Lots of people – people of both sexes and all ages – want to lose weight. Maybe a little, maybe a lot but they know they want to shed some pounds. And in order to do so many people turn to the fad diets that you hear about so often in the media. The juice cleanses (live only on juices for a week) the single food diets (grapefruit diet, cabbage diet) and the diets that call for extreme calorie restriction or an entire food group to be removed from your everyday diet (Atkins etc.)
Some of these diets will produce some short term weight loss that can be exciting, but it is rarely ever weight loss that lasts. Worse still, many fad diets are not actually healthy for you and there is little use in being thinner if you also feel ill and completely lacking in energy.
In order to lose weight and stay healthy at the same time you need to take a more controlled and conservative approach to losing weight. Here are some tips to get you started on a path to weight loss that will not work overnight or even in a week or two but will hopefully result in healthy weight loss that lasts:
Follow the Basic Formula
The key to weight loss is really a very simple formula. A decrease in the number of calories you consume together with an increase in the number of calories you burn will eventually result in healthy weight loss. It sounds very simple and that is because it is!
Starvation is Not the Key
If you suddenly drop your calorie intake significantly your body goes into crisis mode. ‘Fearing’ that it is about to be deprived of the energy it needs to keep itself healthy the body will begin to break down components in order to prevent that. But it will not break down fat, that is for survival.
Instead it will attack and break down muscle fibers first. To avoid this calorie reduction should be slow and steady. A reduction of 300 to 500 calories a day, combined with increased activity and exercise, is often enough to start losing weight the healthy way.
Easy Ways to Cut Calories
The hardest part about losing weight for many people is dealing with the feeling of being deprived of the foods they love. Those on a no carbohydrates diet for example often start dreaming about bread, even if they never though too much about it before simply because they have now taken it off the menu in order to follow the diet plan.
There are a number of ways that you can cut those 300 to 500 calories day that will not result in these feelings of deprivation (which often lead to overeating the forbidden foods in the end.) These include:
Opt for low fat or skim milk instead of full fat milk in your coffee or tea and on cereal.
Try to cut back on soda and opt for a diet version if you must drink it all. Replacing soda with water is a much healthier choice though.
Change the way you snack. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar for an afternoon snack op for a juicy apple or a handful of cherries instead.
Don’t skip breakfast. Your Grandmother was right, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast will have you starting off your day hungry which will lead to overeating later on in many cases and pre lunchtime fatigue for sure.
Make an Exercise Plan You Can Stick To
Calorie reduction by itself is rarely enough to produce healthy weight loss, you need to burn more calories through exercise and physical activity as well. There is not one form of exercise that is really better than any other, at least in terms of losing weight, if you can stick to it. More than anything it has to interest you enough to stay motivated. And you have lots of choices.
Maybe weight training is something you’ve always wondered about. Or the idea of the fun and freedom of a great Zumba class is more your style. Even just walking more often is a great start. Explore your options, switch things up, seek motivation from others and most of all, have fun getting fitter!