We have a lot going on in our lives, and with trying to lose weight, it can all feel a bit overwhelming, but it does not have to be that way.
Eat less, exercise more. It sounds simple enough, and we know we should eat right and exercise, yet we tend to put our health on the bottom of our to-do list. By making a few basic changes, losing weight can be easier than you think.
Fad diets and crash diets never work long term and any weight you may lose will be water weight and impossible to keep off. Most fad diets limit you to only a few certain foods; diets that are that restricted are not easy to stick to, and soon you find yourself right back where you started, gaining your weight back and sometimes more.
Class reunions, weddings, vacations, we all want to look our best for special occasions. It is common to lose weight fast on a crash diet. Keep in mind this is not a healthy way to lose that extra weight, since losing weight too fast leads to muscle loss and lowers metabolism.
Crash diets are a temporary fix
Be patient. Research shows that losing weight at a slower pace makes it easier to keep the weight off.
Long term weight loss requires a change in lifestyle. Learn to make smarter choices, and before too long, it will become easier to turn down that slice of cake!
Below are a few simple tips and tricks to help lose weight without all the stress and frustration:
Avoid sugary drinks
It is common practice to grab a soda, sports drink, or high-energy drink for a quick boost. Most people make the mistake of believing that most calories come from food alone, in reality, many calories consumed are the result of sugary drinks. A John Hopkins University study showed that people lost more weight in six months by eliminating high-calorie drinks instead of whole foods.
Limit portion sizes
Many people overeat simply because they lack a clear knowledge of correct portion sizes. Research shows that in the last 14 years, portion sizes have increased by 33%. Always read labels, you may be surprised to find that most portion sizes are only half a cup to one cup measurements and that correct portion size for a serving of meat, fish or poultry, equals the size of a deck of cards. A good trick to remember is using smaller plates at mealtime. This gives the illusion of more food than what is actually there.
It is difficult to estimate the number of calories consumed while eating out. Restaurants serve most meals on large plates, resulting in larger portion sizes, sometimes two or even three times larger than recommended. Plus, most restaurants add extra oils and sauces to enhance the flavor of the food. Eating in, and cooking your own meals, gives you more control over the ingredients and fat calories in the dish.
It is easy to get hooked on fast food, simply because it is very inexpensive, there is a wide variety to choose from, it is fast, and kids love it! Be smart when placing your food order, calories add up quickly at fast-food restaurants. Here are a few basic tips to follow when eating out:
- Do not supersize. Save the 50 cents and all those extra calories!
- Order a kid’s meal for smaller portions.
- Skip the fries. Some fast-food chains offer a healthier substitute.
- Order an appetizer instead of a full meal; the smaller portion is a healthier choice.
- When ordering a full-size plate, eat half, and have the rest bagged to take with you.
- Order all dressing and sauces on the side; this way, you control serving size.
- Stay away from fried foods. Order baked, broiled, roasted, boiled, or grilled.
- Start the meal with a salad or low-fat soup; you will likely eat less of the main course.
- Say no to bread and chips being served before and during meals.
- Skip sodas. A low-calorie soft drink, unsweetened tea, or water, is best.
Most food companies know that by labeling their packages “only 100 calories,” the consumer will assume the snack is a healthy choice, and neglect to read the full nutritional label. Without knowing the amount of sodium and sugar content, it is easy to consume more calories than expected. Make your own snack packs by filling baggies with dark chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, or any healthy snack. Keep pre-made snacks available, and it is likely you will not reach for that high-calorie snack.
Intermittent fasting can be a great alternative to other diet plans. You will see its benefits in long term. It will change your eating habits and prevent you from overeating and will help you keep yourself in shape.
Focus on what you eat
Always focus on the food you are eating. Studies show we tend to lose track of the calories we consume if we’re distracted.
Write down everything you put in your mouth. Keeping track of what you eat will help you see where you need to make changes.
Make exercise fun
Getting in shape does not necessarily mean a gym membership. Exercising can be riding a bike, jogging, hiking, or whatever you find most enjoyable. Take a friend along and it feels more like hanging out and not working out!
We all want to look and feel our best. But, it can be hard to stay motivated, it is easy to find ourselves right back where we started. Do not give up. Make your mind up to try again; you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!