“Those who have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – As Edward Stanley puts. Your weight is a balancing act, but the equation is simple: If you eat more calories than you burn then you gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.
Quite often, we make weight loss much more difficult than it needs to be with extreme diets that leave us cranky and starving, unhealthy lifestyle choices that undermine our dieting efforts, and emotional eating habits that stop us before we get started. But there’s a better way! You can lose weight without feeling miserable. By making smart choices every day, you can develop new eating habits and preferences that will leave you feeling satisfied – and all while winning the battle of the bulge.
Remember, losing weight is a continuous process that needs time. The piles of fat that you’ve gained didn’t happen just overnight. Similarly, to shred them as well you need to give some time.
1. Getting started with healthy weight loss
While there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss, the following guidelines are a great place to start:
- Think lifestyle change, not short-term diet. Permanent weight loss is not something that a “quick-fix” diet can achieve. Instead, think about weight loss as a permanent lifestyle change – a commitment to your health for life. Various popular diets can help to jump-start your weight loss, but permanent changes in your lifestyle and food choices are what will work in the long run.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week to ensure healthy weight loss. Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and sick. When you drop a lot of weight quickly, you’re actually losing mostly water and muscle, rather than fat.
- Set goals to keep you propelled. Short-term goals, usually don’t work well. Use tools that help you track of your weight loss. Keep a food journal and weigh yourself regularly so that you can see the results in black and white. This will help you to stay motivated.
- Keep in mind it may take some experimenting to find the right diet for your individual body. It’s important that you feel satisfied so that you can stick with it on a long-term basis. If one diet plan doesn’t work, then try another one. There are many ways to lose weight. The key is to find what works for you.
- Find a cheering section. Social support means a lot. Seek out support – whether in the form of family, friends, or a support group – so that you always stay motivated.
2. Put a stop to emotional eating
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food for comfort and stress relief. When this happens, we frequently pack on pounds.
Ways to combat emotional eating:
- If you eat when you’re feeling low on energy, find other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or doing some quick stretches or jumping jacks.
- If you eat when you’re lonely or bored, reach out to others instead of reaching for the refrigerator. Call a friend, take your dog for a walk, find a fun activity to do, or simply go out.
3. Tune in when you eat
We live in a fast-paced world where eating has become mindless. The result is that we consume much more than we need, often without realizing it or truly enjoying what we’re eating. Counter this tendency by practicing “mindful” eating by paying attention to what you eat, enjoy each bite, and choose foods that are both nourishing and enjoyable. Mindful eating will help you lose weight and maintain the results.
Mindful eating tips:
- Pay attention while you’re eating. Eat slowly, savoring the smells and textures of your food. If your mind wanders, gently return your attention to your food and how it tastes and feels in your mouth.
- Avoid distractions while eating. Try not to eat while working, watching TV, reading, using a computer, or driving. It’s very easy to overeat mindlessly.
- Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
- Stop eating before you are full. It takes time for the signal to reach your brain that you’ve had enough.
4. Fruits and vegetables to eat in moderation
Fruits and vegetables of all colors, shapes, and sizes are major players in a healthy diet as we all know. But, you still need to watch out for the following potential diet busters.
- Vegetables that have been breaded or fried or doused in heavy sauces are no longer low-calorie, so be cautious. Opt for healthier cooking methods, such as steaming, and use low-fat dressings and spices for flavor.
- Salads are guilt-free – unless you drench them in high-fat dressing and toppings. You can, add some nuts or cheese, but remember not to overdo it.
- Be careful when it comes to dried fruits, which are high in calories and, often, in added sugar. If you do choose to snack on dried fruit, keep your serving size small.
- There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of juice every now and then. But remember that the calories quickly add up, without doing much to make you feel full. Also make sure that your drink of choice is made from 100% fruit juice and contains no added sugar.
5. Take charge of your food environment
Your weight loss efforts will succeed or fail based largely on your food environment. Set yourself up for success by taking charge of your food environment: when you eat, how much you eat, and what foods are available.
- Start the day with breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to be thinner than those who don’t. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will jump-start your metabolism and will help keep you out from beginning all throughout the day.
- Serve yourself smaller portions. One easy way to control portion size is by using small plates, bowls, and cups. This will make your portions appear larger.
- Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. You will be more inclined to eat in moderation if you have thought out healthy meals and snacks in advance.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Limit the amount of tempting foods you have at home.
6. Make healthy lifestyle changes
In addition to your food and eating-related choices, you can also support your weight loss and dieting efforts by making healthy lifestyle choices.
- Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to have a direct link to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep a night.
- Turn off the TV. You actually burn less calories watching television than you do sleeping! If you simply can’t miss your favorite shows, get a little workout in while watching. Do easy exercises like squats, sit-ups, jogging in place, or using resistance bands or hand weights.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise is a dieter’s best friend! It not only burns calories, but can actually improve your resting metabolism. Research shows that three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good as one 30-minute workout.
- Drink more water. You can easily reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing soda, alcohol, or coffee with water. Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking water, you may avoid consuming extra calories, plus it will help you break down food more easily.
By applying these weight loss tips, you now have an effective weight loss methodology at your fingertips that you can use to start burning up plenty of calories, sticking to your diet plan, and achieving long-term success on your health.
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