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How Can I Lose Weight and Keep My Curves?
Wanting to lose weight has long been an issue many of us can understand and empathize with. But staying curvy at the same time hasn't always been the goal.
Throughout history, a woman's physique has been judged differently based on what type of body she had. At times, a woman with curves has been considered everything from attractive to fertile to financially secure. Other times, women have been scorned for their larger sizes and made to believe that thin is in and any sort of curve is considered unattractive.
Today, with the rise of better attitudes about body image and inspiration from celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara, many women are learning to embrace their curves.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have other areas we’d like to work to minimize. So, what can we do to have the weight loss we desire while also keeping the curves we’ve grown to love?
1. Make Weight Training a Priority
For many years, it was believed that cardio was the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Cardio gets your heart rate up, which allows your body to pump more blood and burn more calories in the process.
But more calories burned doesn’t always equal more of the body you desire. In recent years, there’s been a big push toward encouraging people to lift more weights when trying to lose weight and spend more time strength training, even if the idea of “bulking up” makes them worry that it will just cause them to hang on to extra pounds.
The reason is this: when you strength train, you build muscle. Muscle burns fat more quickly than any other organ in your body and also needs more calories, so your body will use excess weight to fuel your muscles while you lift those weights.
Strength training also focuses on toning and strengthening your body, especially in areas where you already have some curves. So allowing yourself to lean into the idea of putting weight training on your list of priorities while trying to lose weight is a great way to keep your curves in place while other areas are shrinking.
2. Don’t Completely Cut Out Carbs
We are increasingly learning that certain types of carbs are not good for us, and we should either cut them from our daily diets or eliminate them altogether.
A “carb” is a nutrient that is found in many food sources, in both naturally-occurring foods and foods that we make. Carbohydrates are needed for survival, and they provide our bodies with many good nutrients, like fiber. Carbs not only give our bodies fuel for the day but they also are known to ward off certain diseases.
Lots of people believe you need to cut carbs out of your diet in order to lose weight. But more proof suggests this is simply not true. In fact, good carbs will not only keep your body healthy but will help shed the unwanted pounds while helping you hang on to the curves you’ve worked hard for.
We need the fibers and nutrients in the good carbs to help with our digestion and keep us feeling full, for longer. Choosing complex carbs such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits will allow you to drop fat while you are losing weight but not lose muscle tone.
The bottom line? Don’t rid your body of the good carbs if you want to hang on to your curves. Your body needs the fuel they provide to maintain the look you are trying to achieve.
3. Eat Plenty of Protein
Making sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein in your diet will ensure your body will hang on to those curves of yours.
Protein is an essential nutrient for all of us. It helps build and repair tissues in our body and is vital to healthy cell growth throughout our body.
Muscles need plenty of protein to function correctly. And if you are engaged in any type of strength training, not having adequate protein means your body will start to steal it from your muscles, causing them to shrink and your curves along with them.
Protein sources are found in many of the common foods we eat. Some of the best sources are eggs, lean chicken breast, certain kinds of seafood, and legumes. Certain vegetables, like broccoli and avocados, are also high in protein.
You can also find good sources of protein in powder forms. A quick google search will give you a vast array of brands to try or check out in the growing section of protein products in your grocery store.
Many people who are trying to lose weight but keep their curves will use these protein powders in a smoothie or shake. This is a great way to get the extra protein you need when on the go.
Protein bars are also more popular than ever and a great option when time is limited, but you haven’t had a chance to get your daily requirement yet. And there are so many flavors to choose from almost everyone can find a protein bar they like.
4. Do More High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that gained popularity amongst people who wanted to work out but found their time was limited. It involves short periods of intense activity, followed by rest periods.
Though HIIT began as a way to try and squeeze exercise into short time periods, it has been proven to be extremely effective in weight loss. It’s also a great way to keep your curves when dropping some pounds.
The reason for this is simple. HIIT exercises get your heart rate up quickly and allow your metabolic rate to stay elevated long after your workout is over. This means your body will stay in fat-burning mode and not use other sources, like muscle mass, for fuel.
HIIT exercises can also be customized to work on targeted areas. For example, if you want to keep a curvy backside, trainers suggest you try a HIIT program that incorporates plenty of squats and lunges, done in quick repetitions for a 3 to 5-minute period of time. Squats and lunges are excellent ways to burn fat while working the muscles in your glutes and thighs, areas that many of us like to see stay curvy.
5. Practice Patience
When we decide we want to start a weight loss program, many of us are apt to turn to fad diets or intense exercise programs. We become so motivated to lose weight we may not realize what else we are losing in the process.
Studies have shown that rapid weight loss is not an ideal way to diet. It can lead to malnutrition, slow down your metabolism and even cause your mental health to suffer, as your brain is denied valuable nutrients it needs to function correctly.
Rapid weight loss also will cause your body to break down muscle instead of fat. Muscle mass contributes to creating curves in our bodies and is needed to keep the shape you’re striving for. But when our bodies are starved, they will begin to rely on those muscles for fuel, and you’ll find those curves disappearing with the pounds.
Think of your weight loss program as a marathon and not a sprint. If you really want to shed some pounds while keeping your curvy figure, it’s best to do it slowly and with intention.