Lunden Souza: No quick fix for losing weight, getting healthy

January 17, 2014 

Lunden Souza

MIKE BYERLY — Merced Sun-Star Buy Photo

Magic pills, quick fixes, fat torching in a week, bikini body in three days – we have heard them all.

I even have clients I train on a regular basis who still ask me about fad diets and whether I think that they would work for them. Our society is constantly bombarded by all of these false weight-loss claims, but if there were one real quick fix for shedding pounds, don’t you think everyone would do it?

This week I have four tips for fat loss that can and will work for everyone, but not overnight, in a week or even a month.

The first tip is to make sure you are strength training. Making your entire workout about cardio is really not doing anything for fat burning. When you are staying on the same machine at that same intensity for a long duration of time, you are burning calories only while on the machine and wasting muscle that your body needs to burn fat.

When you strength train, your body builds muscle. And what does muscle do? It burns fat. When you leave the gym and go about your day, whether it’s sitting down at work, running errands or working in the yard, the muscles you develop are constantly burning fat. For those of you who have never picked up a set of weights, even light weights, you definitely should start if you want to see results.

Tip number two is to consume more protein. Protein is the building block of muscle and without an adequate amount of protein in your diet, especially at breakfast, you are more likely to make poorer food choices throughout the day. Protein is found in meat like chicken, beef, turkey and bison. Vegetarian protein sources are eggs, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. If you are vegan, you can choose a rice and bean combination for protein.

Tip number three is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. When you do not get seven to nine hours of sleep, it stresses your body. Some people say they are too stressed out to sleep, so they stay up, but that adds to the stress on your body and compounds the problem.

Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which causes the body to store fat – especially around the midsection. If you are having trouble sleeping, do not take this lightly. See your doctor or try a natural remedy, such as melatonin, to increase your sleep time.

The fourth and final tip is to stay hydrated. You need water to improve digestion, increase your metabolism and ensure that all of your cells are hydrated so your body can function properly.

When you deprive yourself of water, your body is going to hold onto it and retain as much as possible until your next drink. The body does the same thing when you skip meals. When you step on the scale, that extra pound or two can be caused by retaining water. If you stay hydrated throughout the day, your body is going to use it instead of store it.

These tips may seem basic and boring, but they work. You should only want a fitness regimen that is healthy and maintainable, day in and day out. If you cannot do it forever, then you probably should not start it.

Give these tips a try. You can do them for the rest of your life and they will help you get the results you want. Don’t get sidetracked by fads. Stick with what’s real, what works and what’s right for your body.

Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach, and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at lifelikelunden@gmail.com.

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