Updated: Sep 11
When your goal is weight loss it can be easy find yourself fixated on that number on the scale, but a healthy weight is defined by so much more than that number!
Fat loss can be found in muscle gained and fat lost, seen in the inches shed from your waist and hips, and in overall improvements in your health and fitness, such as lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels and a decreased resting heart rate.
There are so many indicators improved health.
What does healthy mean to you?
What do you think of when you hear someone say they want to get healthy? Do you think weight loss, fat loss or restrictive diets and hours of cardio?
If you said yes to any of these, you're not alone. So often when we think about "getting healthy" it becomes clouded by numbers on the scale, punishing diets and engaging in exercise we dread. Not only is the path to success lined with frustration and overwhelm, but when you don't see results as quickly as you think you should, it's easy to want to give up.
Which weighs more, a pound of fat or a pound of muscle?
Ah the age old question. The answer? They weigh the same! A pound is a pound, right? The importance of this in fat loss is how they are seen in the body. 10 pounds of fat looks and feels much different in the body than 10 pounds of fat. Excess body fat will change the shape of your body, impact your energy levels, health stats and more. But when you're engaging in muscle building activities and eating healthier, you naturally begin to shed fat and replace it with lean muscle, which tones up and trims down, boosts energy and changes to shape of your body.
That's why sometimes in weight loss you might not see the scale move much, yet begin to notice your pants fitting looser, muscle tone in new areas and a boost in energy.
And you might be feeling stronger and find you're able to do more day-to-day activities with less effort. There are all sorts of changes that go on inside the body - almost immediately - when you start exercising and eating healthier. In fact, most of my clients report feeling more energized and noticing mini-improvements in how they move through their day-to-day lives. From loading and unloading the washer more easily to bounding up and down the stairs.
Health is a beautiful thing, my friends. And it's so much more than a number.
How to achieve (and maintain) weight loss.
There are a few factors when it comes to fat loss. Two of the most important are: calories in and calories out.
In general, if you're consuming more than you're burning on a regular basis, then you're going to be challenged to achieve weight loss. And in many instances, gain weight.
Does that mean you have to start counting calories and spend hours on the treadmill? No. It simply means you need to be aware of what you're putting in your mouth as much as you count those steps each day.
This is where tracking can be a game changer. You can see in real time just how your food habits and daily routines are supporting your goals. Do you tend to go over your daily calories more days that not? Are your macros (protein, fat, and carbs) out of balance? Are your sugars and added salts high? How many steps are you actually getting in each day and how much time are you spending each week building muscle?
Use a self-assessment as an opportunity to improve where it counts. This is not an exercise to criticize, judge or punish yourself thin.
Notice food patterns and small ways you can improve. Read nutrition labels to better understand portion sizes and what you're consuming. Limited distracted eating by turning off the t.v., not eating in front of the computer or while driving, which often leads to increased calorie consumption. Tune into your food habits and you'll find there are simple ways you can make meaningful improvements that really add up.
Look for opportunities to move your body each day. Whether it's walking to the furthest bathroom, pacing while talking on the phone, or going for a walk after dinner. There are many ways to add steps to your day. And every step counts. Replacing fat with muscle will boost metabolism and help you tone up and trim down too. And the fastest way to do it is with strength building activities. Don't have weights or other fitness equipment? Bust out some bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups.
8 quick ways to lose weight, burn fat and build muscle:
Eat less processed foods
Minimize unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats)
Reduce added sugars and salts
Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
Drink half your bodyweight in water each day
Move your body daily
Strength train 2-3x a week
Get 7+ hours of sleep every night
Bottom line: healthy food habits and regular exercise will help you achieve your goals and maintain them over the long haul. Start small and think about changes you can make in your day-to-day routine to support your goals. If you've been working on eating healthier and moving more but aren't seeing the scale move, take note of changes in your body. Are you feeling stronger, with better energy during the day and your clothes fitting looser? If the answer is no, then it's time for a self-assessment. Track your food and exercise habits for a week. Then assess where you can make some meaningful changes. It can also be powerful to hire help to provide you with key information such as your ideal daily caloric and macro goals for weight loss based on your age, gender and activity level.
Are you an ambitious man or woman who's ready to feel strong, live healthy, and get fit? Discover how to take small steps to get healthy & fit without cutting out the foods you love or spending countless hours on cardio. Come join me inside my online Facebook Community - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy folks go for tips, tools and support they need to eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!