If you've put on some extra weight, it's important to learn how to slim down the right way. Take stock of your current weight, diet, and exercise habits. With the right diet and fitness plan, you can lose weight the healthy way, and feel good about yourself. Not everyone will be able to be "skinny" due to a variety of body types; some people are stockier or broader than others. However, with healthy weight loss and fitness, you can look your best.
Creating a Weight Loss Plan
1Calculate your body mass index (BMI) before you lose weight. Weight alone isn't an indication of overall health. Your age, height, and history of injury and illness all play a role in determining health. BMI is a basic calculation of your weight in pounds/kilograms, divided by your height in feet/meters squared, which is used to determine whether or not you need to lose weight. Do the calculation yourself, or plug your number into a BMI calculator.
- If your number is higher than 30, that qualifies as obese. Talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan that will allow you to lose weight in a healthy manner.
- If your number is between 25 and 30, you're technically overweight. Start cutting back on your calories and increasing your amount of exercise.
- If your number is 18-25, you're at normal weight. Exercise and healthy diet is still good, but make sure you're eating enough calories to maintain your weight.
- If your number is lower than 18, you're technically underweight. You should consume more calories or exercise less to reach a healthier weight. Even if you want to slim down, being underweight isn’t the healthy way to do it. You can still add weight in a healthy way and remain fit with proper diet and exercise.
2Consult your physician or dietary expert. Before you decide to start a fitness and weight loss routine, it's best to consult a professional for advice on losing weight and exercising in a healthy way.
- A physician or diet expert can help you decide if weight loss is needed, or what kinds of foods will help you to maintain a healthy body.
- Your doctor may tell you that you don't need extreme weight loss, but that you should cut certain foods out of your diet that your body doesn't break down correctly, like dairy or gluten.
3Come up with a concrete weight-loss goal. Once you get some sense of your target weight, it's time to start calculating and plan a weight loss and fitness routine. In general, it's healthy to lose about 1-2 pounds per week. This involves burning about 500 more calories than you consume each day. How thin you get doesn’t just depend on diet and exercise, however. It also depends on your body type, and while you can slim down, depending on your body’s frame, results will vary.
- Losing weight takes time, and you won’t drop 20 pounds right away. The best way is to set smaller weekly goals (1-2 pounds) that you'll be able to meet.
- "Getting skinny" can be a misleading goal. Crash diets, fasts, and any attempt to lose a pound a day or more are dangerous goals for your overall health.
4Start counting calories. Losing weight can be a simple science of output over input. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn. The hard part is not just doing it, but learning to keep track and staying consistent from day to day. Start keeping track of the calories in the food that you eat, and set a realistic weight loss calorie cap for your day.
- Generally, men should consume no less than 1800 calories a day, and women no less than 1200 calories a day.
- Sometimes, nutrition labels can be confusing. Pay attention to the serving sizes. Many people find it effective to start measuring out their food to make sure the amount of food in the bowl matches the numbers on the back. When you have that bowl of cereal, use a measuring scoop to count calories more accurately.
- Nutrition facts on food will tell you the calories per serving and the serving size. In most cases there are multiple servings per package.
5Keep a food and exercise diary. Start logging both your calorie input and output on a daily basis, to make sure you're losing weight the right way. The way to do this is to keep a journal of everything you eat and everything physical you do in a day.
- You can use an online form or app-based calorie tracker to help you manage your exercise and calorie intake.
- Or grab an old-fashioned notebook and write down the information that’s important to you. A good starting place is to include details like time, food, amount/portion, and even your level of hunger.
- You can also track calories you’ve burned with your phone or other smart device, on a treadmill, or by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which will tell you how many calories you need to intake to maintain weight.
- The best way to get lean in a timely and healthy manner is to stay consistent with your diary and fill it out after every meal, or at the end of each day.
