How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
What’s the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick up any diet book and it’ll claim to hold all 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 think?
The truth is that 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, based on genetics and other health factors. To find the system of weight loss that is ideal for you will probably take time and require patience, dedication, and some experimentation with different 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. Getting free to just avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbs 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 do not beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it is one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there is no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthy relationship with food, curb psychological triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss plans
1. Cut calories Some experts feel that successfully managing your weight comes down to a simple equation: If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. 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 instance, and then something changes. You eat the same amount of calories but you lose weight or no weight in any way. That’s because when you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue as well as fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight each week, you need to keep on cutting calories.
A calorie isn’t 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 (such as vegetables).
A lot of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. In addition, we 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 in which the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates–specifically the use of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates in the food enter your bloodstream as sugar. So as to keep your glucose levels in check, your body burns off this sugar before it burns off fat from a meal.
If you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal (plenty of pasta, rice, bread, or French fries, for instance ), your body releases insulin to help with the influx of this glucose into your blood. In addition to regulating blood sugar levels, insulin does two things: It prevents your fat cells from releasing fat to 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 carbs and thus begins a vicious cycle of consuming carbs 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 could 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 loads of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Cut fat It is 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 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?
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 little tasty olive oil into a plate of vegetables, as an example, can make it easier to eat healthy food and improve the overall quality of your diet.
Many of us make the mistake of swapping fat to the empty calories of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Rather than 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 to get a muffin or donut that leads to 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. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others will also be major elements.
Whatever weight loss plan you try, it’s important to stay motivated and prevent common dieting pitfalls, such as emotional eating.
Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re anxious or stressed, which can wreck any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you’re tired, tired, or lonely? Do you bite in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts. 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. Consider 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 is people.
Practice mindful eating instead
Try not to eat while working, watching TV, or driving. It is too easy to mindlessly 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. Social support means a lot. Apps such as 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 find the encouragement you require.
Slow and steady wins the race. Losing weight too quickly can take a toll on your body and mind, making you feel lethargic, drained, and ill. Aim to lose one or two pounds per week so you’re losing fat rather than water and muscle.
Short-term goals, 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 will reap from being healthier.
Use tools to track your progress. Smartphone programs, 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 keep you motivated.
Get a lot of sleep. Deficiency 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 might have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of people who lose weight on a diet will regain it within a few years–or even months. While 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 tough to keep 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 extended intervals. The study has found that participants who’ve been successful in maintaining their weight loss share some common strategies.
Stay physically active. Successful dieters at the NWCR study exercise for around 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat each day will help to keep you motivated and accountable.
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 than the standard American diet.
Regularly check the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may help you to detect any little 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 an integral part of embracing a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.