Your 28 days are up; you look great and want to keep it that way. Juge has an easy plan to maintain your body, yet enjoy greater flexibility with your diet. No.1, he says, is to eat a good, clean breakfast. If you're at home, it's much easier to do—just scramble a few egg whites and have a whole-grain item (whole-wheat bread or a bagel, for instance), and/or some fruit. Eat dinner at home, again a healthy, clean meal consisting of a lean protein source, green vegetable, and whole grains. Then, bring a protein shake or bar with you to work for a midday meal. "You've now got three clean meals taken care of," says Juge. So if you're eating at a restaurant at lunch and you want to have something different, you can have it. Just keep the rest of your meals pretty strict, without added sugars and fats.
If you don’t have an established exercise routine, “walking is a pretty good entry point for people,” says Gagliardi. One small study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that obese women who did a walking program for 50-70 minutes three days per week for 12 weeks significantly slashed their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.
If you're not up for crunching numbers every day, you can take a more generalized approach. “For some people, it’s knowing, ‘Typically I eat a whole sandwich,’” says Gagliardi. “Now, I’m going to eat half a sandwich at lunch and save the other half for my dinner and cut my calories in half." To get started, consider these 25 ways to cut 500 calories a day.
Mason, A. E., Epel, E. S., Aschbacher, K., Lustig, R. H., Acree, M., Kristeller, J., … Daubenmier, J. (2016, May 1). Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite , 100, 86–93. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799744/
Weight loss ultimately comes back to the concept of calories in, calories out: Eat less than you burn and you’ll lose weight. And while it’s possible to lose water weight quickly on a low-carb diet, I certainly wouldn’t advocate for it. The diet itself can trick you into thinking that this eating style is working — when really, you might gain back what you lost as soon as you eat carbs again. That can feel incredibly dispiriting if you want results that last longer than a week.
Keep your exercise regimen interesting. Variety is the key to both promoting a healthier you and keeping you motivated. When you do the same exercise day in and day out, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuring yourself. You are also more likely to become bored, thus making it harder to find the motivation to keep exercising. While at the gym, switch between machines, join a fitness class, and add some resistance training into your schedule.
Just as locations can trigger your desire to eat, thoughts can also set off inappropriate eating. If you eat a chocolate chip cookie every time you see a commercial with cookies in it, you may begin to crave cookies and feel that you MUST have some each time you happen to think about them. Time to break the link between your thoughts and eating. Instead of heading directly to the pantry, distract yourself by doing something else immediately after you have the thought, particularly an activity that keeps your hands or mouth busy, like taking up knitting, calling a friend, or painting your nails.
“Most people who have been lean their whole lives have a much better understanding of proper portion size than people who are overweight,” says Deborah Riebe, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Rhode Island. “If they go out to eat, they’re much more likely to ask for a doggie bag right away or to leave food on their plate rather than cleaning it up.”
Stretch after you warm up with cardio and at the end of your workout. It's important to stretch your muscles after your five to ten minute cardio warm up so you do not injure yourself while doing high intensity exercises. You should also stretch for five to ten minutes at the end of your workout. Stretching will keep you from pulling your muscles or harming your body.
Have a small, protein-heavy breakfast. Kickstart your day with a protein filled breakfast that will give you energy (and keep your blood sugar up) for the rest of the day. Aim for a breakfast that is 400 calories and eat it every morning at around the same time. Go for variety and rotate two to three options. Pair your breakfast with unsweetened tea or a glass of water with lemon.