Quick Tips to Lose Weight Safely and Keep it Off
Moderation and balance are very important to successful and safe weight loss. Many Americans are eating too much of the wrong types of foods, while leading sedentary lifestyles. Weight control is a serious issue in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 1/3 of adults in the U.S. are obese. It is estimated that 69% of adults are overweight. Here are some measures that you can implement to get those extra pounds off and keep them away long term.
Plan properly and set goals. Start with a concrete plan for how you will go about losing weight, with some clearly defined goals. It is possible to lose weight safely and relatively quickly. Set reasonable goals of between 1-2 pounds of fat loss per week. Most experts recommend that is a safe and realistic benchmark.
Ask yourself some questions before embarking on your weight loss journey: How much weight do you want to lose? What are your fitness goals? What type of exercise and diet plans fit into your lifestyle?
Plan your meals and prepare enough food in advance to last for several days. Avoid impulse purchases of groceries and snack foods.
Faster is not always better. People often feel convinced by clever marketing that there is a magic, quick solution. It is easy to fall prey to these temptations. However, weight loss of 10 pounds in a week or less is not healthy and could be detrimental to your health.
Create a daily calorie deficit.
There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. Therefore, reducing your caloric intake by 3,500 calories per week will result in one pound of weight loss. Weight gain can occur when people take in more calories in a day than are burned through physical activity. The amount of calories that each person needs to consume in order to safely lose weight varies according to age, sex, activity level, and health.
The most obvious way to create a calorie deficit entails eating less of certain types of foods and exercising on a regular basis. A good exercise routine incorporates both cardiovascular exercise and strength training to build lean muscle and promote long term weight loss. Exercise does not need to be strenuous in order to be effective. One of the best types of exercise is brisk walking.
Don’t eat for at least 3 hours before bedtime. Less energy is needed when you are winding down before preparing for sleep. The extra calories consumed shortly before bedtime will be converted to fat and may lead to weight gain.
Make healthier meal choices.
You can do this by reducing or eliminating fast foods, junk foods and processed foods from the diet. They are loaded with “empty” calories which provide little or no nutritional value. Replace junk food snacks with healthier food choices, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. A healthy balanced diet includes selections from each group of foods in the USDA food pyramid. Pay attention to your portion sizes.
By the way, splurging on a treat or giving into a craving, is fine once in a while. However, keep the cheating to a minimum.
Avoid fad or crash diets.
You may be familiar with some of the most popular fad diets: The Master Cleanse, The Cabbage diet, The Atkins diet. The list goes on. These diets are usually unhealthy, temporary, quick fixes. You may be happy with your results in the short-term, but the results are not likely to be long-lasting.
The extra pounds will come off, but they will return over the long haul. This is because fad and crash diets don't provide a permanent solution to the causes of weight gain. Without permanent behavior changes, the pounds will slowly return.
Fad and crash diets are designed for rapid weight loss in a short period of time. They are often very restrictive in terms of the types of food that you are allowed to eat. Some crash diets are very low-calorie and nutritionally unbalanced. Fad and crash diets may result in malnutrition, fatigue and muscle loss. Fad diets don’t provide sufficient vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Making permanent changes to your behavior and lifestyle will provide longer lasting results.
Many fad diets require the use of weight loss supplements. They may help to expedite the process of losing weight. However, the truth is that weight loss supplements are expensive and not necessary for weight loss. Others are very dangerous for people with conditions like type II diabetes or high blood pressure. They should never be used without the advice and supervision of a physician.
Keep daily food and exercise journals.
Now, don’t obsess over calories counting. One study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that people who keep food journals, lose more weight than people who don't. It helps people to be more aware of their activities and gives them a sense of accountability for those actions. You can read the report for yourself here:
A journal will give you a rough estimate of the number of calories that you are consuming and expending daily. You may be shocked at all of the loose, excess calories that you may be consuming without paying attention to it. For example, you may realize that you are drinking too many sugar filled beverages. By reducing the number of beverages that you drink per day, you will cut back hundreds of calories. Consider replacing beverages like coffee, fruit juices, and soda with calorie free water.
There are several apps and websites available to help you track your calories and exercise routine. One good website and app for this purpose is MyFitness Pal. Less tech savvy people may find it easier to record their activities with a pen and paper journal.
Copyright © 2014 Susan Broadbelt
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