There is so much diet advice out there it can be very hard to understand what you should actually do to stay healthy. The best thing to understand is that diets do not work. You have to change your lifestyle in a way that you can continue for the rest of your life. This doesn’t mean you can’t adapt your lifestyle over time, but understand that a diet you follow for a couple of months that you can’t see yourself following forever is not going to work.
Below lists the 4 steps to lose fat and to stay fit for life:
1. First start with diet
Cut out the sugar, processed foods, cut back on your refined carbohydrate servings. Instead eat as many vegetables as you can, add a serving or two of fat and protein at each meal, and aim to get at least 5 grams of fiber at each meal. If you are hungry within 3 hours of eating, make your meals larger by adding a serving of fiber, fat, or protein. Think “FFP” at every meal: fiber, fat, and protein. This combination is what is going to keep you full, maintain your muscle mass, and help you burn more calories all day.
2. Move as much as you can
Stand rather than sit, take the stairs rather than escalator, and aim to get at least 10,000 steps per day. All of these small movements add up over time and have a great effect on your total metabolic rate. This is more important than exercising at the gym for an hour a couple days a week. It is way more important to be active every day all day.
3. Add in smart exercise
This means strength training and interval training. Both of these exercise types help to build and maintain muscle mass. Again, the first two steps are more important than structured exercise. Added exercise will help to lose fat faster only when the two above steps are met.
You must absolutely get adequate sleep to be fit. Sleep is when your body builds itself up after exercise, keeps hormones in check that control hunger and fullness, and controls your stress hormones. If you are not sleeping enough, it is going to be very VERY hard to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. How much sleep you need is very individualized. You may need only 6 hours while another individual may need 9 hours. It is very important to learn how much sleep your body needs and is essential for your health.
Diet is king in terms of getting to a healthy weight and maintaining a healthy weight, then comes movement, then exercise. Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body as well and is another key to optimal fitness and overall health.