Losing weight is a concern for many individuals but, unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Countless individuals fall victim to fad diets which guarantee quick results and a lasting transformation. Sadly, these claims are often untrue, leaving people feeling defeated and hopeless about reaching their weight loss goals.
If you are hoping to lose weight, it is important that you do so in a healthy way. Losing weight too quickly or through unhealthy means can not only damage your body but it can also be difficult to sustain long-term. To lose weight the healthy way, and to keep it off for good, follow these simple weight loss rules.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
You may be tempted to skip breakfast simply for the sake of “saving” those calories for later. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who do not. It is thought that eating within 2 hours of waking will reduce your hunger throughout the day and may also help you to make healthier choices.
Eating breakfast will also keep you from getting too hungry during the day, thus making you less likely to indulge in that unhealthy choice. By eating breakfast, you will also have more energy to get things done throughout the day and to remain active.
Studies have shown that eating small meals throughout the day rather than eating two or three large meals can help you reach your weight loss goals. By eating small meals every few hours you can keep your hunger down, thus preventing you from snacking and taking in extra calories that you don’t need. If you wait too long between meals you may find yourself more likely to give in to those unhealthy snacks.
Exercise Portion Control
If you are going to eat often, you will need to make sure to control your portions at each meal. Unfortunately, the typical American diet seems to follow the rule “bigger is better” when, in reality, one “normal” American meal may contain your entire days’ worth of calories. To help yourself control your portions, always serve yourself up a small amount of food rather than sitting down with the whole box.
If you are cooking for yourself, only cook enough for one serving so you are not tempted to go back for seconds. You may also find it helpful to take more time with eating – chew eat bite 10 times before swallowing and drink a large glass of water with every meal. Most importantly, only eat until you are satisfied, not until you’re full.
Maybe you’ve tried weight-loss shakes or supplements that promise you won’t have to change your current eating or exercise habits in order to lose weight. While some people may see results using these products, slim-quick gimmicks are not the way to go for healthy weight loss. The simple science of the matter is that, in order to lose weight, you need to expend (or burn) more calories than you take in.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend all day on the treadmill to burn the 1,400 or 2,000 you eat during the day – remember that your body burns a significant number of those calories just by maintaining natural bodily functions.
Your body requires a minimum number of calories just to function on a daily basis (this is called your resting metabolic rate) so you only need to worry about the calories that go over that amount. Cutting just 100 to 300 calories per day from your diet can help you to achieve your healthy weight loss goals.
Get off the Scale
If you are trying to lose weight, you may be tempted to hop on the scale every day (or multiple times a day) to evaluate your progress. This can be very dangerous for weight loss, however, because it is very easy to become discouraged.
Your weigh will naturally fluctuate from one day to the next (even from one hour to the next) so weighing yourself too often may become frustrating. One day you might step on the scale and find that you are three pounds down while, the next day, you are heavier than the day before.
It is important to keep track of your weight if you want to achieve weight loss but try to only weigh yourself once a week. Pick a certain day of the week for your weigh-in and weigh yourself at the same time each week, first thing in the morning.
Choose Healthy Snacks
If you are hungry, have a snack but be sure to make a healthy choice. There is no reason you should deny yourself if you are feeling hungry but don’t look at it as an excuse to eat your way through a bag of potato chips or an ice cream sundae. Rather, choose something healthy like an apple or a handful of nuts that will satisfy your hunger while also providing your body with healthy nutrients.
Limit Carb Intake
While you do not have to completely cut out carbs in order to achieve weight loss, limiting your carbohydrate intake can help you to achieve your goals. High-carb foods like bread and pasta are high in calories without providing the body with many nutrients.
These foods are also more likely to have a high-glycemic index which means that they may cause a quick spike in blood sugar followed by a later drop. High-glycemic index foods are good for a quick burst of energy but if you want to feel fuller longer, try eating a high-protein or high-fiber snack instead.
Get Rid of Junk Food
Eating a candy bar once in a while or having dinner out with the family isn’t going to completely ruin your weight loss. You should, however, be mindful of the kind of food you are eating and try to limit your intake of high-fat and sugary foods.
Junk food may satisfy your cravings but it will not provide your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Processed foods are also much higher in calories than fruits and vegetables so you cannot eat as much of it to stay within your calorie goal.
Rather than trying to cut out junk food completely, try to limit yourself to one snack per day or a little indulgence a few times a week. If you let yourself have a little bit of your favorite junk foods in moderation you are less likely to break down and overindulge later.
Don’t Get Too Hungry
Many people are under the impression that the less you eat, the more weight you will lose. While this may be true at first for some people, the body will eventually adjust to a lower calorie intake and you r weight loss might stall.
It may sound counterintuitive but, in order to lose weight, you have to eat. Food (and calories) is fuel for your body and you cannot live without it. Don’t try to starve yourself or force yourself to wait an extra hour between meals. If you let yourself get too hungry not only may you become tired or irritable, but you may also be more likely to overindulge when it does come time to eat.
Moderate cardiovascular exercise is the key to achieving and maintaining healthy weight loss. If you want to lose fat, you will need to burn calories and the most effective way of doing that is through cardiovascular exercise.
If you are severely overweight or unused to being active, start off slow by taking a few short walks during the week. As you improve your cardiovascular fitness you may be able to go for longer walks or even start running.
Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training can be extremely beneficial for weight loss because it elevates your heart rate, helping you to burn more calories during a shorter period of time. Incorporating a few 15-minute sessions of high-intensity interval training each week can be very beneficial.
Start Strength Training
You probably already know that exercise is important for weight loss, but you may not realize that strength training is equally beneficial. While cardiovascular exercise may help you to burn calories and lose weight, strength training will help you keep it off.
By incorporating some strength training into your weekly exercise regimen (in addition to cardio) you can increase your muscle mass which will ramp up your metabolism, helping you to burn calories faster.
As you start strength training, do not be concerned if you do not see any movement on the scale – remember that muscle weighs more than fat and just because you aren’t dropping any pounds doesn’t mean that you aren’t losing weight. Try taking measurements of your waist, hips and thighs to track your progress.
Remember, weight loss is a long-term goal – it took time for you to gain the weight so it makes sense that you should take your time in losing it. Slow and healthy weight loss is the key to keeping the weight off for good, so follow these rules to achieve your goal!