Ditch the Diet: 9 Tips that will help you with losing weight the healthy way.
With over a third of adults in the U.S. overweight or obese, excess weight is becoming a major public health concern.
Although looking good can be a great motivator, weighing too much is far from being solely an aesthetic concern: the health risks of being overweight or obese are immense, not to mention costly.
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for a variety of diseases, including:
- Heart disease
The good news, however, is that there’s a simple way to lower your risk for these diseases: losing weight. Losing weight the healthy way doesn’t have to be complicated - there are simple solutions to shedding those extra pounds.
The first thing you should do is stop dieting.
Giving up on dieting to lose weight may seem counter intuitive, but to lose weight and keep it off, it’s essential. Rather than trying the latest diet craze or weight loss supplement, focus instead on making healthy lifestyle changes.
Read on for 9 easy changes you can make for losing weight the healthy way.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Don’t expect to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. Unsafe dieting practices like starvation or over-exercising can lead to many health problems, and can also create a cycle called “yo-yo dieting”, during which an individual rapidly loses weight but gains all (or more) of it back.
Remember: slow and steady wins the race. A healthy weight loss goal to strive for is between 1 to 2 pounds a week. This type of consistent weight loss gives the body time to adjust, which is essential if you want to maintain your goal weight once you reach it.
2. Start Your Day With a Healthy Breakfast
There’s something to be said for the old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Having a healthy meal in the morning with a good balance of carbs, fats, and protein will help jump-start your metabolism. Skipping breakfast will only slow it down, and set you up to eat more later in the day.
3. Eat More to Lose More
The speed of your metabolism dictates how many calories you burn on an average day, and eating smaller meals more frequently will help speed up your natural calorie burner. Eating smaller meals throughout the day will also help you stay satiated, which will help prevent overeating.
4. Pick a Goal Weight
Instead of deciding to just “lose weight”, set a specific goal weight. Having a destination in mind will help you stay focused on your weight loss journey. You can even set mile stones for yourself, and reward yourself when you reach mini-goals. Some great non-food rewards include new clothing or a trip to the spa.
5. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for life, but many of us don’t drink enough of it each day. Not only is water essential for cells to stay hydrated and healthy, it can also curb appetite because we often mistake hunger for thirst. As your reading this, grab a glass of water - your body will thank you.
6. Avoid Excess Sugar
Extra sugar, especially processed and refined sugars such as corn syrup, are terrible for your waistline. Eating lots of sugar can also make you crave more of it, creating a cycle that can be hard to get out of.
To stay satiated, eat lots of whole fruits and vegetables, whole wheat grains, and protein-rich foods. If you need a sugar fix, a fresh piece of fruit is healthy and low in calories, and will help satisfy your sweet tooth
7. Watch Your Fat Intake
Contrary to popular diet belief, fat is an essential macro-nutrient, and should not be cut out entirely. However, fat contains the most calories per gram of any macro-nutrient, so it’s important to check the fat content of certain foods.
The average adult needs between 40 and 65 grams of fat per day. Remember, not all fats are created equal. Try to stick to healthy fats, like the omega-3 fats found in fish, olive oil and nuts.
8. Stay Active
Exercise is key to both weight loss and weight maintenance. Exercise can mean anything from a gym routine, to taking the stairs whenever possible. Throughout your day, find ways to stay active, and find an activity you enjoy, like dancing or swimming. If you enjoy your exercise routine, it will be easier to stick to.
9. Get a Healthy Amount of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can increase your chances of gaining weight. Being sleep deprived slows your metabolism and can even increase cravings. For good mental and physical health, try to get between six and eight hours of sleep each night.
Remember, losing weight doesn’t have to involve diet gimmicks or short term fixes. Working on these lifestyle changes will help you reach your goal weight and maintain it. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to losing weight the healthy way and keeping it off.