Losing weight is great. Does it translate to better energy and better health? Not always. How you do it and what kind of weight you lose will ultimately mean long-term, sculpted body results or short-term “fit into your skinny jeans for a party” results.
I counseled a fairly average-weight young lady recently who didn’t understand why she had “jiggly” arms. After explaining that measuring body fat in females means measuring skin folds at the triceps, abdomen and thighs, we talked about how to reduce her body fat versus reducing her weight.
Fitting into a bikini comfortably was also a goal of this young teen, and understandably so. Most females of any age like to be comfortable in shorts, bathing suits, tank tops, etc. The process isn’t easy, but the results are empowering and huge for building confidence.
Reducing body fat in specific areas isn’t proven to work. But reducing body fat overall by making the right food choices and exercising most days of the week will result in body shape changes.
Keep in mind that even when men and women lose weight all over, the changes will be most noticeable in the different areas we tend to store fat. In females this includes the abdomen, thighs and back of the arm. In most men — the abdomen, back and thighs.
The easiest way to reshape your waistline is to think about food and exercise as your toolbox. Use your tools (a few are listed below) every day, one day at a time. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks to notice a change in body composition or waist circumference, so be patient.
- Don’t weigh yourself; instead focus on each day and include strength training and aerobic exercise.
- Get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week.
- Eat plenty of veggies, lean proteins and fiber.
- Drink lots of water! The goal for water intake is 64 to 100 ounces each day, depending on your weight. If you’re heavier, more active or spend more time outside, you should drink even more water. Men also need a bit more water than women, on average.
Reshaping your waistline means reshaping the emphasis you place on weight. Make sure you have appropriate goals that will support long-term health. That means eat right, exercise, have small amounts of protein and carbohydrate following exercise, and most importantly, do it for your health. You’ll get the body shape you want if you’re persistent and consistent. Don’t give up!
Recipe for a balanced breakfast
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 TBSP oatmeal (plain)
- 1/4 of a small banana, sliced/diced
- 1/2 packet Splenda or similar
- dash cinnamon
Mix all ingredients and cook like an omelet or pancake. It’s not a huge amount of food, so you might need to double the recipe or also eat a piece of fruit. There are lots of recipes out there for “protein pancakes” but this one is a bit more balanced.
If desired, top with light syrup, ground cinnamon or a bit of Redi Whip
Nutritional info: <100 calories, 12 grams carbs, 10 grams protein
Editor’s note: This blog is part of Jill Koegel’s “Reshaping” series. Next week’s blog will focus on reshaping muscles.