The Way to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Pick any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all of the answers to successfully losing all the weight you need –and keeping it off. Some claim the important thing is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only thing to do, but others prescribe cutting carbs out. So, what should you believe?
The truth is there is no”one size fits all” solution to permanent healthier weight loss. What works for one person might not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To locate the method of weight loss that is ideal for you will probably take time and require patience, dedication, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.
While some people respond well to counting calories or similar restrictive procedures, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight-loss programs. Getting free to just avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbohydrates can set them up for success. Therefore, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for someone else does not work for you. And do not beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it is one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there is no simple fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, suppress psychological triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss strategies
1. Sounds easy, right? Why is losing weight so hard?
Weight loss isn’t a linear event with time. When you cut calories, you might drop weight for the first couple of weeks, for instance, and then something changes. You eat the same amount of calories but you lose weight or no weight in any way. That’s because once you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue in addition to fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, so as to keep on dropping weight each week, you need to keep on cutting calories.
A calorie is not always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, for instance, can have a different effect on your body than eating 100 calories of broccoli. The trick for sustained weight loss is to ditch the foods that are packed with calories but don’t make you feel complete (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with carbs (such as vegetables).
A lot of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. In addition, we turn to food for comfort or to relieve stress–which can quickly derail any weight loss program.
2. Cut carbs A different means of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as none of consuming too many calories, but instead the way in which the body accumulates fat after consuming carbs –in particular the use of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as sugar. So as to keep your glucose levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns fat from a meal.
If you consume a carbohydrate-rich meal (lots of rice, pasta, bread, or French fries, for instance ), your body releases insulin to assist with the influx of this glucose into your blood. As well as regulating blood glucose levels, insulin does two things: It prevents your fat cells from releasing fat to the body to burn as fuel (since its priority is to burn off the sugar ) and it creates more fat cells for keeping everything that your body can’t burn off. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbohydrates and thus begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbohydrates and gaining weight. To lose weight, the reasoning goes, you will need to break this cycle by reducing carbohydrates.
Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which may have some negative long-term effects on your health. Should you try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your consumption of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Cut fat It’s a mainstay of many diets: if you don’t want to get fat, don’t eat fat. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you’ll be bombarded with reduced-fat snacks, dairy, and packed meals. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity prices.
Healthy or”good” fats can actually help to control your weight, as well as manage your moods and combat fatigue. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, tofu, and fatty fish can help fill you up, while adding a little tasty olive oil into a plate of vegetables, for example, can make it easier to eat healthful food and enhance the overall quality of your diet.
Many people make the mistake of substituting fat to the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Instead of eating whole-fat yoghurt, for example, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to make up for the loss of flavor. Or we swap our fatty breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut that leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar.
4. Adhere to the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs together with large amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil–and only small amounts of meat and cheese. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others are also important components.
Whatever weight loss strategy you try, it is important to stay motivated and avoid common dieting pitfalls, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We do not always eat only to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re stressed or anxious, which can wreck any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you’re worried, bored, or lonely? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts. If you eat when you’re:
Stressed — find healthier ways to calm yourself.
Low on energy — find other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups.
Lonely or bored — reach out to others rather than reaching for the refrigerator. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or visit the library, mall, or playground –anywhere there’s people.
Practice mindful eating instead
Try not to eat while working, watching TV, or driving. It’s too easy to overeat.
Pay attention. Eat slowly, savoring the smells and textures of your food. If your mind wanders, gently return your attention to your food and the way it tastes.
Mix things up to concentrate on the experience of eating. Try using chopsticks as opposed to a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you are full. It takes a while for the signal to reach your brain that you’ve had enough. Don’t feel obligated to always clean your plate.
To stay motivated:
Find a cheering section. Programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to impact weight loss and lifelong healthy eating. Look for support–whether in the kind of family, friends, or a support group–to get the encouragement you need.
Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and ill. Aim to lose one or two pounds per week so that you’re losing fat rather than muscle and water.
Short-term goals, like wanting to fit into a bikini for the summer, usually do not work as well as wanting to feel more confident or become healthier for your children’s sakes. When temptation strikes, focus on the benefits you’ll reap from being healthier.
Use tools to track your progress. Smartphone apps, fitness trackers, or just keeping a journal can help you keep an eye on the food you eat, the calories you burn, and the weight you lose. Seeing the results in black and white can help you stay motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Lack of sleep stimulates your appetite so you want more food than normal; at the same time, it stops you feeling satisfied, making you want to keep eating. Sleep deprivation may also affect your motivation, so aim for eight hours of quality sleep per night.
Keeping the weight off
You may have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of individuals who lose weight on a diet will regain it in just a few years–or even months. Even though there isn’t much hard evidence to support that claim, it is true that lots of weight-loss programs fail in the long run. Often that’s simply because diets that are too restrictive are very tough to keep over time. However, that does not mean your weight loss attempts are doomed to failure. Far from it.
Since it was created in 1994, The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in america, has tracked over 10,000 people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. The study has found that participants who’ve been successful in maintaining their weight loss share some common strategies.
Stay physically active. Successful dieters in the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Keep a food log. Recording what you eat each day will help to keep you accountable and motivated.
Eat breakfast daily. Most commonly in the study, it’s cereal and fruit.
Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat than the standard American diet.
Regularly check the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may enable you to detect any small gains in weight, enabling you to promptly take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a screen may be a key part of embracing a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.