7 Tricks to Healthy Weight Loss
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I know, I know, you’re tired of the “Secrets to Weight Loss” stories. But this one is different. Why? Because it focuses on how to lose weight the healthy way.
Weight loss is an issue millions of people struggle with. So it’s no surprise that many are searching for the magic solution that will help them achieve their weight loss goals in the shortest amount of time possible.
Unfortunately, this mindset is farthest from the truth.
Losing weight isn’t about adhering to a strict diet that eliminates a variety of foods. It’s about making permanent lifestyle changes.
“Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Rachel Wooters, bariatric dietitian at Crozer-Keystone Health System. “It takes time, planning and preparation.”
To help you ‘train’ better, here are seven things you need to know:
1. Change Your Mindset
Too many people start a diet and stick to it for a few months, only to stop when they are not seeing the results they want. However, this usually means they resume their old, unhealthy eating habits. To really lose weight and keep it off, you need to change how you view eating forever. That’s right, swapping fruits and veggies for cookies and potato chips is the key to living a lean life. And you’ll reap the health benefits of eating nutritious foods, too.
2. Get Support
Making this lifestyle change is a huge deal and you’re going to need a solid support system to help you get through it. Whether it’s a friend, family member or a registered dietitian, you want someone to hold you accountable. Avoiding your daily cupcake at 3 p.m. will take some serious self-control and it’ll be good to have people to encourage you to make healthy decisions.
3. Aim Small
Don’t tell yourself that you will lose 20 pounds in two weeks. That kind of weight loss only happens when you barely eat anything and work out a lot. But as soon as you start eating normal meals, you’ll start regaining those 20 pounds in no time. Instead, stick to weight loss goals of no more than one to two pounds a week. “Making small changes and not too many at one time is important; otherwise it can get overwhelming,” said Wooters.
4. Track Your Progress
Many people underestimate how many calories they consume in a day and it’s easy to do so when you’re lounging in front of the TV with a family-size bag of potato chips. To track what you eat and ensure you’re meeting your calorie needs and not going over the limit, keep a food journal. You should weigh yourself only once a week and track your weight. This will keep you encouraged to stick with your diet and healthy lifestyle changes.
5. Avoid Fad Diets
What do the Cookie Diet, the Atkins Diet and the Lemon Juice Diet all have in common? They are a short term or temporary fix. “The worst way people try to lose weight is the starvation method,” said Wooters. “While you may see some progress, most people will not achieve their weight loss goals with this type of ‘diet.’” Eliminating major food groups or only allowing yourself to eat one or two foods can be terrible for your health and prevent you from achieving your weight loss goals.
6. Eat Well
The best way to lose weight? Stick to a balanced, nutritious diet. This includes healthy servings of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. “Prepare foods ahead of time (cut up fresh veggies so they are easy to grab),” said Wooters. “Plan snack times and make them count; some form of protein to fill you up and hold you over until the next meal.”
If you’re not sure how to start making this transition, you may want to speak with a dietitian to help you determine how many calories you can consume on a daily basis and help you plan out your meals.
Regular exercise (150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week) is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and body. Mix it up with cardio and strength training activities to keep your body at optimal health. “Add more activity to your life until you’re comfortable with an exercise routine and make it fun,” said Wooters.