We all want to look good and be at a healthy weight for life, but it’s important to keep your weight loss plan realistic and maintain or build lean muscle as you lose body fat. Here are a few tips:
1. Count your calories
Don’t skip meals. Eat every few hours with three small meals and one or two high protein snacks. To lose up to 1 pound per week, eat 500 calories less per day than you need to maintain your weight. And remember - water is calorie free and keeps you feeling full, longer.
2. Exercise to boost metabolism
Increase the amount of moderate-to-intense physical activity you do daily. Try adding 30 minutes per day. A combination of cardio and weight-bearing exercise burns more calories and can increase your lean muscle mass and your metabolism.
3. Eat protein
If you are trying to build muscle or reduce muscle loss as you lose weight, make sure you include lots of lean, healthy protein in your diet. Rapid weight loss is often a sign of muscle and water loss, not fat loss. When your daily calories are too low, your body will burn other sources of energy, including muscle. Eating protein provides nutrients your body needs to help prevent muscle loss.
4. Try meal replacements
Meal replacement bars, powders or shakes can replace one meal per day. They provide a balanced meal that is great when you are on the go and can be the difference between an impulse visit to a fast food restaurant and sticking to your plan. So keep them handy! Life Brand shakes and bars contain a balanced mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals for 250 calories or less per serving. Two of the most popular are Life Brand Chocolate Flavour On the Go High Protein Meal Replacement Shake with 15g of protein per serving, and the Vanilla Flavoured Complete Meal Replacement Shake. If you prefer bars, then Life Brand Rich Chocolate Brownie Shapers Meal Replacement Bar is a great option.
5. Eat good carbs
Avoid refined or simple carbohydrates such as white pasta, bread, potatoes or sugar. Vegetables, whole grains and beans are complex carbohydrates, which are digested slowly, help you feel full longer and reduce food cravings.
6. Eat healthy fat to lose fat
Your body needs healthy fats. Avoid saturated and trans fats. Instead use monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados and some nuts, such as almonds, pistachios and pecans. You also need polyunsaturated fats, such as the essential fatty acids found in cold-water fish like mackerel and salmon, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. Life Brand has Omega 3 or Flax Oil supplements you can add to your diet, including the popular Life Brand Omega 3-6-9.
7. Have a snack or two
To keep your metabolism running, eat a healthy snack between meals. A half-portion of a meal replacement bar or shake is a great snack option for that late-morning and mid-afternoon energy boost. Life Brand also has 100 Calorie Snack Bars in delicious flavours for easy portion control.
8. Supplement as needed
If you aren’t sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, a balanced multivitamin supplement taken daily can help. Life Brand has more than 40 formulas, including the popular chewable Gummy Multi and Spectrum Gold with Lutein.
Life Brand CLA and Green Tea Extract may also help. When used with a program of reduced intake of dietary calories and increased physical activity, CLA can support a modest reduction in fat mass and an improvement in body composition, and Green Tea helps with weight management.
Check with your Doctor or Pharmacist first before taking any new supplement to make sure that the product is right for you.
9. Measure your progress
Don’t just count the pounds - losing fat and inches is the goal. A safe loss is 1-2 pounds a week; more than that may include muscle loss. Losing muscle slows your metabolism and weakens your body. Regularly (weekly) use a tape measure to check your inches lost. You could use a Life Brand Glass Digital Scale to track pounds lost or the Life Brand Weight, Body Fat and Hydration Digital Scale to help you monitor your weight and body fat.
10. Plan a cheat meal
Surprise your metabolism - change it up! Allow yourself a cheat meal once in a while. Then get back on track with your plan immediately.
Above all, stick to your diet and exercise plan and before you know it, you’ll see that body fat melt away!