I have excess abdominal fat. Created by years of Reese’s peanut butter cups, I am now determined to tackle the extra inches that plague my daily thoughts as I feel yet another sugar craving setting in. My mom adopted a diet that would be difficult for me to follow on a daily basis, let alone for an entire month. She ate all of the same foods, had a latte here and there, a slice of pizza. But the real trick was cutting out her sugar intake. She limited herself to two tablespoons of sugar per day, one on her morning bowl of cereal and the other in her nightly tea. With each passing week, my mom found her jeans becoming loose, her work outfits more comfortable. And all it took was one month of determination and some slight lifestyle tweaks. I have created some strategies help me during my one-month challenge.
The first roadblock to overcome is a change in diet. Alterations are truly based on lifestyle and personal preferences. Being a vegetarian, I already have the added benefit of eating extra vegetables while decreasing unhealthy fats from red meats. Legumes, while high in carbohydrates, provide excellent sources of protein and flavor to dishes. During my experiment, I will dramatically cut down on my sugar intake. For example, I use to allow myself to have some type of sweet treat everyday, whether it was a bowl of ice cream or a few miniature candy bars. I would never keep an accurate record of how many grams of sugar I was actually consuming, thus leading to more calories in my daily diet that I had probably banked on. My sweet cravings will be held at bay by eating fruits and dark chocolate, one square per day or less. I will add in more vegetables, specifically leafy greens for an extra boost of nutrition.
Every diet, not just vegetarian, can be customized to specific weight loss goals. Small adjustments allow for results without taking away favorite foods or the ability to attend social gatherings at restaurants. A good strategy is to tackle items typically higher in fats and calories. Lactose lovers could try switching to 1% or skim milk. Almond, soy, and coconut milk are also delicious options, boasting at least half the calories with a rich flavor and creamy texture. Companies such as Blue Diamond and Silk offer coupons on their alternative milk products for a more affordable approach for consumers. Switching from butter to margarine is another way to cut calories. The down side to this scenario is the addition of filler ingredients not found in butter, such as preservatives. Simply search for natural margarines consisting of heart healthy vegetable oils.
Water intake is a key component to overall health as well as losing weight. Avid coffee, tea, and soda drinkers expose their systems to excess caffeine, which actually drains the body of water. Soda is the worst culprit, containing not only caffeine but copious amounts of sugar. Decaffeinated is a great option for coffee and tea, but those needing an energy boost during the day need to simply make sure they are consuming a larger amount of water in their daily regimen. Eliminating soda altogether and replacing with antioxidant-rich green tea or Rooibos tea, rumored to have fat decreasing properties, will drops pounds fast in the one month time frame.
Exercise, often a dealing-breaking word, will equate to faster results says every doctor and personal trainer ever. With my plan of decreasing sugar, muscle isolation workouts will tone my worrisome areas. As a 5-time P90X survivor, I should have more tone than I actually do, but I was never as faithful toward the diet plan as I was the rigorous (but fulfilling) time spent with Tony Horton every day. And while I will occasionally pump up the jam with plyometrics, devoting more than an hour to the whole process is difficult with tight schedules. I like to focus on my worst areas, repeating quick cardio movements during a 15 – 20 minute time period. I include sets of jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, squats, and planks. Exercise sets can be completely customized toward the individual as can any type of cardio routine. Bicycling, swimming, walking the dog – all of these activities help to burn calories while being engaging.
My 4-week experiment will last the length of November and even though I don’t need to lose 10 pounds, I am looking forward to trimming the fat around my stomach and increasing my abdominal muscle definition. My sugar cravings have already started to decrease after five days. Hopefully my skinny leopard jeans will be making an appearance starting December 1 st .