6Don't let setbacks derail you. Diets are hard, and lots of them end because you don’t stay consistent and make promises, like vowing to exercise more to make up for that piece of cake. However, abstaining from ever indulging can make a diet regimen hard to follow, as your mood plays a role in weight loss. Many experts say that having a cheat meal is a good way to stay on track and give you a mood-boosting reward for your efforts.
- Plan your cheat meal intelligently by picking something that will still give you the nutrients you need. Ice cream doesn’t really have anything good for you, but a cheeseburger or pasta dish with protein still offers nutrients your body can use.
- Don’t let cheat meals turn into whole cheat days. Your cheat meal should be a replacement to one of your scheduled meals, not an extra one.
Exercising for Weight Loss
1Start stretching every day. Whatever the intensity of your workout routine, it's a good idea to spend some time stretching. Keeping your muscles flexible helps you to feel better and recover faster. Go slowly, stretching different muscle groups, and holding different poses for at least a count of 15.
- Overexerting yourself can hinder your plan to lose weight, and stretching will not only help you burn more calories, but it will prepare your body for other physical activity. An early injury will keep you on the sidelines, and keep you from losing that weight properly.
- Try doing 10-15 minutes of yoga in the morning. Yoga is different than stretching your muscles before lifting or running. Yoga is a series of isometric contractions coupled with breathing exercises that will make you more flexible, help you build lean muscle, and can relieve stress, which can hinder weight loss.
2Exercise for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week. How often and how long you should exercise will always depend on your weight and how much you need to lose, and not everyone will lose weight at the same rate. When you're starting out, try to shoot for at least three sessions of fairly brisk cardio exercise each week, with strength training as needed.
- Some experts suggest that 5 or 6 hours of exercise is needed per week for significant long-term weight loss in obese adults. That means at least an hour a day. You should always talk to your doctor about how much exercise is right for you.
- One way to make sure that you get enough exercise in even when your schedule is busy is to simply walk. Instead of taking the escalator, take the stairs. Park your car an extra block or so away from your work, or instead of driving to lunch, walk there.
- Biking is also another great way to get some exercise in. Try biking to work instead of driving if you can.
3Start doing moderate cardio or aerobic workouts. An easy way to lose weight is with basic cardio workouts, which don't require fancy machines or weights. Cardio just involves moving and sweating. That means jogging, doing an aerobic routine, or doing a guided set of exercises.
- Start slow. If you're not a fan of running, start going on brisk walks around your neighborhood. Go for 30-40 minutes to work up a sweat. After a few weeks, try jogging half the time.
- YouTube can also be a good resource as it’s full of great aerobic routines that you can do from home. Check out routines for beginners, or pick your favorite exercises to try to build your own routine.
4Kick it up a notch with circuit training. Once you're feeling more comfortable with exercise, kick it into high gear by trying a circuit-training routine. These are combinations of strength training and cardio, which involve doing a series of exercises very quickly, with short rests in between. It's an excellent and effective way to lose weight.
- Circuit training usually involves core-strength exercises and a lot of squats. Check out the following articles for detailed descriptions of exercises you can use to build your own circuit:
- Pick ten exercises you like. Start out doing each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by twenty seconds of rest. After you get through the whole circuit of ten, rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit two more times. If you do this three times a week in combination with a healthy diet, you'll start to slim down.
5Do toning exercises. If your goal is to be more slim, then it's important to do exercises that will tone your muscles, like yoga or pilates, not exercises that will bulk your muscles up, such as heavy lifting. That means anytime you lift weights, you need to do more repetitions with less amount of weight.
- Use a weight that will be challenging for 10-15 reps, but not one so heavy that you’ll be tired out after one set.
- Once you start losing weight, it's a good idea to start toning your muscles. But you won't notice results until you start to burn fat, so don't skip to the toning exercises too soon, or you won't really notice any results.
- Make sure that you are stretching your muscles and working on your posture. By standing up straight, picturing your spine as a straight line extending through the crown of your head, you can instantly look longer and leaner.
