Pick any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all of the answers to successfully losing all the weight you want–and keeping it off. Some claim the key 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 healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies react differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To locate the method of weight loss that’s ideal for you will probably take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with various foods and diets.
Getting free to just avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbohydrates can set them up for success. So, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for someone else does not work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only suitable for you if it is one that you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are loads of steps you can take to develop a healthy 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 over time. When you cut calories, you might shed weight for the first few weeks, by way of example, and then something changes. You eat the same number of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. 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 different ways. So, so as to continue dropping weight every week, you want to keep on cutting calories.
A calorie is not always a calorie. The trick for sustained weight loss is to ditch the foods that are packed with calories but do not make you feel full (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with calories (such as vegetables).
Many of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort or to relieve stress–which can quickly derail any weight loss plan.
2. Cut carbs A different means of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as none of consuming too many calories, but instead the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates–in particular the use of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as sugar. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this sugar before it burns off fat from a meal.
If you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal (plenty 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 sugar levels, insulin does two things: It prevents your fat cells from releasing fat for the body to burn as fuel (because its priority is to burn the glucose) and it generates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can not burn off. The end result is that you gain weight and your body now requires more fuel to burn, so you eat more. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbs 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 carbs.
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 loads 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 will be bombarded with reduced-fat snacks, dairy, and packaged meals. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity prices. So, why haven’t low-fat diets worked for more people?
Healthy or”good” fats can actually help to control your weight, as well as manage your moods and fight fatigue. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, tofu, and fatty fish can help fill you up, while adding a small tasty olive oil into a plate of vegetables, as an instance, can make it easier to eat healthful food and enhance the overall quality of your diet.
Many of us make the mistake of substituting fat for the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Rather than eating whole-fat yoghurt, for instance, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor. We swap our fatty breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut that causes rapid spikes in blood glucose.
4. Follow the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs together with large quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, nuts, and olive oil–and only small amounts of meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is more than just about food, however. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others are also major components.
Whatever weight loss plan you try, it is important to stay motivated and avoid common dieting drawbacks, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat only to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re stressed or anxious, which can mess any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you are tired, tired, or lonely? Do you snack in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make a big difference in your weight-loss attempts. If you eat when you’re:
Stressed — find healthier ways to calm yourself. Try yoga, meditation, or soaking in a hot bath.
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 go to the library, mall, or park–anywhere there’s people.
Practice mindful eating instead
Avoid distractions while eating. It is too easy to overeat.
Pay attention. Eat slowly, savoring the smells and textures of your food.
Mix things up to concentrate on the experience of eating. Consider using chopsticks as opposed to a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you are full. It takes time for the signal to reach your brain that you’ve had enough.
Find a cheering section. Programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to affect weight loss and lifelong healthy eating. Seek out support–whether in the kind of family, friends, or a support group–to find the encouragement you need.
Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and sick. Aim to lose one or two pounds a week so that you’re losing fat rather than muscle and water.
Short-term objectives, like needing to fit into a bikini for the summer, usually do not work in addition to needing to feel more confident or become healthier for your children’s sakes. When temptation strikes, concentrate on the benefits you’ll reap from being healthier.
Use tools to monitor your progress. Smartphone apps, fitness trackers, or just keeping a journal can help you keep track of the food you eat, the calories you burn, and the weight you lose. Seeing the results in black and white will help keep you motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Lack of sleep stimulates your appetite so you want more food than normal; at precisely the same time, it stops you feeling satisfied, making you want to keep eating. Sleep deprivation can also affect your motivation, so aim for eight hours of quality sleep a night.
Keeping the weight off
You may have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of people who lose weight on a diet will regain it in just a couple of 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 extremely hard to keep over time. However, that doesn’t mean your weight loss efforts are doomed to failure. Far from it.
Since it was established 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 extended periods of time. The study has found that participants who have been successful in maintaining their weight loss share some common strategies.
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. Eating breakfast boosts metabolism and staves off hunger later in the day.
Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat compared to the typical American diet.
Regularly assess the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may enable you to detect any small gains in weight, helping you to immediately take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Watch less television. Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a screen can be a key part of embracing a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.