There are various reasons for dropping extra pounds which include lowering your risk of fatal diseases that are related to obesity, having a strong and fit body, or fitting again into your favorite swimwear. Regardless of your motivations for weight loss, there are some things that you need to consider before starting. Also, it’s best to consult your doctor before trying any weight loss program to ensure your safety.
Losing weight depends mostly on making wise food choices. So, it’s important to consider the dietary changes needed to help you achieve your weight goal. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Maximize your calorie intake. In weight loss, it’s crucial to learn about counting calories vs. macronutrients. The energy that a certain food can provide your body is expressed in calories while macronutrients refer to fats, carbohydrates, and proteins – more commonly known as food groups.
When losing weight, most people drastically reduce their daily calorie intake without considering the macronutrients that their body needs. However, nourishing your body shouldn’t revolve on counting calories alone but also considering the macronutrients in your food. This is because the macronutrients found in food affects your body differently.
Carbohydrates such as white bread are highly caloric but provide little nutritional value to your body while some types of fat and protein are essential for your overall health. While all of these provide calories, your weight loss and your health are greatly affected by the quantity of macronutrients you consume.
- Find the best dietary approach for you. Regardless of all the hype around fad diets, there’s no one best diet that’s effective for everyone. The idea is to find a dietary approach that you can easily adapt into your lifestyle. This dietary approach should provide you the proper nourishment while giving you a wide variety of food choices.
For some people, eating balanced meals and practicing proper meal portions will do wonders in getting them towards their goal weight while also changing their eating habits. A structured diet plan saves time in thinking what foods you should eat. If you’re just starting out, this could help you develop good eating habits.
- Keep a food journal. Keeping track of your food intake is important to ensure that you get the proper balance of macronutrients and in monitoring your calorie intake. While people’s bodies are different, you’d generally want to stay within your recommended calorie intake. This will help your body start burning stored fats to provide its needed energy to perform its functions.
- Plan your meals and snacks. In relation to the previous tip, it really pays to plan your snacks and meals. As you may know, weight loss requires lifestyle changes to ensure that you don’t slide back into your old ways and your old weight.
In planning your food, it’s best to ditch sweets and junk foods and have healthy food choices handy. Although it’s not that bad to treat yourself occasionally, it’s best to reduce temptations and improve the likelihood of choosing healthier food.
Planning your snacks and meals also helps you avoid starving yourself, which can harm your body’s metabolism and eat your muscles instead of fat and other negative effects.
- Keep your body hydrated. Increase your water intake and avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, soda, artificially flavored juices, and sweetened lattes. Aside from the high caloric content of these drinks, these have high sugar and carbohydrates, which just contributes to weight gain. Choose water instead of sugary drinks to keep your body hydrated and smoothly functioning.
Physical activity also plays an essential role in losing weight. Also, exercise comes with more health benefits other than weight loss. So, whether you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, it’s best to keep your body moving. Here are some things you can try.
- Walking. This form of exercise is a convenient and simple way for you to kickstart physical activity into your life. Because of its simplicity, walking won’t make beginners feel overwhelmed. Also, it’s an exercise that doesn’t place a lot of stress on the joints, so even heavy people can do this. Finally, it’s simple enough to fit into your daily routine even with a busy schedule. You can start with 30 minutes of walking five times a week.
- Running and jogging. Jogging and running are exercises that don’t require expensive equipment, which is also easy to incorporate into your schedule. These exercises are believed to help burn visceral fat, which is the harmful fat that coats your internal organs and is linked to diabetes and heart diseases. Try running or jogging for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times each week.
- Cycling. You can either perform this outdoors and enjoy fresh air if your location permits, but you can also find many fitness centers and gyms that have stationary bikes. Cycling isn’t just for weight loss as research has found that people who do this regularly have a lower risk of cancer and heart disease compared to those with inactive lifestyles.
- Weight training. This activity helps you lose weight while also promoting muscle growth and overall strength. It’s also linked to improving your RMR or resting metabolic rate, which determines the number of calories that your body burns at rest. Studies have also shown that the body continues burning calories even after hours of weight training.
- High-intensity interval training. This kind of exercise includes short bursts of intense activities alternated with recovery times. If you’re pressed with time, interval training could be a good choice as it’s shown to burn more belly fat and plenty of calories while spending less time doing it.
- Swimming. This activity is a fun way to get your body moving while losing weight. It’s also a low-impact exercise, which doesn’t affect the joints. Swimming for an hour 3 times a week is known to improve flexibility, reduce body fat, and lower the risk of heart diseases.
- Yoga. This activity isn’t only linked to weight loss but also in relieving stress. While it’s not the first thing that comes to mind with weight loss, yoga also helps burn calories while also providing other health benefits. In a study with obese women, it was found that those who did two 90-minute sessions per week reduced their waist measurements by 1.5 inches more than those in the control group.