6Join a gym for access to more resources. There's a lot you can do at home with a single set of hand-weights, but it can get a little boring, and it’s easier to be inconsistent. If you want access to a bigger variety of exercise machines and workout options, joining a gym is an excellent idea.
- It's also very easy to train improperly when you workout by yourself. Trainers will help you to make sure you're using the proper form, to avoid accidental injuries.
- Consider getting a personal trainer. A trainer will help you outline your goals, like slimming down or building lean muscle, and will be able to help you build a program tailored to you.
- Gyms also have aerobics and yoga classes which can help you to stay motivated and keep you on track with your plan.
7Work past your weight loss plateaus. Switch up your workouts regularly and try a variety of different exercises to keep yourself slim. It's very easy to start to plateau, which means that you'll notice results at first, but then stop losing after a few weeks. This is normal, and it's not a bad sign. Keep working out on a regular schedule while switching up routines and, keep count of your calories.
- Come up with a weekly training schedule and stick to it, building in the new exercises as you go. If you do aerobic exercises three days a week, switch up the days you do exercise. Do strength training one day, and take a day to do a different sport, or outdoor activity to reward yourself.
- Remember, it's not about weight, it's about health. Try not to be too obsessed with the scale.
- Targeting a single spot on your body, like your stomach and trying to lose weight there won’t be as effective as a holistic approach. You can strengthen specific spots on your body, but losing fat is a result of burning more calories than you take in.
1Enjoy your food. One way to help you with slimming down is to take the time to enjoy your meals. It’s easy to eat quickly, taking another bite before even swallowing your current one. And instead of buying pre-packaged food or eating out, try getting ingredients and making meals yourself.
- Plan out your weekly meals and then go get the ingredients to make them. Learning to cook for yourself can help you to take pride in what you’re eating.
- Take your time when eating. Slow down and enjoy each bite. Chewing your food isn’t just to keep you from choking, it’s also to help you slow down. It can take your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that you’re full. Slowing down will help you to not overeat.
- Use smaller plates. Smaller plates will make smaller portions look larger and trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more.
2Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbs. Simple carbs are processed by your body more quickly, so they'll be transferred into fat before your body gets a chance to use them for energy. Complex carbs, like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and whole grains, stick around a lot longer and fuel your body.
- Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, and corn syrup to cut down on the simple carbs.
- "Cutting carbs" is a common tactic for people who want to lose weight and is a centerpiece of lots of fad diets. But make sure you're cutting the right carbs. You can't eliminate carbohydrates from your diet.
3Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals. They help to keep you feeling full, and can be a centerpiece for meals and as snacks between meals. Raw fruits and vegetables are essential to any slimming regimen.
- Add sliced apple, or frozen berries to your morning cereal. Or, replace the cereal with yoghurt and granola for added nutritional benefit.
- For lunch, opt for a salad full of leafy greens, chopped carrots, and sliced almonds, with a light dressing.
- For dinner, add some steamed vegetables to your plate for a balanced meal.
- Get rid of the snack foods. Instead of snacking on processed crackers, candy, or other empty calories, have an apple, some carrot sticks, or a handful of almonds.
4Eat plenty of lean protein to build muscle. If you're working out regularly, lean protein is essential. Poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, lentils, and eggs all offer great sources of protein and are low in fat, helping to keep you fueled as well as slim. Make protein an essential part of your diet.
- Many foods that are high in protein are also high in fats. And while it's important to avoid saturated fats found in fried foods, dairy, and red meat, some fats are unavoidable, and even ok for you, like Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
5Avoid "empty" calories. Foods that are high in calories but offer little in the way of vitamins, proteins, or minerals, should be avoided when trying to slim down. Things like soda and energy drinks, candy, and snack foods are diet killers and are large culprits in weight gaining.
- Alcohol is also one of the biggest diet-killers. When you drink, your liver works to process the alcohol instead of fat meaning that you’re gaining calories while not processing fats and carbs. You don't have to stop altogether, but make sure you're keeping track in your calorie-count.
