What’s the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all of the answers to successfully losing all of 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 may 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 is right for you will probably take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with various foods and diets.
Being 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 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 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 healthy relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss strategies
1. Cut calories Some experts feel that successfully managing your weight comes down to a simple equation: If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. Sounds simple, right? Then 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 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 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 continue cutting calories.
A calorie is not always a calorie. Eating 100 calories of high fructose corn syrup, as an instance, may 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 complete (like candy) and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with carbs (like vegetables).
A lot folks don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort or to relieve stress–that can quickly derail any weight loss plan.
2. Cut carbs A different way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but instead the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbs –in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the meals enter your bloodstream as glucose. So as to keep your glucose levels in check, your body burns off this sugar before it burns 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 help with the influx of all this glucose in 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 off the glucose) and it generates more fat cells for keeping everything that your body can not burn off. Since insulin only burns carbohydrates, you crave carbs and so 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 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 intake 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 carb 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, in addition to 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 to a plate of vegetables, as an instance, can make it easier to eat healthful food and improve the overall quality of your diet.
Many people make the mistake of swapping fat to the empty calories of sugar and processed carbohydrates. Instead of eating whole-fat yoghurt, for example, we consume low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor. Or we swap our fatty breakfast bacon for a muffin or donut which 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 amounts of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fish, and olive oil–and only modest amounts of meat and cheese. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others are also 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 stressed or anxious, which can mess any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you are tired, tired, or lonely? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make a big difference in your weight-loss attempts. If you eat when you are:
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 is people.
Avoid distractions while eating. Try not to eat while working, watching TV, or driving. It’s too easy to 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 how it tastes.
Mix things up to focus on the experience of eating. Consider using chopsticks rather than a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you are full. It takes time for the signal to achieve your brain that you’ve had enough.
Permanent weight loss requires making healthy changes to your lifestyle and food choices. To stay motivated:
Social support means a lot. Apps like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to affect weight loss and lifelong healthy eating. Look for support–whether in the form of family, friends, or a support group–to get the encouragement you require.
Losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your body and mind, 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.
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, concentrate on the benefits you will reap from being healthier.
Use tools to track your progress. Smartphone apps, fitness trackers, or simply 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 you stay motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Deficiency of sleep stimulates your appetite so you would like more food than normal; at 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 in just a couple of years–or even months. Even though there isn’t much hard evidence to support that claim, it is a fact that many weight-loss plans 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 attempts are doomed to failure. Far from it.
Since it was established in 1994, The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in the United States, 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.
Stay physically active. Successful dieters at the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat each day will help to keep you accountable and motivated.
Eat breakfast daily. 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 check the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may enable you to detect any little gains in weight, enabling you to immediately take corrective action before the problem escalates.
Cutting back on the time spent sitting in front of a display may be a key part of embracing a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.