How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Pick any diet book and it will claim to hold all 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 thing to do, while others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you think?
The truth is there is no”one size fits all” solution to permanent healthier 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, dedication, and some experimentation with various 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 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 someone else does not work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stay with. Ultimately, a diet is only suitable for you if it is one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there’s no simple fix to losing weight, there are loads of steps you can take to develop a healthy relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss strategies
1. Sounds easy, right? Why is losing weight so hard?
Losing weight isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you might drop weight for the first few weeks, for example, and then something changes. You eat the same amount of calories but you lose less weight or no weight in any way. 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 keep on dropping weight every 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 do not make you feel full (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. 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 rather the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbs –specifically 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 off fat from a meal.
If you consume a carbohydrate-rich meal (plenty of pasta, rice, bread, or French fries, for example), your body releases insulin to assist 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 (since its priority is to burn off the sugar ) and it generates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can’t burn off. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbohydrates and thus begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbs 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 carbohydrates with fat and protein, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do attempt 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 rates.
Not all fat is bad. 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 small tasty olive oil to a plate of vegetables, as an instance, can make it easier to eat healthy food and improve the overall quality of your diet.
Many people make the mistake of substituting fat for the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Instead of eating whole-fat yoghurt, for instance, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to make up for the loss of taste. We swap our greasy breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut that leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar.
4. Follow the Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs together with large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, 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 major components.
Whatever weight loss strategy you try, it’s important to stay motivated and prevent common dieting drawbacks, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. Frequently, 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 worried, bored, or lonely? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts. If you eat when you are:
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. Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or taking a brief nap.
Lonely or bored — reach out to others rather than reaching for the fridge. 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.
It’s too easy to mindlessly overeat.
Pay attention. Eat slowly, savoring the scents 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 are full. It takes a while for the signal to reach your brain that you have had enough.
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 find the encouragement you require.
Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your body and mind, 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.
Establish goals to keep you motivated. Short-term goals, like needing 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, 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 can help you stay motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Lack of sleep stimulates your appetite so you want more food than normal; at precisely the exact 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 per 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 within 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 term. Often that’s just because diets that are too restrictive are very tough to maintain over time. However, that doesn’t mean your weight loss efforts are doomed to failure.
Since it was created 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.
Successful dieters in the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat each day will help to keep you motivated and accountable.
Eat breakfast every day. Most commonly in the analysis, 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 help you to detect any little gains in weight, helping you to promptly take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Watch less television. Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a screen may be an integral part of embracing a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.