Realistic Ways To Stay in Shape

The 'getting in shape' craze is both the gift and the curse of the century. It’s a gift because weight-related health issues have been on a steady incline worldwide. And a curse, because the desire for the ‘perfect body shape and size’ has driven people to some extreme, and even dangerous measures in pursuit.

Every other day we have a new tutorial for 'how to lose weight in just X days' or ' X fastest ways to get shredded.' Sadly, with limited knowledge of sustainable weight loss practices, and the increased need to conform to beauty standards of the day, most people fall susceptible to these trends that almost always seriously risk their health.

Today, we'll guide you on some sustainable ways to stay in shape. But first, what are some unstainable ways of staying in shape you should avoid?

Fast Weight Loss, But is it Sustainable?

If it promises to help you lose weight in a matter of weeks, then it's most likely unsustainable in the long run. Here are some of the internet's most Googled weight loss solutions that might help you lose weight, but come at a cost.

Crazy Diets

The carnivore diet restricts your meals to meat, eggs, and some animal fats like cheese; Whole 360 limits you to fruits and vegetables, while other low to zero-carb diets like Keto, Atkins, Paleo-Vegan, etc., cut out the energy foods. The problem with most of these diets is their unregulated nature. 

Most people follow a template of the internet, with little regard for the health benefits associated with the cut-out food groups, and without seeking professional advice on how said diets affect their health. Also, once off the diet, the weight almost always piles back on.

Cleanses, Detox Plans, Liquid Diet, And Weight Loss Shakes

These tend to focus on water-weight loss and introduce a caloric deficit. The loss of water weight leads to a seemingly leaner appearance, while the caloric deficit calls on the body to convert stored fats for energy needs. 

Again, this is only good for the short term, like brides trying to fit in their wedding dresses. In the long run, people with active lives are slowed down physically and mentally from the energy-deficit associated, with some fainting from hunger or going into shock.

Over Exercising

Exercise, but also acknowledge the limits. You might tone up and loose a tremendous deal of weight in the process by hitting the gym hard. However, too much exercise can lead to a host of problems including, increased cortisol levels, sore or injured muscles, increased heart rate, fatigue and exhaustion, distorted sleeping patterns, and negative emotions associated with failure to hit intended targets.

Taking Drugs Or Unsubscribed Supplements

Among other examples, in 2022, Ozempic and Wegovy, medication prescribed for people with insulin problems or severe weight issues, went viral and have since become a weight loss sensation. The abuse of these drugs has profound implications, and there's no shortage of warnings by doctors worldwide. The saddest part, however, is that the widespread demand has led to a shortage for people that actually need the drugs.

Bariatric surgery

Also known as gastric bypass or weight loss surgeries, this has become the go-to for anyone that can afford it. It can be life-saving for people experiencing deteriorated health from excess weight, but it also comes with a running mile of associated risks, not to mention post-op downtime. 

Popular forms include Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. But today, we also have non-surgical methods like the gastric balloon–a medically-administered pouch designed to reduce the stomach's capacity for food, and associated weight loss.

The Best Way to Stay in Shape 

Now, let us look at more sustainable means of getting and staying in shape.

Eliminate Junk Food

Junk food refers to foods and drinks that are high in fat, kilojoules, salt, and sugars, but low in nutritional value. Most fast foods fall here, such as your typical McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, KFC, etc. Although, we do have a growing demand for healthy fast food options such as sushi, salads, and healthy sandwiches 

The occasional treat in the form of a cheeseburger may not hurt, but stuffing your face with junk food every single day is known to cause obesity and chronic disorders. In fact, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cholesterol cancer, and stomach cancer are directly linked to overindulgence in junk food. 

What's more, the specific contents of most junk foods have adverse side effects;

  • Too much sodium can lead to frequent migraines, headaches as well as bloating

  • Foods high in carbs can cause acne breakouts

  • The sugar in junk food can result in dental issues such as cavities and tooth decay

  • Food loaded with trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels

  • Foods with empty carbohydrates can cause increased insulin resistance and high blood sugar

  • Overeating junk food can also cause depression

Formulate a Proper Diet

Balance out the food groups on your plate, and take them in the right portions. A balanced diet should provide you with essential nutrition. This means that the contents of your meal should have macronutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins, fluids, preferably from water, micronutrients such as vitamins (fruits are not just for kids), and sufficient fiber and food energy.

Stick to white meat and lean meat as they are better recommended for optimal cardio health. Also, make the switch to whole grain foods as part of a healthier diet. And don't forget that medical experts advise on small frequent meals over a few large meals to regulate your metabolism. Therefore, consider eating 6 small portions daily rather than 3 large meals. 

Exercise Regularly

Dedicating at least one hour of each day to exercise is important. You do not have to run a marathon or do intense training (unless that's your thing), but it's good to incorporate some physical activity into your everyday life. If you are trying to shed a few pounds, consider adding jogging, sprinting, and brisk walking to your daily workout routine. 

To keep things in the healthy range, regulate the time and intensity of your workouts. Always remember to stretch and eat a decent amount of protein since proteins are essential for building your muscles and keeping them strong and healthy. 

Also, opt for cycling, yoga, and even facial exercises, specifically jaw exercises, to have a wholesome workout experience.

Jaw Exercises

Your jaw's masseter muscles are the second most powerful muscle after the heart. Exercising your jaw daily helps you keep your jaw muscles strong and healthy. In this regard, get yourself some Chisell tabs–a revolutionary jaw-sculpting device that's become a crowd-favorite for people looking to lose chin fat and tone their lower facial muscles.

Drink Tonnes of Water

Our bodies are made up of 60% water. We lose about 8-12 cups of this water to sweating, breathing, urinating, and bowel movements. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to compensate for water loss to maintain your body's fluid balance, and it also helps supply essential nutrients throughout the body. Drinking lots of water is also known to keep your stomach full because, believe it or not, most people often mistake thirst for hunger, which results in overeating. 

Get Enough Sleep

It is a known fact that quality sleep is imperative for optimal health. Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the day's activities, encourages muscle growth, and lowers your body's fat percentage. Getting adequate sleep also helps optimize hormones such as testosterone, insulin, and somatotropin (human growth hormone)–which are critical for energy production and muscle repair. 

Lack of quality sleep is a slippery slope to overindulgence in processed food and skipping out on routine exercises due to lack of energy. Adopt a healthier sleep routine to make sure your body gets enough rest. By doing this, you are setting yourself up for success in accomplishing a lean, fit, and healthy body. 

Practice Consistency

We all have days where we are super pumped about working out and eating right and others where it is the last thing we want to do. But in order to stay in shape and maintain optimal health, it is vital to stick to your workout routine and stay off the comfort food. If you're finding it hard to stay motivated, try setting your goal, creating a designated workout area, using reminders, working out with your partner, trying new recipes, and anything that could make the experiences fun and encourage repetitiveness.

Be the Change You Want to See

Despite what you've heard, staying in shape is not really that hard. If you have the discipline to wake up and make the choice to be a healthy you today, and make that choice every morning going forward, then staying in shape becomes that much easier. Don't be tempted to take the easy way out because there is no easy way out. Create your sustainable plan today, and encourage someone to do it with you for better accountability.