Let’s face it – losing weight is difficult. But by realizing a few key things, you can make that journey a lot easier. The main thing you HAVE to realize before trying to embark on a weight loss journey is simply this: true weight loss MUST involve a life style change. Your weight loss will never be sustainable until you make a conscious effort to maintain a healthier lifestyle! This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I gained about 20 pounds during my college years and it wasn’t until my final semester of college that I finally began to lose that weight. In fact, I lost about 25 pounds and have been able to keep it off. So if you are truly ready to take the first step into your weight loss journey, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Calories are OK, as long as you are burning more calories than you are eating.
Calories are, by definition, units of energy. Therefore, their purpose is to supply your body with the energy it needs to sustain you throughout your day. As such, the amount of calories your body needs is determined by how active you are throughout your day. Someone who exercises an hour a day needs more calories in their diet than someone who leads an inactive lifestyle. When trying to lose weight, many doctors agree that a 1,200 calorie/day diet will lead to successful weight loss for MOST people. To help you track the amount of calories you take in, I highly recommend downloading a calorie tracking app for your phone or investing in a fitness tracker/step counter enabled with a calorie counter. Personally, I use a Jawbone fitness tracker and found it to be an invaluable tool in my weight loss!
2. Don’t eliminate the unhealthy foods you love from your diet.
Everyone has heard the saying, “Everything in moderation.”, but it is so true when it comes to your diet. I honestly do not recommend diets that exclude desserts, chips, etc for the simple reason that it is almost inevitable that you will break your diet eventually to gorge yourself on the foods you have been depriving yourself of. It’s pointless. You can eat unhealthy foods and still lose weight. The trick is this: moderation and better choices. If you’re craving a dessert, then have a dessert! But maybe when you’re in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store, try opting for a quart of frozen yogurt, sherbert, or sugar free ice cream instead of the regular gallon of cookies and creme. Enjoy that bowl of ice cream! But instead of three scoops, opt for one!
3. Carbs are not the enemy, not using the carbs you eat is the enemy.
Carbohydrates have obtained a pretty bad rap among dieters as a sure fire way to prevent weight loss. This myth drives me crazy!! Ladies and gentlemen, your body NEEDS carbs! Carbohydrates are one of the primary sources your body uses to create energy from food. They also help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. However, failure to actually use the carbs your body takes in will result in your body storing those unused carbs as fat stores. The secret here is, you have to match the amount of carbs your body needs with the amount of activity you do on a daily basis. A highly active competitive athlete will require a far greater amount of carbohydrates than someone who sits on the couch all day. You have to get in tuned with your body’s needs and expenditures!
4. Fiber, fiber, fiber!
If you want to lose weight, a high fiber diet is your new best friend. Your digestive track LOVES fiber! It helps your body to digest your foods and metabolize its properly to absorb all of the nutrients your foods have to offer! When you’re out grocery shopping, always look for foods that have high fiber contents! Fiber One has some great options for high fiber foods that taste wonderful! In addition, I highly recommend investing in fiber supplements!
5. Water, water, water!
Just like fiber is important to your body, water is invaluable in trying to lose weight! Numerous studies have demonstrated that individuals who keep well hydrated are better able to lose more weight than those who slack on their water intake. Your body is made up of 75% water. Virtually every process that occurs in your body, utilizes water in some way or another! So drink up! Invest in a reusable water bottle and be sure to keep it with you at all times so you can keep hydrated throughout your day!
6. Learn to love exercise.
I’ll be the first to admit, I used to absolutely hate working out. It was the biggest chore to make myself go to the gym! However, I’ve realized that once you get into the habit of going to the gym, it becomes a part of your day that you look forward to! Also, if you keep up with your exercise, I promise you will eventually begin to see results and notice favorable changes in your body! Seeing your body change for the better is the BEST motivator! While, yes you can still lose weight without exercising, a healthy lifestyle needs to include exercise. Exercising boosts mood, speeds up your metabolism, and increases self esteem! So get that booty movin!
7. Drink green tea.
Green tea is well known to be beneficial in weight loss. The reason for this is that drinking green tea improves and speeds up your body’s metabolism. The faster the metabolism, the faster your body burns calories and breaks down fat stores. So try to get AT LEAST one cup of green tea in per day. Personally, I love to get a cup of decaffeinated green tea in just before bed!
8. Do not weigh yourself everyday.
From experience, I can tell you that trying to weigh yourself on a daily basis is one of the quickest ways to kill your confidence about your ability to lose the weight. The reasoning for this is that it is NORMAL for your body’s weight to fluctuate a few pounds. It is NORMAL for you to be a pound or so heavier one day than you were the day before. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing the right things and aren’t going on your way to weight loss. It simply means you are human! Your body’s weight fluctuates based on the time of day, where you are in your menstrual cycle (for ladies, obviously), medications you’re on, etc. To avoid this problem, try weighing yourself every week or every other week. To that same effect, don’t read too much into the number on the scale! In a lot of cases, you may see a positive change when you look in the mirror, but may have gained a pound or two when you look at the scale! Pay more attention to your body’s appearance in the mirror than the number on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat! If you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, you may actually gain some weight! That is OK!
9. Do not starve yourself.
Please, please, please, please, please – if you take nothing else away from this article, take this: do NOT starve yourself in an effort to lose weight. Not only will this strategy simply NOT help you lose weight, but it can be extremely dangerous to your body in multiple ways. In addition, starving your body of food can actually cause you to gain weight in the long run. When your body is deprived of the nutrients it requires, it will resort to storing whatever food you do eat as fat stores. In fact, many studies have concluded that eating small meals multiple times a day (instead of three big meals and nothing else) can actually accelerate weight loss. This is because your body’s metabolism actually speeds up while you’re eating! So please guys, EAT!
10. Just because a recipe or food label says “healthy” doesn’t mean it is.
A lot of times, people buy and consume foods that they assume is healthy, when in fact it isn’t at all. Ladies and gentlemen, do not trust the “healthy” label on your foods. Many times companies will decrease the amount of sugar or fat in a food so that they can label it “healthy”, when in fact they are actually just decreasing the sugar/fat and adding sodium or unhealthy additives instead. Read the labels! Often times “fat free” is the better option, but not every time!
Well that’s that everyone! I hope that these tips help you all in your journey’s towards healthier lifestyles!!