Yoga is also known to improve mindfulness, which can help a person control excessive eating, resist unhealthy food cravings, and understand the body’s hunger signals better. The best part of yoga is that you can do it anywhere.
- Pilates. This activity may not burn as many calories as aerobic exercises such as jogging, but it’s enjoyed by many people, making it easier to maintain over time. Pilates is also linked to relieving lower back pain while improving flexibility, balance, endurance, and general fitness level. Just like yoga, Pilates can be performed both in gyms or at home.
Goals and Motivation
Behind success lies your purpose and motivation. Regardless of the reasons why you want to shed off some pounds, your motivation helps keep the fire burning to ensure that you reach your goals. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Set realistic goals. Losing weight requires honesty with yourself. Ensure that the changes you plan to make are realistic for your lifestyle. In making food choices, for example, don’t force yourself to eat food that you don’t like. Instead, plan healthy meals that you know you’ll really enjoy.
In food preparation, don’t plan to cook everything from scratch if you’re not really someone who enjoys cooking. However, you can set a goal to learn how to prepare your food during weekends.
- Take your time. Many people make the mistake of trying to lose weight fast only to end up frustrated. Although rapid weight loss is possible, it’s hardly sustainable. Instead, be consistent and take your time in making changes to your lifestyle. This way, you’re more likely to keep these new healthy habits and reach your weight loss goal.
Sleep is crucial not only for your mental and physical health but also for losing weight. Think about sleep as your body’s way to heal and recover after its efforts in burning fats and calories. Sleep gives your body time to recharge and maximize its functions. By taking enough sleep, you’re helping your body drop off that excess weight.
Here are the reasons why you should get at least 7 hours of sleep daily:
- Insufficient sleep hinders the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates. This leads to high blood sugar levels that result in high insulin levels and bigger body-fat storage.
- Lack of sleep reduces leptin levels of the body, making you crave for carbohydrates.
- Not sleeping enough can reduce your growth hormone levels, a protein that helps manage the body’s muscle and fat proportion.
- Insufficient sleep also increases your risk of getting diabetes because it leads to insulin resistance.
- When you consistently lack sleep, it can increase your blood pressure, making you at risk of heart diseases.
Losing weight isn’t entirely about eating and exercising because your mind can greatly affect it too. To make weight loss more manageable, you must maintain a positive outlook and learn to love your body even from the start. Here are some tips to keep a healthy outlook while trying to lose weight.
- Find a support system. Many people tend to focus on the food they can or can’t eat or on their weight loss progress and forget other factors. Keeping the weight off also requires a support system. While you can be your own cheerleader, it also pays to find someone who can help cheer you on. It can be a health coach, a fitness buddy, a friend, or your spouse. Without a healthy support system, keeping a healthy weight may not be that simple.
- Don’t worry if you hit a plateau. At some point in your weight loss journey, you may find that your weight loss will slow down, and the scales may not budge. This is called a plateau, which is completely normal. Losing weight can be stressful to your body and plateaus give your body a break to ensure that all your body systems are in a healthy condition before losing more of that weight.
If you hit a plateau, don’t panic. You can modify your diet to help you move past this stage. You can also look at other factors such as the amount of sleep you’re getting, stress levels, and other physical activities, which could be affecting you.
Some people interpret hitting a plateau as a time to reduce their calorie intake even more. Before doing this, take time to look back and consider everything that’s happening. Also, consider the fact that your body could be happy already as it is – even if you’re still planning to lose a few more pounds.
- Maintain your resolve. Your weight loss journey can come with various feelings including excitement and frustration. But when you start losing your determination, it will be difficult to reach your goals. Sometimes, people slide off into their old unhealthy habits when they’ve reached their goal weight.
Keeping your resolve is crucial in maintaining consistency in your physical activity, eating habits, and getting enough sleep. When you lose your momentum, it may be useful to set new goals for yourself and reflect again on your motivations for this journey.
- Love yourself. While incorporating healthy lifestyle changes to lose weight, reward and congratulate yourself. It’s also helpful not to compare your progress with others or yourself a decade ago. Concentrate on building healthy lifestyle habits and stay motivated.
- Acknowledge that your body is different. All throughout your journey, it’s crucial to keep this point in mind. You may hear about celebrities or friends who’ve had success following a specific diet program. The thing is, not everything that worked for them will work for you too. Thus, listen to your body and know what works best for you.
Lifestyle diseases including diabetes and hypertension are usually linked to excess body weight. Although losing weight and keeping off extra pounds may sound simple, this decision comes with many lifestyle changes and plenty of determination for anyone to be successful.