For some, meeting the Guard’s weight requirement is no easy task.
Understanding the dynamics of calories, muscle tone, and body fat will help you shed pounds, reach your goal weight and stay there. Different variations of diet and exercise work for different people. Here are some tips to help you lose weight safely.
Understanding Calories, Muscle, and Body Fat
The amount of calories you eat affects your weight. Calories measure the energy you get from food to fuel your body. How you manage your calories helps determine whether you will lose or gain weight. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. Check out this Calorie Counter to determine your daily calorie goals.
Your weight also depends on your body composition. Muscle is more dense than fat, so one pound of muscle takes up less space in your body than one pound of fat. For example, 10 or 15 pounds of muscle can take up the same area in your body as five pounds of fat.
Losing weight and keeping it off starts with building healthy eating habits. Crash diets for extreme or quick weight loss aren’t effective—only five percent of people who lose weight through crash diets actually keep the weight off.
Adopt these long- term healthy eating habits to help you reach your goal weight:
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat slowly and savor your food. Stop when you are full.
- Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Swap out junk food for healthier alternatives.
- Limit your portion sizes. Ensure the right amount of food is in front of you before you start eating. Ask for a to go box when you order your meal at a restaurant and set a portion of your meal inside the box when it arrives.
Research has shown that cardio exercise raises your heart rate and lowers your body fat. Splitting cardio activity into five 30-minute workouts per week is most effective. Typical cardio exercises include running, elliptical training, biking, or swimming. Here are some other ways to get that exercise in:
- Challenge a buddy to a pick-up game or train for a race together to have some fun while you’re burning off calories.
- Join a sports league and play basketball, softball, or flag football.
- Add in simple activities outside the gym like taking a walk around the neighborhood, doing yard work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Mix up your usual exercise routine with these #WarriorReady workouts that you can do anytime and anywhere.
Staying on Track Toward Your Weight Goal
Here are some tips to help you stay on track:
- Hydrate frequently. Figure out how much water you should be drinking every day with this hydration calculator.
- Keep a food diary. Use either a notebook or a smartphone app. By recording everything you eat, you will be able to see any habits or patterns that need adjusting.
- Talk with a dietician. A dietician can recommend ways to improve your current eating habits.
- Track your steps. Wear a step-tracking device, such as a pedometer, or use a smartphone app.
- Enlist a battle buddy for accountability. You’re more likely to stay motivated with a friend working out alongside you.
- Get enough sleep! Your body needs 7 to 8 hours a night.
If you have questions or need help setting fitness and nutrition goals, talk with your Medical Readiness NCO, your doctor, or a personal trainer.