You are a bride to be, and want to fit into your dream wedding dress, and feel a million dollars on your special day. Or you have recently had a baby, its only natural you want to get back to your pre-pregnancy size and feel like your a yummy mummy instead of a frumpy house wife. I get this, I had my son a year before we were getting married, I gained 25kg in pregnancy and I had already purchased my dream wedding dress months before I even got pregnant. I had a lot of pressure not only to lose my baby weight, but also fit into my wedding dress that I loved so much. This isn't just for brides and new mums, these tips are for anyone who wants to lose a bit of weight.
First off, before I start talking about weight loss I just want to say I don't believe anyone needs to lose weight, unless its for health and medical reasons. I believe everyone is beautiful, and any body shape can look beautiful in front of a camera. I was recently attending one of my regular workshops (yep I am a learn-aholic) and I was told that the camera doesn't add 10lbs, the photographer does. This is the best advice I have ever heard because a few little tweaks can make a HUGE difference to how you look in a photograph. This is why you hire a professional. I could go on about that, but thats for another post, what you want is to know a quick easy way to lose weight right?
I do know a lot about weight loss, I won't lie I don't have any sort of degree or formal qualifications in Human & Health Science, but I became obsessed with my weight as a teenager. I have done all sorts of things I am not necessarily proud of, fad diets, severely restricting my food intake, exercised to the point of exhaustion, its not good, its not healthy and I knew I was doing damage. So I spent years studying the best ways in order to lose weight so I could be healthy, not starve myself and lose weight efficiently. Unfortunately, there are NO quick and easy way to lose weight and still be healthy, sorry but it takes work. However, there is good news, it is simple.
Calories in vs. calories out. It is that simple!
The first step you need to take is to figure out how many calories you burn on average each day. There are a lot of great tools out there in order to help, I personally use www.caloriecount.com it is a great tool, full of a lot of good information. You plug in your current weight, height, activity level etc and it will help you work out your daily calorie burn. But there are a lot of other similar programs out there and most even have mobile apps. Easy :) You don't even HAVE to exercise, you can lose weight on diet alone, but I don't recommend this. If you want support in your weight loss there are some companies who use this same model for their weight loss programmes and are great to join, but they do cost money. The most well known ones are Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.
Right types of exercise - too often I see women saying "I will just smash out the cardio every day and get skinny, I don't want to bulk up so I don't even want to hear the word weights", does this sound familiar? I used to say that too, until I lost a lot of weight on cardio and eating better. Ever heard of skinny fat? I got skinny fat, I was skinny, but I still had far too many rolls and lumps in places I didn't like. I then decided to add weights, not weight machines like at the gym, body weight exercises, and hand weights. You can even do those at home, no gym membership required, they are amazing for fat loss, its almost impossible for you to bulk up unless you are eating over your calorie burn. You heard me right, unless you are over-eating you will NOT bulk up; it is almost physically impossible for your body to do this unless you are adding in a few sneaky treats here and there. What a lot of women perceive to be weight gain is often just fluid retention, and it goes away within a month I promise you. At the same weight, I ended up a whole dress size smaller, just by adding weights 3 days per week, I'm not even joking its that easy. This is because muscle takes up less space than fat does, if you take 1kg of fat and 1kg of muscle, the muscle is about 4/5 the size of the fat. So while you may not lose weight initially, you will lose cm's once any water retention is gone. Another bonus of building up muscle is that muscle burns more calories than fat does and helps speed up your metabolism. Its a win-win situation. Cross-fit classes are also a perfect way to incorporate cardio and weights.
A little something to be wary of, you can under-eat and starve yourself unintentionally, I have also done this. I wanted to lose weight faster so I stuck to eating 1500 calories a day and exercised like a mad-woman, this is a big no-no. I was probably burning around 3500 calories a day and only eating 1500, that gave me a 2000 calorie deficit, this is way too much. Thanks to our ancestors in the caveman age where food was often few and far between our bodies became smart, when we ate less our bodies would hold onto our weight and slow down our metabolism in order to keep us alive until our next feast. Unfortunately for us, this still happens, too many people just assume they need to eat less and/or exercise more, this can lead to a seriously dangerous cycle and cause irreversible damage to your body. Usually you need to eat more, at first you may notice some weight gain as you bring your bodys metabolism back up to speed but usually within a month you will start dropping weight. A safe deficit to aim for is around 500 calories per day, if you are aiming to get into your wedding dress, or any other special outfit before a certain date you can safely have a deficit up to 1000 calories a day, however, the safest way, and best chance for keeping the weight off long term is to keep it around 500.
I thank you if you have got through this long post, there is so much more I want to write about but I will leave that for future posts. I want to help people and ensure you learn through my mistakes so you don't have to make the same ones, and also share my knowledge so you don't go through years of yo-yoing like I have.
A final note - did I lose my weight to fit into my wedding dress? YES! I did, through hard work, and everything I mentioned above I lost around 35kg in a year. I have added a picture below of my final weeks of pregnancy and after comparison on my wedding day. Of course part of my weight loss was my son, but I can proudly say the rest was me. Wedding photo courtesy of SNAP! Wedding Photography.
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