It’s the beginning of a new year and the foremost thing on a lot of people’s minds is losing those excess holiday pounds. Weight loss is the #1 New Year’s resolution, yet most people give up on their diet well before the end of January rolls around. The main reason of their failure is they either go all out with a new workout routine and their diet is lacking, or it’s the other way around- going on a strict diet but not exercising. Weight loss is a total body and mind effort. The only way to lose weight properly and keep it off is to use a totally holistic approach.

Nutrition plays a main part in successful weight loss. I’m not speaking of lowering fat and calorie intake. I’m speaking of total proper nutrition. The problem with most diets is they concentrate solely on reduced calories and fat grams. This does not address each person’s individual nutritional needs. A diabetic has different needs than a non diabetic. A vegetarian has different needs than a meat lover. Many people have gluten sensitivities that need different diets from everyone else. Simply reducing caloric intake can cause some of these people to actually gain weight instead of losing it. For some, a high protein, low carb diet is the way to go. For others, an equal balance of protein and carbs will produce better results.

Proper nutrition includes fruit and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and plenty of water. Let’s say your calorie goal for the day is 1500 calories. You can, of course, drink 1500 calories worth of soda. But how would you feel? Or, you can consume 1500 calories worth of quality protein, fresh vegetables and whole grain based carbs and feel wonderful. By applying proper nutrition to your weight loss efforts, you will shed excess fat and not suffer the hunger pangs of popular calorie strict diets.

Exercise plays another important part in weight loss. Exercise should not consume your entire day. There is no reason to spend hours a day in the gym if you are performing exercises that aren’t right for your body type. Everyone needs cardio. This includes walking, jogging, swimming- anything that raises your heart rate. While any type of cardio is beneficial, it needs to raise your heart rate at least 35% above your resting heart rate to provide fat burning benefits. 30 minutes a day of proper cardio for your weight and body type is plenty to boost fat loss.

Weight training is pertinent to weight loss. Most people who go on strict diets may increase their cardio to burn calories, but they ignore weights. This does lead to weight loss, but it is mostly muscle loss. We are looking for actual fat loss. Many women won’t touch weights because they’re afraid they’ll ‘bulk up’. This is simply not true. Women are not built to be as bulky as men when lifting weights. Weight lifting for women helps to build stronger bones and provide lean, smooth muscle. It also increases fat burn.

Knowing your body type can give you a huge advantage in your weight loss routine. Apple shaped people carry more fat around their mid section than a pear shape. No one exercise is perfect for all body types.

Stress plays a huge role in weight gain and the inability to lose it. When you are under stress, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol is known to increase your appetite and slow metabolism. Of course, this will negate your weight loss efforts. While it is impossible to lead a totally stress free life, there are ways to lowers your stress levels to encourage weight loss. Meditation, a warm bath at night or sitting quietly in a dark room for just a few minutes a day can do wonders to lower your stress levels.

Herbs and other natural supplements can be beneficial in helping those looking to shed extra pounds. There is no one ‘magic’ diet pill. Many of the popular diet pills on the market now contain stimulants that carry nasty side effects. These pills are designed for one thing- to make money for the company producing them. However, there are many herbs that promote detoxification and glandular cleansing that help the body process food more efficiently so it isn’t stored in the body as fat.

The only way to know which diet, exercise, meditation and supplement regime is right for your body and weight loss goals is to consult a professional who is qualified in these areas.

I have been helping my clients lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle with great success for several years. I can help you too. To learn more about my services and to start on the road to a newer, slimmer healthier you, please visit my website and click on the ‘Services’ tab.

Author's Bio: 

Reiki Master/ Teacher trained in the traditional Usui Shiki Ryoho style- Obtained April, 2004

Certified Holistic Stress Management Specialist- Obtained July, 2007

Diploma in Fitness and Nutrition- Obtained January, 2008

Certified Personal Trainer- Obtained April, 2009

Certified Sports Nutritionist- Obtained April 2009

Currently studying to obtain a Holistic Practitioner degree

Fields of study: herbal medicine, aromatherapy, reiki, stress management, holistic health, fitness and nutrition