Fat loss requires a whole lifestyle approach
Any good weight loss plan will take a multi-faceted approach, through a combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle management. Twenty-eight days is not long to lose a lot of weight but following a balanced program, you can reasonably expect to lose at a safe rate of around 2 pounds a week. If you follow this style of program for a longer period of time, you will continue to lose fat while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The Fuss About Food
Tempting as it is to believe the gym is where the magic happens, in reality, it's the kitchen that will make or break your success. While diet recommendations can be confusing, there's an easy guideline: Each meal should include a protein source -- such as lean meat, poultry, fish or eggs -- a healthy fat source (like nuts or olive oil), plenty of vegetables and some carbohydrates (fruit or whole grains). For men, go for a serving of protein twice the size of your palm, a serving of fat twice the size of your thumb (or a dash or two if you're using oil), a serving of carbohydrate twice the size of your cupped palm and a serving of veggies twice the size of your fist. For women, aim for a serving of protein the size of your palm, a serving of fat the size of your thumb (one dash of oil), a serving of carbohydrate the size of your cupped palm and a serving of veggies the size of your fist. Avoid junk food and sugary drinks to really get the most out of your diet.
Get A Move On
Exercising frequently is an important part of losing weight. In order to burn off energy stored as fat, your workouts need to be challenging and regular. Three to five sessions of 60 minutes of moderate intensity or 30 minutes of high intensity cardio per week is enough for most people. Using calorie tracking websites or apps can help you gauge whether you're doing enough exercise for your specific situation. If you have a lot of weight to lose and are very new to exercise, you can begin with walking and simple bodyweight exercise routines -- such as kneeling pushups, squats and situps. If you are more confident, team sports, weightlifting and gym classes are all very effective ways to lose weight and build up your lean muscle mass and tone.
Hit The Pillow
Sleep is often forgotten when it comes to fat loss, but it's very important if you plan to lose the weight and keep it off. A 2011 study by the International Association for the Study Of Obesity, published in Obesity Reviews, found that less than five hours of sleep per night contributed significantly to an increase in obesity and related diseases. Reduced sleep tends to lead to greater cravings and hunger, less willpower to make healthy food choices, lower physical activity and lower energy expenditure. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night will improve your fat loss results over the 28-day program.
Your lifestyle will have a major influence on your weight loss success. Limit your alcohol intake to a couple of drinks one night a week. Surround yourself with people who support your goals and will help you stay on track. Make it easier to stick to the plan by preparing your meals in advance, scheduling your workouts into your daily routine and setting alarms to remind you to get ready for bed. Successful fat loss is really about managing your environment so that it's easy to get your diet, training and sleep habits right.