Diets don’t work in the long run
There are many misconceptions about weight loss. The mainstream media is full of fad diets and magical weight loss methods endorsed by celebrities and backed up by personal success stories. While most of these diets will help you lose weight if you follow them, once you return to your normal lifestyle, the weight gain will slowly start to come back. This is because weight loss is not necessarily a problem, the challenge is to keep it off in the long run.
Managing your weight is a lifetime commitment, not just dieting for a few weeks to lose weight. Remember that if the strategies you put into practice to lose weight are not strategies that you can use for the rest of your life, you have a very good chance of regaining the weight you have lost.
The diet can be harmful because our body responds to these periods of half-starvation by lowering the metabolic rate.
When you lose weight too fast, you lose fat and muscle. Muscles burn energy, but not fat. Therefore, when you stop the diet and return to your normal habits, your body will burn fewer calories than before, as the relative amount of muscle in your body decreases and the metabolic rate slows down.
This type of diet can also affect our overall health – just one cycle of weight loss and weight gain can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease (regardless of body fat levels).
That’s why it’s more important to support weight loss. Weight loss of about ½ to 1 kg per week is considered reasonable and most likely to be sustainable.
Make small achievable changes in your lifestyle
There are many unhealthy misconceptions about weight loss, but in order to lose and maintain your weight, you need to make small, achievable lifestyle changes.
If you are overweight, changing the way you eat and increasing your physical activity so you can maintain it long term are the best ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss.
To maintain a stable weight, your energy intake (kilojoules) must equal the energy you use. If you expend more energy than you consume, you will lose weight.
On the other hand, if you eat more than you use, you gain weight. Small imbalances over a long period of time can lead to overweight or obesity.
How to start losing weight?
If you can avoid unplanned or habitual meals and continue to eat and snack regularly, it will help you lose weight.
If you have been following fast diets for several years or have difficulty following these diets, seek help from a dietitian. Nutritionists can guide you on a healthy diet based on the latest research and adapted to your health and lifestyle.
If you are overweight, over 40, or have not been exercising regularly for a long time, check with your doctor before starting any physical activity.
Learn about your current eating and exercise habits
When you decide to lose weight, it’s helpful to understand your current situation – what are your eating and exercise habits?
A good way to do this is to divide them into “energy input” (diet) and “energy output” (movement).
keep a food diary
It may be helpful to keep a food diary for a week to see if you can identify any patterns or themes in your eating habits.
Food journals are best saved at the end of the day (not at the end of the day), so you are less likely to forget something:
- Write down everything you eat and drink.
- How are you feeling?
- Your hunger level at that time.
Be as honest as possible. Try not to change your habits – the next step is to change the situation.
A pattern may appear in your diary, such as choosing certain foods or drinks based on where you are or how you feel.
Recognize habits that cause weight gain
Some of the eating habits that can lead to weight gain include:
- food for the night – Snacks throughout the evening.
- catering – Have dinner with friends or family.
- Emotional eating – boredom eating in response to your emotions, such as fatigue, anxiety, stress, happiness, or sadness.
- Food with distraction Eat while doing something else (for example, watching TV, working at your desk, or being on social media).
After completing the food diary, you can begin to address all the topics that you have identified in a healthier way:
- When you’re feeling down, instead of eating a snack, read a book, call a friend, or take a walk.
- If you’re eating in front of the TV or at your desk, sit down at the table and focus on the food you’re eating – what are the colors, smells, tastes and textures? By mindfully eating, you get more pleasure from eating and feel like stopping eating when you are full.
keep a physical activity diary
Just like keeping a diary of your eating habits, you can also keep a weekly diary to see how much physical activity you get. Include examples of physical activity lasting 10 minutes or longer. Divide them into parts:
- such as walking, running, swimming, exercising, cycling organized activity .
- e.g. gardening, housework, standing at work or lifting weights side activity.
