If you are trying to lose weight, and are aiming for a healthy weight loss, try to avoid fad diets and counting calories.
Instead, follow these simple tips for losing weight gradually and keeping the weight off:
Don’t call it a “diet”
If you look at this as a temporary ordeal that you have to go through in order to lose weight, then go back to your old habits, you will do just that: suffer through a few weeks of limited food intake, then go back to your old habits and regain all the weight you’ve lost. Instead, you should aim for a lifestyle change. Make changes gradually. Incorporate a healthy new habit once a week, or once a month. Once you have incorporated a habit into your routine, such as drinking 8 glasses of water per day, move on to the next habit.
Set realistic goals
This is related to the previous point. Pace yourself: the journey to achieve a healthy weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. If you set unrealistic goals, such as losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks, you will set yourself up for failure. Instead, decide on small, attainable goals, such as losing 1 pound per week.
Never Skip breakfast
Breakfast not only keeps you from being ravenous and overeating come lunchtime, research also shows it helps jump start your metabolism earlier in the day, so that you burn more calories overall than if you started eating later in the day.
Don’t eat too few calories
If you don’t eat enough, your body will go into starvation mode and will become extremely efficient at using the calories it does get. The result: a slower metabolism, which will make it harder to lose weight.
Avoid eating too little during the day
If you are ravenous by the time you get home, you will likely overeat at the dinner table. Instead, spread your food intake over the entire day. It is a good idea to have 3 meals and 2 small snacks every day.
Incorporate exercise into your routine
Exercise burns calories and builds muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat tissue, even while you rest. Exercise also makes you feel good, tones your muscles and helps you stay healthy. Even if you can lose weight without exercising, you should incorporate exercise into your routine for health reasons. And if you must have a shallow reason to exercise, remember that it is completely possible to be thin and flabby.
Focus on your health, not on your looks
Sure, we all want to look good. Most people would lie if they said that they are losing weight only for health reasons. But focusing only on looking good is a mistake. You should lose weight only if you are overweight to begin with, and you should lose that weight and exercise regularly because it will make you healthier and will improve the quality of your life.
Don’t focus on the numbers
Try not to focus on the number you see on the scale. Try not to weigh yourself too much (once a week should be enough for most people). If you focus too much on your weight, normal weight fluctuations could discourage you to the point of giving up. Instead, try to focus on how you feel. Are you feeling strong and healthy and energized now that you are eating better? Do your clothes fit better?
Don’t rely on diet foods
Since you are aiming for a lifestyle change, it is important not to rely too much on diet products which are expensive and often unhealthy. Instead, try to eat small quantities of high quality, nutritious foods. Remember Michael Pollan’s excellent advice: ‘Eat food. Not too Much. Mostly plants.’
Don’t be too strict
Since healthy weight loss is a long-term thing, it is important to allow yourself a treat once in a while. Whether it’s a small treat once a day, or a bigger weekly indulgence, is up to you. The idea is, that if you want to be able to do this long-term, you have to allow yourself a treat now and then.
Don’t fall for a fad diet
You’ve probably heard about many of them: cabbage soup diet, fruit juice diet, grapefruit diet, Atkins, South Beach, and more. They don’t work long-term because they are too restrictive, or weird, or both. Remember: to achieve healthy weight loss, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Photo credit: The Wandering Angel