Weight loss should be done gradually, not through crash diets or excessive exercise. These methods rarely ever work. When you suddenly starve yourself by restricting calories or certain foods, these actions may result in a deficiency in the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to maintain health. Excessive exercise when you haven’t worked out in years can increase your likeliness of injury and can be disheartening when you don’t see the results you’re expecting. If you need to lose weight, there are several things you can do.
Energy and Weight Loss
The human body uses food as a source of energy and stores excess energy in the body as fat. Whatever food that the body doesn’t use for daily activities or cell maintenance is maintained in the body as weight gain. To lose weight, the body must use up the storage of fat through a reduction in the amount of calories consumed daily or by increasing your physical activity. Due to these factors, diet and exercise are essential for weight loss.
Execute Changes Slowly
Subtle changes to your diet can really make a big difference in your weight. For example, switching from whole milk to non-fat or skim milk at breakfast can shed several pounds from your weight. You’ll also more likely to stick to these gradual changes than if you would have made big or multiple changes at once. Weight loss goals should be set in terms of weeks with the end results noticeable over months and years.
Increase Physical Activity
If you increase your physical activity on a regular basis while maintaining the same calorie intake and diet, you will most likely lose some weight. No matter what the exercise, even a brief 20 minute walk several days each week can be beneficial. Each time you exercise more than usual, you are burning fat and calories. Physical activity can be performed in a variety of ways, from running and walking to swimming and cycling. Find something that you enjoy doing to keep up your motivation.
- Get out of the house and get active during the weekends and your free time. Leave your vehicle at home and walk to the shopping centers or to visit friends and family. Choose a home-cooked meal or picnic to keep control of your diet.
- Remember that every step you make during the day matters. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up the escalator instead of riding. Bike or walk to work or school instead of driving.
- Use extra time during your day to work-out. Jump on a stationary bicycle or tread mill as you watch a movie or perform jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
Reduce Your Calories
If you are currently overweight, you must change your diet and exercise routine. It’s nearly impossible to shed pounds while taking in cakes, sweets, and lots of food. This does not mean that you can’t have the occasional treat but all in moderation. To burn enough calories to lose weight, you must make healthier choices. Do not resort to crash diets (diets with less than 1500 calories) or quick-fix diets that can result in dramatic weight-loss, followed by dramatic weight-gain. Don’t try any shortcuts when it comes to healthy weight loss.
To lose one to two pounds per week, you must eat 300 to 500 less calories per day. While this is a realistic goal, the process can be slow and the results may not be immediate. Out of all of the food types, including carbohydrates, proteins, and other foods, fat contains the most calories. Cut down on these fatty foods and consume more fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain breads. Use the following methods of reducing your calorie intake without making major changes to your diet.
- Replace sodas and fizzy beverages with cold water (ice cold water can burn extra calories).
- Switch from whole milk to non-fat, skim or semi-skim milk.
- Eat less for lunch and limit the amount of fatty foods, such as mayonnaise and butter.
- Stop having second-helpings during dinner.
- Eliminate sugar in your coffee or tea.
- Cut out any unhealthy treats from your diet, such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
- Try to avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Changing these actions in your diet can influence your general health in a positive way. Remember to never skip meals, especially breakfast, as this will usually cause you to overeat later. Make healthier choices such as fresh fruits and vegetables for a snack instead of potato chips and snack cakes. Maintain regular eating habits to avoid disrupting your body’s metabolism.
Create a Plan
Create a diet and exercise plan to help you stay motivated and keep up with your weight loss goals. For example, the first week of your plan could include 20 minutes of walking during your lunch hour as your main source of exercise. Avoid alcohol during the week and indulge in two small glasses of wine on the weekend. Select healthy snacks during the week, avoid fast foods, trim fats from all meats, and stay away from chocolate and biscuits during the week. It may be helpful to write down a list of weekly goals relating to your exercise and food plan. Organize this information in a chart and write down comments as you think of them to get things off your chest.
It may take several weeks or months before you see any noticeable changes in your weight or energy levels. These may be subtle changes, such as looser fitting clothing. Remember to not get stressed about the numbers on the scale, as there will be days that you may gain a little or not lose any weight at all. This is normal and does not indicate that you doing anything ‘wrong’. Always celebrate when you meet your goals with a reward, such as new, smaller clothing.
Benefits of Weight Loss
There are many health benefits associated with weight loss. Studies have shown that women who are overweight and lose 10 to 20 pounds cut their risk of developing diabetes in half. For men, losing weight can dramatically reduce heart problems. While everyone usually gains weight as they age, gaining more than 20 pounds compared to your weight as an 18-year-old can increase health problems at rapid speeds. While you may not have to worry about these problems now, they will come into full swing in your later years.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Calorie Control Council
- Physical Activity for Everyone
- It’s About Eating Right!
- Fruits and Veggies: More Matters
- Exercise for Older Adults
- Choose My Plate
- Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age
- Nutrition and Healthy Eating
- Obesity and Cancer Risk
- Healthy Meal Planning Made Simple
- Balance Food with Physical Activity
- Tips to Lose Weight
- Weight Loss Promises
- Healthy Habits for Weight Management
- Maintaining Weight Loss
- Eat Water, Lose Weight
- Weight Management Strategies
- Lose Weight and Keep It Off