This will help you understand your current level of physical activity and find ways to move more.
Make a Healthy Weight Loss Plan
After understanding your current habits, the next step is planning how to lose weight.
Try to make your goals SMART – be it:
- Specific – Write down exactly what you are trying to achieve. (For example, instead of exercising more, specify that I will cycle to work on Mondays and Wednesdays.)
- Measurable – use numbers or quantities if possible. (For example, I will eat 2 fruits every day.)
- Accessible There is no point in writing down a goal that you will never achieve. (For example, if you know you’re not likely to quit smoking on weekends, a glass of water every weekday evening might be a better goal than a glass of wine while watching my favorite TV show.)
- Realistic Your goal should be achievable and meaningful to you. (For example, when I feel stressed, instead of having a snack, I stop and ask myself why I feel this way. I focus on this thought for 10 minutes before I eat anything to determine if I am hungry. )
- time dependent – set a time frame for your goal to track your progress. (For example, I will walk to work twice a week until the end of May.)
Remember that the best way to lose weight is to do it gradually, making small achievable changes to your eating and physical activity habits. You can set yourself up for one or two minor changes to work on at the same time, but you can only add them when they become your new lifestyle.
Be kind to yourself, if things don’t go as planned, keep trying. You may need to adjust your goals or the time it takes to reach them.
How to stay motivated to lose weight?
If you have a plan, be realistic and try to focus on small wins so you don’t get lost. Some recommendations include:
- Don’t trust the numbers on the scale. Instead, measure your waist circumference: a normal waist circumference is less than 94 cm for men and less than 80 cm for women.
- Pay attention to how your clothes fit – maybe they are loose or you can fit into something that is currently hidden in the back of your wardrobe.
- Confidence in activities you avoid (for example, being able to keep up with children without getting out of breath).
- Maybe you have more energy, things require less effort, or you sleep better.
How to lose a healthy weight?
Losing and maintaining weight is a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t change everything at once – a few small changes to your diet and exercise in the beginning can make a big difference.
Make simple changes to your diet
You can get rid of fat by making a few simple changes to your eating habits:
- Avoid fast and stale diets to reduce the risk of switching to the yoyo diet.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables, many of which are low in calories and contain fiber, which helps you feel full.
- Pay attention to the portions of food and drinks that you consume – the larger the portion, the more energy it contains.
- Reduce your intake of foods high in added fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt.
- Have soft drinks, candy, snacks, and alcoholic drinks from time to time.
- Most adults should not eat more than one or two “treats” a day. If you are overweight or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you may need to limit the number of treats to once a day.
- Try to balance the “excess” food with additional exercises. The more energy you burn, the more rewards you can get. Remember that you should only add additional foods after you have met your nutritional needs by choosing from healthier food groups.
- Do not exclude any food group from your life. Instead, choose from a wide variety of foods each day and opt for “whole”, less processed foods.
- Have a regular diet and stick to it.
- Replace sugary drinks with water.
- When you’re sad, angry, or stressed, don’t use food to relax. Try other healthy ways to deal with these feelings (such as taking a walk, reading, taking a bath, or listening to music).
Be more active to lose weight
While we may find excuses for being too busy or tired, remember that physical activity doesn’t have to be overly strenuous.
Even about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can boost our metabolic rate and help us lose weight. We may also find that we are less tired and have more energy to do things that we enjoy.
Try these simple suggestions:
- Incorporate moderate-intensity activities into your day (walk, garden, or mow your lawn).
- If you commute to work, walk or ride a bike.
- If you have to drive, try adding some activity to your day. Park farther away or use public transport.
- Talk to your colleagues face to face instead of emailing them while you’re at work.
- If you spend most of your day sitting at work, find a standing desk or hold meetings standing up. Take a walk at lunchtime.
- On short trips, walk instead of taking a car.
- Get off the train, bus or tram one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Play more outdoor games with your family and friends.
- Walk your dog.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
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