Pick up any diet book and it will claim to hold all of the answers to successfully losing all 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 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 locate the system of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, 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. Therefore, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for someone else does not work for you. And do not beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, 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, suppress psychological triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
Four popular weight loss strategies
1. Sounds simple, 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 couple of weeks, by way of 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, so as to keep on 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 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 carbs but do not 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 of us don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. In addition, we turn to food for comfort or to relieve stress–that can quickly derail any weight loss program.
2. Cut carbs A different means of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but instead the way in which the body accumulates fat after consuming carbs –specifically the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body 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 glucose 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 the sugar ) and it generates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can’t burn off. The end 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 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 may have some negative long-term effects on your health. Should you attempt a low-carb diet, you can lower 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 rates. So, why haven’t low-fat diets worked for more people?
Not all fat is bad. 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 into a plate of vegetables, for instance, 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. Rather than eating whole-fat yoghurt, by way of example, we eat low- or no-fat versions that are packed with sugar to compensate for the loss of flavor. Or we swap our greasy breakfast bacon to get 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 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 plan you try, it is important to stay motivated and avoid common dieting drawbacks, 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 stressed or anxious, which can mess any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you are worried, bored, or lonely? Do you snack 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 efforts. If you eat when you are:
Stressed — find healthier ways to calm yourself.
Low on energy — find 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 rather than reaching for the fridge. Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or visit the library, mall, or park–anywhere there’s people.
Practice mindful eating instead
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 smells 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 as opposed to a fork, or use your utensils with your non-dominant hand.
Stop eating before you’re full. It takes a while for the signal to achieve your brain that you have had enough. Do not feel obligated to always clean your plate.
Permanent weight loss requires making healthy changes to your lifestyle and food choices.
Social support means a lot. Apps like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers use group support to impact 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 fast can take a toll on your mind and body, making you feel sluggish, drained, and ill. Aim to lose one to two pounds per week so you’re losing fat rather than water and muscle.
Short-term objectives, like needing to fit into a bikini for the summer, usually don’t work in addition to 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 monitor your progress. Smartphone programs, fitness trackers, or simply keeping a journal can help you keep an eye on the food you consume, 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 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 a night.
Keeping the weight off
You may have heard the widely quoted statistic that 95% of individuals who lose weight on a diet will regain it in just a few 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 extremely 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 the United States, has monitored over 10,000 individuals 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 maintaining 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 at the NWCR study exercise for about 60 minutes, typically walking.
Recording what you eat every day will help to keep you motivated and accountable.
Eat breakfast every day. Most commonly in the study, it’s fruit and cereal. Eating breakfast boosts metabolism and staves off hunger later in the day.
Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat compared to the standard American diet.
Regularly assess the scale. Weighing yourself weekly may enable you to detect any small 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 adopting a more active lifestyle and preventing weight gain.