It is possible for you to lose weight and have the body you always wanted without being a member of a gym. You may want the convenience of working out on your own time, not having to pay gym dues or sign contracts, and maybe not being out in a public setting. Even as a male nurse, I get what you're saying. Maybe you like going to the gym because it provides you with a support group of others who are on a similar journey and they keep you motivated and accountable. Either way, there are some key things you can do to lose weight without needing the gym.
You need to add fat: That's right, not on you but in your diet. This will keep you full and not having to eat all the time. A lot of times the need to snack all the time comes from your blood sugar dropping. Keep your blood sugar stable with higher amounts of good fats (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, grass-fed butter, and cheese) to name a few. All of these fats will also make your food much tastier and more satisfying for you. For further reading I recommend the book The Big Fat Surprise
Walk on your days off: Maybe you are a nurse who walks a lot during their workdays. If not, and you are at a desk most of the day then you need to make some time to get some movement in your day. You should be walking at least 8000 steps a day to get your body some activity.
On a typical day as a nurse in the inpatient setting, I will walk about 12000 steps. It will take me one to two hours to walk this distance on my days off. You may not have time for that, but I invite you to walk at least 30 minutes on your days off and go from there.
Walking on your days off is a habit like anything else. I know this is the last thing you want to do after being on your feet so much the day before. Try it, not only will you get the physical benefits but it will help you clear your mind and get away for a minute from the busyness of your life.
Lower the carbohydrates: I know I keep beating this drum. It is not that I think everyone should be on a low carbohydrate diet. Americans eat way too many carbohydrates, and the body is not designed to process this much sugar. This is why there are so many obese people in our nation.
Carbohydrate-rich foods are cheap, easily accessible, heavily processed in many cases, and they taste good. I am not saying you only should eat broccoli for the rest of your life. I am saying, try to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. If you are carrying a lot of excess weight, you should have your carbohydrates at 10% of the calories you take in. If you are lean, then you can probably eat between 20 and 30% of your calories as carbohydrates.
The way you do this is by including more good fats in your diet such as nuts, nut butters, coconut oil, avocado oil, high-fat (grass-fed) dairy and olive oil to name a few. These fats will keep you full and not allow you to get the sugar crashes of a higher carbohydrate diet. Eating more fat will also allow you to go longer in between meals which are great for convenience and mean your blood sugar is staying stable.
Moderate the protein: I finally started to understand this only a few years ago listening to a virtual mentor of mine, named Jimmy Moore, who blogs and runs a podcast over at www.LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com. You see I was under the impression from my weightlifting days that we need a lot more protein than we do. The latest research I am hearing is we only need 30 to 70 grams a day of protein. If you were to multiply that by four calories per gram, that is only 120 to 280 calories of your diet.
The point being is the body can only process so much protein at once, and if the body cannot use it, it goes through a process called gluconeogenesis where the excess protein is converted to glucose and stored as body fat. If you are pregnant or trying to build muscle, then you may want to be in the 60 to 70-gram region for your protein intake.
A lot of what we hear about protein intake is designed to get us to buy supplements, powders, and protein drinks. Selling us on the idea that we need to be taking in all this extra protein into our diet to build muscle and lose weight. It is simply not true.
Intermittent Fasting: This may be a concept you have not heard of before. Fasting can be scary for some but don't worry I am not going to ask you to drink only water for a week with no food. Intermittent fasting is where you eat during an 8-10 hour window during the day, and the rest of the time you do not eat anything. But keep hydrated during this time of fasting. Normally, I eat between 10 am and 6 pm and I do not eat outside of that time frame.
The idea is fasting allows your body to rest, if you're always taking in food the body is always digesting and never has a chance to rest. Also, fasting has been shown to optimize your body’s ability to burn body fat hormonally. It has been shown to lengthen telomeres, which new science is linking to increased longevity.
Fasting has been done for thousands of years and only in recent American culture has it become taboo. Personally, I have noticed a clearer mind in the morning, and better sleep at night because it has usually been a few hours since my last meal by the time I hit the sack. If you would like to learn more about fasting, you can check out Jimmy Moore’s new book on the complete guide to fasting here.
To sum it up, you do not need a gym to lose weight. If you implement the five ideas mentioned above such as adding more fat into your diet, lowering the carbohydrates, walking on your days off, moderating the protein intake, and look into intermittent fasting, I think you will see you do not need the gym to reach your weight loss goals. Let where you live and nature be your gym.
What are some of the ways you have lost weight without stepping foot into the gym? Have you tried any of the suggestions mentioned above? How did they work for you? Let me know in the comments below or message me with your questions.
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