Losing weight for anyone is a challenge; if it weren’t everyone would maintain a healthy weight and there wouldn’t be so many fad diets, pills, weight loss teas and other propaganda on the market that consumers swarm to. Unfortunately, many of these things either don’t work or are short lived solutions. Losing weight takes dedication, hard work and consistency and that is the bottom line. But it isn’t impossible; in fact it is an attainable goal if you do it right. Here is how to lose weight in five easy steps.
Too many people resort to starvation tactics when trying to lose weight and the theory itself is counterproductive once you learn how our bodies actually work. While it is true that you do have to reduce your caloric intake in order to lose weight, this is entirely different than starving yourself. When you deprive your body of food, you are also taking away energy that it needs to sustain itself and that is never healthy. Additionally, while at first you may drop a few pounds by doing this, ultimately our bodies are smarter than we are.
After a short period of time, the body will go into panic mode once it realizes you are not feeding it regularly and it will automatically go into ‘starvation mode.’ During this time you body will hoard what little food and fat it has because it needs to survive and doesn’t know when it will get food next. Starvation mode automatically slows down your metabolism and a quick metabolism is the key to shedding pounds. In layman’s terms all starving your body does is force it to hang on to excess fat.
A balanced and healthy diet is one of the fastest ways to lose weight. Foods that contain a lot of sugar, fat and high amounts of carbohydrates will pack on pounds quickly. And eating breakfast is essential as it will kick your metabolism into high gear early on in the day and as you intake more food it will keep running and burning off calories.
Knowing which are the right and wrong foods can be a feat in itself but a good rule to go by is whenever possible eat foods that are green, leafy and fresh. Foods sold in packages, cans and otherwise are loaded with preservatives, fat and carbohydrates of the unhealthy kind. Keep your diet high in fruits, vegetables, protein, fiber and a nominal amount of carbohydrates as they give your body a great source of energy.
Often times it’s not what we eat so much as how much we eat. If you love pasta, it doesn’t have to be missing from your lifestyle, you simply have to eat an acceptable portion. For many the practice of portion control will be difficult at first because in general we grossly underestimate how much we eat and what an actual serving is. Pasta certainly shouldn’t be eaten every day because it is high in dense carbohydrates and loaded with natural sugar. But once or twice a week is fine-at a normal serving which for the average person is about a cup cooked. Restaurants these days are much to blame for our obesity because their portions are often two to three times the amount that we need at a given meal!
A controlled portion of red meat should be the size of a deck of cards or as big as the palm of your hand. Starches should be a cup or under and vegetables on the whole are free game; in fact, the majority of your plate should consist of colorful veggies of all kinds-and watch the butter and salt added!
Losing weight vastly has to do with what we eat and how much, however, to drop unwanted pounds you have to remain active. Food provides energy for the body but the body can only hold and store so much before we notice our pants tightening. The additional calories, carbohydrates and fats need to be expended to lose weight and that can only be done through exercising.
Unless you are a fitness enthusiast, and few of us are, this news will likely make you cringe. But the good news is it takes only moderate exercise to lose weight and how you choose to be active is entirely up to you. The people who are most successful at losing weight and staying active are those who engage in activities that they love and that don’t feel like work!
Take up a new hobby of the sporting kind such as tennis which can burn as much as 600 calories an hour. If you love to dance, think about joining a dance group or a Zumba class. Dancing burns a ton of calories but since you’re having fun you won’t even notice that you are actually getting yourself into shape at the same time.
If you can, ask a friend to join you and you can keep each other motivated or start a neighborhood walking group. A brisk walk can burn a few hundred calories and it’s a great time to catch up on gossip or last night’s sporting event.
This sounds contradicting but diets fail more people than they help. Most are unrealistic and omit entirely food groups that our bodies actually need. Besides that just the word ‘diet’ is enough to make anyone crazy because it implies limiting things that we love.
Instead, your weight loss goal and plan should be a lifestyle change and it shouldn’t all be done at once. The pounds you gained did not happen overnight and you won’t get rid of them overnight either. Begin by making subtle changes to your diet; eating smaller portions and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. Go for a walk two or three nights or mornings a week. Eliminate one snack that you normally would have during the day. All of these small changes will get you ready for a bigger lifestyle change in the end.
And allow yourself one cheat day! This does not mean that you can eat everything in sight all day but it does mean that if you want a small treat you should have it. By denying ourselves guilty pleasures all the time, we are setting ourselves up for failure and that will make you miserable. This also leads to binges which are also counterproductive. Have a treat on your cheat day but make it a smaller portion and later in the day do an activity as well. This will ensure that you don’t feel deprived, but you’re also being smart about your choices.