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Lose Weight Fast? Not so Fast, Long-Term Weight Loss is Your Best Bet

Updated on March 11, 2013

Introductory Comments

Far too many people are on the hunt for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss, but this will never get you anywhere. The human body is simply not designed to permanently sustain dramatic change. Permanent change means gradual change. Setting long-term weight loss goals will ensure that you reach them. When you lose weight too fast, your body responds by increasing your appetite until you can't fight it any more and end up gaining back every pound and then some. Can the crash diets and take up good habits for long term weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.

I cover a wide range of helpful weight loss advice from the obvious to the surprising but do not on any account assume this article to be a substitute for the consultation of a doctor or dietician. Always speak with your doctor or dietician first before carrying out any plans for weight loss.

1. Drink Water

I mark this as tip numero uno because it is by far the easiest habit to maintain toward effective and long-term weight loss. Drinking plenty of water also comes up several more times throughout this article in connection with other tips I list in this article.

The body often mistakes thirst for hunger. If you're feeling peckish between meals, sip down a couple glasses of water and snack on some fresh fruit (if you need a little extra something to take the edge off). This habit will help you avoid overeating and spoiling your mealtime appetite.

Keeping well-hydrated also ensures the efficient removal of body waste, particularly toxins that tend to linger in our cells. Keeping plenty of water in the system helps the bloodstream carry these toxins away after being expelled from our cells. This is especially important for the overweight who have a surplus of fat cells that release toxins in great quantities during the weight loss process.

Drinking so much fluid can often result in unsightly bloating but occasional "water weight" is worth the long-term benefits of drinking plenty of water. The bloating will gradually decrease in frequency and severity as you improve your diet through the reduction of water retention causing sodium and simple carbohydrates.

It's hard to go wrong with fish and vegetables
It's hard to go wrong with fish and vegetables

2. Healthy Diet

Firstly, let's be clear that "diet" here does not mean giving up carbs, eating nothing but bananas for breakfast, hosting a tapeworm, or any other such "trend diet". Your diet is your personal pattern of eating, regardless of whether you plan it carefully or just eat whatever you want. It is essentially what you eat, how much and when. If you are overweight, then that is a good sign that your eating pattern is dysfunctional. In order to forge a healthy diet, you need to realign your dysfunctional eating to emphasize nutrients and cut back on calorie intake. Remember to always speak with your doctor or dietician before proceeding with any diet plan. Changing too much too fast will wreak havoc on your metabolism and hormonal balance often resulting in the immediate regain of any weight you managed to lose.

Why do we crave junk food? The answer is simple. The human race has millions of years of evolution working against it in terms of maintaining a healthy weight in modern society. Long story short, we evolved a particular interest in rich sources of salt, fat and sugar, the former two being the major culprits for a high calorie count. This adaptation ensured that we would seek these rich, yet scarce, food sources. In a world where fast food restaurant chains regularly exploit this evolutionary legacy, we have to be especially careful about what we think we want to eat.

Just a quick word on calories. The average man needs about 2,500 calories a day, while the average woman needs about 2,000. Of course, these figures can change dramatically depending on a person's age, weight, activity level, etc., but they give us a good sense of how many calories is a lot. Fruits and vegetables should consist of nearly half of your daily diet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and very low in calories. The sugar in fruit and vegetables is much healthier than that added to candy, sweetened drinks, etc. because such processed sugars lack the enzymes needed to help your body break them down. The more work your pancreas has to do, the more your risk for adult onset diabetes increases. When it comes to meat, choose fish and poultry over pork and red meat as often as you can. Pork and red meat tend to be extraordinarily high in saturated fats. On a final note, always go for whole grains and avoid "white food" (white rice, white flour, refined sugar, etc.) as often as possible. A diet rich in whole grains and vegetables will ensure that you are consuming enough fiber, which is essential for proper digestion and stabilizing your appetite.

3. Exercise

Always speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

A combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise is your strongest asset for weight loss. Strength training does not burn as many calories as cardio per hour, but it has the long term effect of increasing the rate at which your body naturally burns calories at rest and during exercise. The developed muscles play a major role in increasing your metabolism. Women are often reluctant to do strength training because they fear they will become bulky. This is a major misunderstanding. Women do not have anywhere near as much testosterone as men do. It is testosterone that causes well-muscled men to be so bulky. The reason famous female body builders are as bulky as the men is that they take testosterone supplements.

Strength training can be achieved through weight lifting, but I recommend Power Yoga. This is a more physically demanding form of yoga that requires you to support your body weight for brief periods of time in various poses. This form of strength training is very incremental and makes you extremely flexible over time, reducing your risk of injury during cardio.

Jogging is the most traditional form of cardiovascular exercise and cycling is particularly beneficial for the overweight as their bones and joints are spared constantly supporting all of their weight during the workout.

4. Spiritual Inspiration

No, I am not referring to religious assistance or any form of New Age principle. It is important to be very aware of your body: What you put into it, how you move it and how these things affect the way you feel. You will notice that a healthy diet and regular exercise will have a major impact on your happiness and general mood long before you really start to notice the physical benefits.

Whenever I stray from my healthy diet and exercise routine, I often find I lack enjoyment in daily activities. I'm not as motivated to read or write, or even to enjoy the weather on a nice day. I find myself sitting inside, unshowered, wasting time. Treat your body well and your quality of life will improve dramatically.


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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      8 years ago from North Central Florida

      Taking care of ourselves is what this whole 'diet' thing amounts to for us. Our diet as you say is our intake of food for the day...but the word has taken on a new life of its own.

      This article is filled with many points we all need to keep in mind. thanks for sharing this with us. :) ps

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great tips! I've been working on those kinds of goals for myself this year. I like what you said about "diet." It's just what we eat on a daily basis. I don't go on any other type of "diet." Thanks for writing this. Great hub!


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