6Drink plenty of water. While you're losing weight, aim for drinking as much as eight glasses, or two liters of water each day. Staying hydrated is essential to recovering after workouts, keeping yourself feeling full between meals, and maintaining body fluid levels.
- Keep a water bottle with you to make it easier to ensure you’re getting enough water. It's easy to forget to drink water sometimes, especially during a busy day, so keeping a water bottle near you can be a good reminder to stay hydrated.
- Refuel after exercising with electrolytes. Electrolytes help your body to recover after physical activity and can prevent your body from getting too worn out. But be weary of sports drinks like Gatorade which also can contain fat building sugars, and end up dehydrating you. You can mix something like Gatorade with water to give you a nice balance.
How long will this process take?User ContributorIt depends on your body type. For some people, it's easy to lose weight, and for others, it can be very difficult. Generally, if you have more weight to lose, it comes off faster. If you stick with your plan for a long time, you'll see results.
How can I get skinny if I do not have a lot of time to workout?User ContributorIt depends on how busy you are. Try sorting out your time, and prioritize your job/school work first. Then use 20 to 30 minutes to exercise. If you really don't have time, then try doing some push-ups, sit-ups, and stretches every morning when you wake up. Also, eat healthier and remember to drink plenty of water.
Can I drink green tea?User ContributorSure. You can drink any kind of tea, which has no calories. Green tea in particular has many health benefits and can boost your metabolism.
Is this good for children?User ContributorWeight should be the last thing on a child's mind, but an overweight child can follow some of the advice in this article, as long as they don't overdo it. All children should eat a normal and healthy diet and avoid unhealthy snacks. Sports is also a great exercise for children.
Can I use lemon water to help burn calories?User ContributorProbably not because lemon juice does not directly burn calories. You can drink lemon juice to improve your food digestion and detoxification, however. It helps prevent bloating and belching.
How old should I be if I'm trying to get skinny?User ContributorYou can be any age, really. Children shouldn't really be worrying about this, because they usually are hopping around from one thing to the next.
What do I do if I workout and don't get skinny?User ContributorIt can be very hard but the important thing is to never give up. Start off slow and don't expect any improvements after one day, it's a lengthy process. Be persistent in your workouts and dieting and just be patient.
- Eat whole grains instead of white grains.
- Drink orange juice.
- Try gymnastics or yoga.
- Eat your food slowly and stop eating when you get full.
- Find a celebrity to inspire you. Look at how good their body is and take care of your body. Don't try to be like them and become obsessed, but having a beautiful role model helps you with your goals.
- If you're extremely overweight, or have other significant health problems, talk to your doctor before attempting to lose weight.
Sources and Citations
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/is-your-weight-loss-goal-realistic
- ↑ http://www.patient.info/health/bmi-calculator
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/is-your-weight-loss-goal-realistic
- ↑ https://www.fitwatch.com/blog/how-to-count-calories-to-lose-weight-the-basic-blueprint
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/can-food-diary-help-you-lose-weight
- ↑ http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bmr_calculator.htm
- ↑ http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-ways-cheat-meals-can-improve-your-body.html
- ↑ http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/diet/how-cheating-on-your-diet-can-help-you-lose-weight
- ↑ http://breakingmuscle.com/yoga/increase-strength-by-integrating-yoga-10-essential-postures-for-strength-athletes
- ↑ http://www.caloriesecrets.net/how-long-should-a-workout-last/
- ↑ http://www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/carbs_versus.html
- ↑ http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/the-top-10-meat-proteins/
- ↑ http://www.activebeat.com/diet-nutrition/11-best-protein-power-foods-for-healthy-living/8/
- ↑ http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Saturated-Fats_UCM_301110_Article.jsp
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/the-truth-about-beer-and-your-belly
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/6-reasons-to-drink-water
- ↑ http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-gatorade-bad-for-you#3