How can I reduce weight and stay fit?

The first rule before you go on a diet is to plan the diet. All experts agree that weight loss must be done gradually to give the body time to adjust. If you lose too many pounds all at once, you will also lose muscle and water while your bone density will suffer.

Nutritionists advice to target one to two pounds a week because a conservative but gradual decrease in weight is easier to track and manage, health-wise than a trending diet with many side effects.

Here’s a simple plan you can use to fashion your own weight reduction program.

First, understand your metabolism. This refers to the internal processes happening inside your body that breaks down the food you eat for energy. As you age, your metabolism slows down. Ideally to lose weight, you have to burn more calories or eat less.

Second, you need to track your consumption and third, you need to start a fitness program.

This means exercise to prevent sagging. Finally, you need to understand your basic motivations. What makes you eat? What will push you to exercise? What triggers a food or drinking binge? What do you need to lose weight?

Once the plan and motivation are in place, the hard work begins. Reduce food high in saturated fat, refined grains, fresh vegetables and fruits (because they tend to encourage cravings) and sugary drinks, and focus on lean protein, whole foods and observe portion eating. If you are a female, never go below 1200 calories (1800 for men) because it will slow down your metabolism.

Don’t expect instant results. At first, you will lose a few pounds a week – and that’s alright! Once your body gets accustomed to your new diet and exercise regimen, the pounds will fall off faster without compromising your fitness level.

If your muscles are sore after workout, use a foam roller.

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