How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
What’s the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick any diet book and it will claim to hold all of the answers to successfully losing all of the weight you want–and keeping it off. Some claim the important thing is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only way to go, while others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you think?
The truth is that 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, based on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will probably take time and require patience, dedication, and some experimentation with various foods and diets.
While some people respond well to counting calories or similar restrictive methods, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight-loss programs. Being free to simply 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 somebody else doesn’t work for you. And do not beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. In the end, a diet is only right for you if it is one that 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, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss plans
1. Cut calories Some experts believe that successfully managing your weight comes down to a simple equation: If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. Sounds easy, right? Then why is losing weight so hard?
Weight loss isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you may drop weight for the first couple of weeks, by way of instance, and then something changes. You eat the same amount of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. That’s because when you shed weight you’re losing water and lean tissue in addition to fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in different ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight each week, you need to continue cutting calories.
A calorie is not always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, as an example, 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 calories (such as vegetables).
A lot folks 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 way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but rather the way in which the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates–in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates in the meals enter your bloodstream as glucose. 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 eat a carbohydrate-rich meal (lots of rice, pasta, bread, or French fries, for example), your body releases insulin to help with the influx of all this glucose into your blood. In addition to 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 sugar ) and it creates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can not burn off. The 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 so begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbohydrates and gaining weight. To lose weight, the reasoning goes, you 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 is a mainstay of many diets: if you do not want to get fat, do not eat fat. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you will be bombarded with reduced-fat snacks, dairy, and packed meals. But while our low-fat options have exploded, so have obesity prices. So, why haven’t low-fat diets worked for more of us?
Not all fat is bad. Healthy or”good” fats can actually help to control your weight, in addition to 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 to a plate of vegetables, for instance, can make it easier to eat healthful food and enhance the overall quality of your diet.
We often make the wrong trade-offs. A lot people make the mistake of swapping fat to the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Rather than eating whole-fat yoghurt, for instance, we consume low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor. We swap our greasy breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut which leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar.
4. Adhere to the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs along with large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, and olive oil–and only small amounts of meat and cheese. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others will also be important components.
Whatever weight loss strategy you try, it is important to remain motivated and prevent common dieting drawbacks, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat only to satisfy hunger. Frequently, 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 tired, tired, or lonely? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss attempts. If you eat when you’re:
Low on energy — locate other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or taking a short nap.
Lonely or bored — reach out to others instead of reaching for the fridge. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or visit the library, mall, or playground –anywhere there is people.
Practice mindful eating instead
Avoid distractions while eating. Try not to eat while working, watching TV, or driving. It is 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 rather than a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you’re full. It takes time for the signal to achieve your brain that you’ve had enough. Don’t feel obligated to always clean your plate.
Permanent weight loss requires making healthy changes to your lifestyle and food choices.
Find a cheering section. Apps like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to affect 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 require.
Losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel lethargic, drained, and ill. Aim to lose one to two pounds a week so that you’re losing fat rather than water and muscle.
Set goals to keep you motivated. Short-term goals, like needing 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 monitor your progress. Smartphone programs, 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. Deficiency of sleep stimulates your appetite so you would like more food than normal; at precisely the exact 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.
You may have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of individuals who lose weight on a diet will regain it within 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 plans fail in the long run. Often that’s just because diets that are too restrictive are very hard to keep over time. However, that doesn’t mean your weight loss efforts are doomed to failure. Far from it.
Since it was created in 1994, The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in the United States, has monitored 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’ve been successful in keeping their weight loss share some common strategies.
Stay physically active. Successful dieters at the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat every day helps to keep you accountable and motivated.
Eat breakfast daily. Most commonly in the study, it’s fruit and cereal.
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, enabling you to promptly take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a display can be a key part of adopting a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.