How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Pick up any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all the answers to successfully losing all of 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 out carbs. So, what should you think?
The truth is that there is no”one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy 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 find the system of weight loss that is ideal for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, 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 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 doesn’t work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. In the end, a diet is simply suitable for you if it’s 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 emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss plans
1. Sounds easy, right? Then why is losing weight so hard?
Losing weight isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you might shed weight for the first couple of weeks, by way of instance, and then something changes. You eat the same number of calories but you lose 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 other ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight every week, you want to continue cutting calories.
A calorie isn’t 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 alleviate stress–that 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 the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates–specifically the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates in the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. So as to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body burns off this sugar before it burns off fat from a meal.
If you consume a carbohydrate-rich meal (lots of pasta, rice, bread, or French fries, for instance ), your body releases insulin to help with the influx of all this glucose in your blood. As well as regulating blood glucose 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 keeping everything that your body can’t 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 fat and protein, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake 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 do not want to get fat, do not eat fat. Walk down any grocery store aisle and you’ll 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 of us?
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 healthy food and enhance the overall quality of your diet.
A lot people make the mistake of swapping fat for 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 compensate for the loss of taste. We swap our greasy breakfast bacon to get a muffin or donut which causes rapid spikes in blood glucose.
4. Adhere to the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs along with large quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil–and only modest amounts of meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is more than just about food, though. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others will also be important elements.
Whatever weight loss strategy you try, it’s important to remain 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 anxious or stressed, which can mess any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you are worried, bored, or lonely? Do you bite 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.
Low on energy — find other mid-afternoon pick-me-ups.
Lonely or bored — reach out to others instead of reaching for the refrigerator. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or go to the library, mall, or playground –anywhere there’s people.
Avoid distractions while eating. Try not to eat while working, watching TV, or driving. It’s too easy to mindlessly overeat.
Pay attention. Eat slowly, savoring the smells and textures of your food.
Mix things up to focus 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’re full. It takes time for the signal to reach your brain that you have had enough. Do not feel obligated to always clean your plate.
Find a cheering section. Social support means a lot. Programs such as 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 require.
Losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and ill. Aim to lose one to two pounds a week so that you’re losing fat rather than water and muscle.
Short-term goals, like wanting to fit into a bikini for the summer, usually don’t 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 will reap from being fitter.
Use tools to monitor your progress. Smartphone apps, fitness trackers, or just keeping a journal can help you keep track of the food you consume, the calories you burn, and the weight you lose. Seeing the results in black and white can help keep you motivated.
Get plenty of sleep. Deficiency of sleep stimulates your appetite so you want more food than normal; at 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 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. While 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 simply because diets that are too restrictive are very hard to maintain 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 monitored 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 have been successful in keeping their weight loss share some common strategies. Whatever diet you use to lose weight in the first place, adopting these habits may help you to keep it off:
Successful dieters in the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat each day helps to keep you motivated and accountable.
Eat breakfast daily. Most commonly in the analysis, it’s fruit and cereal. Eating breakfast boosts metabolism and staves off hunger later in the day.
Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat than the typical American diet.
Regularly check 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 adopting a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.