Singaporebrides | Beauty

April 2014

Work Off Those Last Few Kilos

You’ve been restricting the calories and hitting the gym, and you’re losing the weight steadily. Except, with just a little bit more to go, you find that it’s getting harder and harder to lose the last bits of fat. SingaporeBrides talks to a physician for some tips on beating the weight loss plateau in time for your wedding day.

It’s not uncommon to hit a weight loss wall when you’re nearing your goal weight. After being subjected to calorie restriction and exercise for a while, your body adapts and becomes more efficient, which results in you burning less calories to do the same things. Check out these tips on breaking out of your weight loss rut and getting that stunning figure for your wedding.

Work off those last few kilos 1 Image cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) by Danny

Work out

If you haven’t already incorporated exercise into your weight loss regime, it’s not too late to start. Cutting down your calories will definitely help you to lose weight, but adding in fat-burning workouts will speed up the process and get you fit and healthy. “Start a regular exercise program of low-impact cardiovascular exercises that can be performed continuously for a 30-60 minute period, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming,” advises Dr. Roger Tian, Consultant Sports Physician, Singapore Sports Medicine Centre. “Aim for 3-5 hours (or more than 2000kcal) of exercise per week.” Commit to a regular exercise program. Working out three times a week strengthens your body and soon, you’ll begin to crave the endorphins that exercise releases.

Build muscle

Many women avoid weight training because they think that building muscle means looking as bulky as a bodybuilder. In actual fact, bodybuilders devote hours in the gym lifting extremely heavy weights and eating a strict, muscle-gain-promoting diet to bulk up, and an average workout simply does not have the same effects. If you want to increase your body’s metabolism and lose weight more quickly, add strength training to your fitness regime. “Muscle is metabolically more active than fat tissue,” says Dr. Tian. “Hence, increasing muscle mass through resistance training will increase the resting metabolic rate, enabling one to burn more fat.” You’ll keep burning calories long after your workout. As a bonus, muscle tissue is more dense than fat, so adding a little bit of muscle and decreasing your fat makes you look leaner! Dr. Tian advises, “Choose a weight that you can lift 12-15 repetitions of without straining. Choose exercises that target several different muscle groups and perform 2-3 sets of each exercise.”

Work Off Those Last Few Kilos 2 Image cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) by richard culver

Don’t judge only certain areas

People tend to focus on areas of their bodies that they dislike, and you may think you’re not losing weight because your arms still look the same. Our body shapes are genetically determined, and the first place you want to lose fat is likely to be the last place it disappears from. Your body sheds fat evenly, so doing more crunches means you’re strengthening the abdominal muscles under existing fat, but doesn’t mean that you will see a six-pack before your body gets rid of the fat over it. The areas that your body is genetically predispositioned to store fat in may see less dramatic results at first, but keep at it, and as you lose weight all over, those pesky bulges will go too.

Challenge your body

“After several weeks of regular exercise training or calorie restriction, the body becomes more efficient in the way it uses energy; it uses less energy to perform the same amount of work,” says Dr. Tian. To continue losing weight, recalculate your calorie needs, which decrease as you lose weight. You should also kick up the intensity of your workouts a notch to challenge your muscles. Work out for longer periods at a stretch, or work harder by running faster or increasing the weights you’re lifting. You can also increase the number of repetitions you do for your strength training moves, and vary the exercises you do. To increase your motivation, hit the gym with a friend, or engage your muscles in a new and interesting activity like rock-climbing.

Work Off Those Last Few Kilos 3 Image cc licensed (BY NC SA) by RelaxingMusic

Slip in more daily activity

Take advantage of every opportunity to burn more calories throughout your day. “Increase the amount of non-exercise physical activity such as walking around the office more often, or doing housework,” says Dr. Tian. Make small changes to your routine and incorporate as much activity as you can to lose weight faster. For example, you can walk more by getting off one or two bus stops from your usual one, or climbing a couple of flights of stairs by getting off the lift a few storeys short of your level. Instead of munching on something while catching up on your favourite sitcom, why not use the time to do some jumping jacks or lift weights?

Get enough sleep

One of the reasons you’re hitting a weight loss plateau could be that you’re not sleeping enough. According to a New York Times article, research has shown that lack of sleep causes people to be more likely to be overweight. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can raise appetite-stimulating hormones, and that sleep-deprived people eat more of foods that are higher in calories than well-rested people, because a sleepy brain wants more food even when the needs for energy have been fulfilled. One study showed that losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row led to an average weight gain of about one kilogram. While individual sleep needs differ, you should aim for about 7-9 hours of sleep a night so that your body is in optimum condition and ready to work off those last few kilos.

Credits: Feature image cc licensed (BY NC SA) by RelaxingMusic | adapted