While seven weeks is certainly enough time to set weight-loss goals and change some lifestyle habits (for the better), it's important to keep in mind that weight-loss is not a quick process, nor can you spot-reduce specific parts of your body. And this is true for everyone.
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With that said, introducing healthier lifestyle habits can help you shed some pounds, slim your entire body and keep the weight off in the longer term. So, if you're looking to slim your face or midsection, start by creating a safe calorie deficit, cleaning up your diet and introducing a consistent workout routine. Here's how to do it.
Read more: 10 of the Most Common Weight-Loss Mistakes
Cut the Right Amount of Calories
While you can't spot-reduce weight or fat from specific parts of your body, seven weeks is enough time to make significant lifestyle changes. Weight loss begins with creating a safe calorie deficit, which is when you burn more calories than you take in, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Typically, those that lose weight at a gradual, steady rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week are more likely to keep it off, according to the CDC. This means cutting between 500 to 1,000 calories per day, since there are 3,500 calories in one pound. However, as mentioned above, the slower you go, the more likely you are to keep it off. So, if cutting 500 calories leaves you feeling hungry or uncomfortable, opt for a 300 calorie cut instead.
Once you've determined how many calories you want to cut from your daily intake, consider downloading a calorie-tracking app or keeping a food journal to make the process simpler. These methods make it easy to log your meals and evaluate your calorie intake and burn.
Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused, and achieve your goals!
Read more: 10 Dos and Don'ts of Using a Food Journal
Fill Up On Nutrient-Dense Food
Slimming down requires filling your plate with plenty of nutrient-rich foods. Begin by cutting as many processed or packaged foods (like chips or granola bars) as possible, recommends the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Avoid foods with added sugars or refined grains and be wary of the calories in your specialty coffee drink.
Instead, choose foods that have more nutrients per serving, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Whole, plant-based foods will provide your body with plenty of fiber, a nutrient that supports proper digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer, according to AND. Also, up your lean protein intake with poultry, lean beef or nonfat dairy (and avoid deli meats, which can contain unhealthy levels of sodium).
The way you eat is just as important as the contents of your plate. The CDC recommends improving your eating habits to support a healthier lifestyle. Avoid eating too fast, skipping meals or eating mindlessly. Create a list of foods that may trigger unhealthy eating and be wary of their place in your kitchen.
Introduce Some Interval Exercise
Adding exercise to your weekly routine can also help promote weight loss, increasing your daily caloric burn. As a rule of thumb, aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like running) each week, recommends the CDC.
However, you can also shake up your routine with some high intensity interval training (HIIT), which has been shown to be an effective metabolism-boosting, fat-burning form of exercise, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). HIIT training involves alternating between a quick burst of intense exercise, followed by a recovery interval.
The beauty of HIIT is that it can take on any form you like most. For instance, if your preferred form of exercise is running, you can perform sprint intervals on the treadmill to get the metabolism-boosting benefits. Or, if you're more of a weight-room enthusiast, alternate between intense intervals of burpees or box jumps. The varieties are endless.
While HIIT is extremely effective, it can place a large amount of stress on the body, according to ACE — this is where your new healthy eating habits come into play. You should only perform HIIT training about two to three times a week, replenishing your body with plenty of healthy nutrients and rest in the meantime.
Read more: How to Do a HIIT Workout at Home
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Losing Weight"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "What a Healthy Weight Loss Plan Really Looks Like"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Fiber"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: " Improving Your Eating Habits"
- American Council on Exercise: "8 Reasons HIIT Workouts are So Effective"