In spite of how much the tabloids love to "reveal" the latest "miracle" that'll allow you to shed 15 lbs in the next three weeks, there's simply no way to do it. Unless, of course, you don't care what the weight loss consists off. Stop eating protein for a month, and I can guarantee that you'll lose several pounds without even touching an exercise bike. Heck, you can drop 30 lbs or so right now, in the next few minutes! Just bring out the ol' chainsaw and cut off a piece of your leg, until you reach your "ideal body weight" according to the scales you see posted in the tabloids. Take off the other leg too, and you can happily have a diet of nachos and ice cream for MONTHS before you're back up to your "ideal body weight". The only drawback is that it can be kind of messy. Oh, and it probably hurts a little too.
All jest aside, I think you're aware that weight alone is a very dull instrument to use when sizing up your overall shape. Bodyfat percentages is a much better tool – even a $19 caliper tells you more about the honest truth than a simple scale. And the final judge is the mirror. If you're pudgy on the sides, you're pudgy on the sides. Period. They'll stay where they are until you remedy the problem, regardless of how you try to find pseudo-scientific evidence that you are – really! – kind of in good shape!
So what if you DID go a little overboard with the bulking over the winter? What CAN you realistically do to avoid having to walk around on the beach wearing a bulky sweater? Well, step number one is to completely ignore the miracles outlined above. Put it out of your mind right from the start – it just won't happen (think about it – if someone really figured out an easy, non-exercise way of safely losing plenty of bodyfat, they'd be wealthier than Bill Gates from all the book sales. So why did they chose to put it in an obscure tabloid with all the usual bunk?)
Step number two is to eliminate all the junk food from your diet – and that means starting TODAY, Bubba!
Forget alcohol, cookies, ice cream and the like. Instead, exercise the tried-and-true strategy of eating 5-6 light and healthy snacks throughout the day. Fiber is your friend. Boost the protein and cut back on carbs. Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugar (except immediately after training). If your health is good and your physician approves, thermogenic enhancers is as close to "miracle supplements" as you'll get – they actually DO crank up your metabolism and releases more bodyfat into the bloodsteam (from which it gets collected and burned). Keep a log of your calorie intake, and make sure not to slip into starvation mode (more than 500 calories below BMR).
Step number three is to increase the cardio frequency. As opposed to working at the office, working more is better than working short & hard. Stay within the fat burn zone at all times, keep the time to 45-60 minutes per workout, but make sure to hit the gym for cardio at least 3-4 times a week, preferably more. In order to avoid overtraining you might have to step back on the weight training a little, but that doesn't mean going lazy. Instead, focus on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts etc. to maintain overall body strength – but skip the extra sets for carving out the bicep-peak details for now, Ok?
Step number four is to stay focused and keep your cool. The strategy above will keep you at a slow but steady decrease in bodyweight of about 1-2 pounds per week, which might not seem awfully much. The good news is that you'll keep the muscle, so you should start seeing some noticeable improvement by July 4 holiday, if you start now.
Don't freak out because of daily fluctuations in weight and shape – track it by the week, and you'll find that daily peaks or lows has little relevance in the big picture. Set small, weekly goals for yourself. In conclusion: Be realistic – but don't lose sight of your goals, and you'll get there eventually. And for Christ's sake – don't believe the tabloids!!
By Matt Daneilson
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