of these shifts occurred at the macroscopic level where we can see it while the other occurred at a much smaller level. Eating 5 to 6 smaller meals seems to be better than eating 3 larger ones. Having less downtime between meals and less food entering the digestive system at once aids in both, the digestion of the food itself as well as keeping a high metabolism which means that you burn more calories for doing nothing. Sounds like a good deal.
Did you notice the lack of an "and less junk food" in there? That's because you don't really even have to think about that. If you more nutritious foods and follow the rest of what's on this list, you will naturally have less junk food. Healthy foods take away the hunger that would otherwise be spent eating junk food, and they do that at a fraction of the calories and an improper fraction of the vitamins and minerals. This is a prime example of a situation where doing one thing that's easy to do helps much more difficult to do things like avoiding junk food fall into place naturally. It might not taste as great at first, but most foods are an acquired taste. Spend enough time eating it and you will start to tolerate it, then like it, then love it. And once you love healthy foods, you don't have to worry about nutrition another day in your life.
List by: Nicholas Munarriz
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Photo Courtesy:Gila Brand