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12 Quick Tips to Lose Weight in 2012
As the glow of New Year’s Eve starts to fade and the reality of another year sets in, now is the perfect time to take stock of your health and lifestyle.
It’s no coincidence that for many people, losing weight is one of the main resolutions when the New Year dawns. After busy pre-Christmas, Christmas and post-Christmas/New Year celebrations, many of us can feel guilty about the amount and types of food consumed over the past month.
While there are hundreds of ways you can lose weight, tone up, and be healthier and happier than ever before, here are my top 12 tips for getting a fabulously fit body at twenty 12:
1. Start every morning with a 20-30 minute walk. Go before breakfast and yes before your first coffee! This gentle workout will wake up all your muscles and set your metabolism in performance mode for the next day – perfect for burning extra calories. You’ll also feel less grumpy on your commute because you’ve gotten some fresh air and your blood is pumping – a great energizer for the rest of the day.
2. Skip heavy, greasy frying or, on the contrary, never leave home with an empty stomach. Aim for a low-calorie, high-protein breakfast like a whole-egg omelet with ham, cheese, and tomato, or a banana on whole-wheat toast with ricotta and sugar-free maple syrup. These two examples of breakfasts under 400 calories are delicious and easy to prepare.
3. When it’s 10am and you’re already starving, avoid vending machines and colleagues’ chocolate collection boxes at all costs! A banana and coffee with skim milk and sweetener will see you through to lunch, and this snack has less than 150 calories.
4. Let’s face it. Not only is it tedious to prepare a salad every morning before you leave for work, but by the time you want to eat it, the spinach leaves will wilt and you’d rather be starving than have to eat your soggy salad. Either take the week’s salad ingredients to work and prepare one each day in the staff kitchen, or consider buying frozen meals that take less than 10 minutes to cook and are always under 400 calories. Paired with a sugar-free soda, this light lunch won’t leave you feeling like you need a nap like a greasy takeout!
5. Thirty thirty. Although it’s not officially a term in the dictionary, any office dweller will know that when the clock ticks towards 5pm and your stomach starts to feel a little empty, it’s a danger zone that can lead to mindless chocolate eating followed by mass guilt. Skip the 4:30 and stock your desk drawer with low-calorie muesli or fruit bars (make sure they’re under 150 calories, otherwise stick to an apple or another piece of fruit).
6. Avoid the advances of the office activator. You know the type. That skinny person in your office who bakes non-stop, offers his delicious jams and cream cakes, but never eats them? They’re called activators and for some reason people who eat their goodies get a kick out of them. The best way to avoid eating them is to politely say “no thanks” and move on. For most people (myself included!) it’s impossible to have “just one” muffin, cookie, or piece of slice. Once you’ve tasted these treats, you’ll start thinking that another two or three (or more!) bites won’t hurt. They will be.
7. Another danger for overeating can be when you are preparing dinner. What might start as a few cookies or a handful of peanuts to calm you down can lead to many more handfuls and a whole lot of regret. It sounds boring, but munching on a raw carrot while you prepare your meal will keep your hunger at bay and give you something to eat to distract you from those calorie-packed goodies in the cupboard! Your dinner should be around 400 calories and never more than 500 calories per serving. Spicy Cajun Chicken Kebabs and Green Salad are perfect examples; sweet potato soup with goat cheese and pine nuts; or creamy garlic pasta with shrimp and vegetables.
8. I’d like to go back to those high-calorie treats in your cupboard. The best way to combat their temptation? Get rid of them! Throw away all your food weaknesses and simply stop buying them. It is much easier to leave them on the supermarket shelf than to ignore them in your kitchen. Another way to avoid junk food while shopping is to consider ordering food online. No lineups either!
9. Spend just 30 minutes each weekend planning meals for the week ahead. Thanks to this simple exercise, I lost more than 6 kilograms in a few months. By planning nutritious and delicious meals in advance, writing a grocery list and a list of the foods I would eat each day, I was always armed with healthy food. I also regularly make double the amount of dinners so I have delicious leftovers the next day.
10. Never prepare. Make a weekly meal reservation to enjoy something delicious and yes, including dessert! It’s what you do 95% of the time that affects your waistline. One meal a week will keep you healthy, satisfied and slim.
11. Educate yourself about how many calories are in different foods. Again, it helped me lose weight. I don’t mean writing down every bite that passes your lips, but having a general understanding of how many calories are in different foods will help you make better choices. And honestly, once you realize that a slice of rich chocolate cake can be 500 or more calories, you start to realize that maybe those calories aren’t worth the five minutes it takes to eat the cake.
12. Exercise 5-6 times a week. Three of these sessions should be “bowel excretors”, ie. running, an aerobics class, cardio and strength training at the gym or cycling, while the other 2-3 should be gentler forms of exercise such as walking, yoga or casual cycling. Once you make exercise a part of your day, much like reading the newspaper or hanging out on Facebook, it really becomes just another necessity.
I wish you good health, happiness, fun and light in 2012 and always.
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