Top 5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Weight Loss
“The best diet is the one you don't know you're on.”
― Brian Wansink, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think [Tweet This]
Weight loss information is flooding the internet, your television, books and magazines. HubPages alone features more than 3600 Hubs about Diet and Weight Loss. You can barely go a day without hearing something about how to lose weight. If you're trying to sift through all of the information, it can get overwhelming very quickly!
There's a new fad, hot new 'tips and tricks', celebrity 'body makeovers' popping up left and right. But here's some relief amidst the chaos- weight loss is A LOT simpler than it seems. Everything (reputable) that you hear about weight loss is just yet another way to look at some very basic weight loss truths.
I've boiled it all down to these Top 5 weight loss basics that experts stand by generation after generation.
#5- Have clear and realistic goals
SMART Goal Checklist
Is your goal..
- S pecific?
- M easurable?
- A ttainable?
- R elevant?
- T ime-bound?
Setting a Weight Loss Goal
Setting a goal is critical to weight loss success. The more clearly that you can visualize your destination, and your path to get there, the more likely you are to arrive at your goal.
Setting SMART Goals is a great way to fully envision what your path and destination will look like. Answer the 5 W's- Who? What? When? Where? Why? And answer, How?
Take a small bite, not more than you can swallow. It's best not to aim for more than 10% of your current weight at a time. Then, keep track of your progress and adjust to what does or doesn't work as you go.
What should you actually weigh? Find out here
Do you drink a lot of soda? If not, then don't focus on avoiding soda. That's a great tip if it applies to you, but it might not. Find the answers to why you're overweight to begin with.
Hold yourself accountable by setting a date. Give yourself 2 months to lose 15 lbs., for example.
#4- Drink Enough Water
You are adequately hydrated when your urine is light to clear
This is the information that I was given by my doctor, and I've found plenty of other experts that back this up.
At different times, your body needs more or less water. There is no exact amount of water that your body needs every day, and everyone's body is a little different. If your urine is bright yellow, drink more water. If your urine is clear, you don't need to drink any water right now.
There are guidelines out there that are intended to be a starting point. Many people say to drink 64 ounces, or eight 8 ounce glasses daily. Other recommendations say that you should drink 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise. The bottom line, neither of those is exactly right for anyone. They are just guidelines. But, your urine is like an instant test to show your level of hydration over about the past 5 hours, or since you last emptied your bladder.
#3- Eat more!
Remember the food pyramid?
... Lower Calorie Foods
Ideally, a healthy diet is actually made up of MORE food than the average American eats. That's because the foods most Americans skip are not calorie dense. They are very nutrient dense, however.
Six ounces of whole grains, 2 ½ cups of fresh vegetables, and 2 cups of fresh fruits should make up the bulk of your diet.
Have some whole grain rice with dinner. Or, snack on a bowl of popcorn. (Yes, corn is a grain!)
Eat a side salad with your lunch. Mix some frozen vegetables into your noodles, or just about anything. Snack on carrots and celery.
Eat an apple with breakfast. (It keeps the doctor away, after all.) Cut up a banana, or strawberries, or both, and put them on your cereal.
If you work more of these foods into every meal, you won't be so tempted to over do it on meat, dairy, fat and sugar. Plus, they have fiber, which other foods do not. Fiber fills you up, aids in digestion, and can also lower your cholesterol.
#2- Be More Active
Easy ways to a more active lifestyle, better relationships, and a happier life
Being more active is fundamental for healthy living. It doesn't have to mean exercising on purpose. Here's 5 easy lifestyle changes to be more active, while supporting emotional and social well-being.
- Get Unplugged (turn off the devices)
- Stop taking shortcuts on everyday tasks
- Get friends and family in on it
- Don't sit when you can stand
- Take up an active hobby
Break the Sedentary Habit
The more you move, the more calories your body burns. That doesn't have to mean going to the gym. It can just mean changing your habits.
Do you check the weather from your smartphone? Get up and go outside!
Do you camp out in front of a screen (television, computer, tablet, phone, etc.) for hours on end? The light from the screen actually disrupts your sense of time and energy levels. You can find new energy by just turning the devices off.
Do you do things the easiest way possible, and then spend the rest of your time relaxing? What did people do before modern technology made everything so easy? Try doing things the hard way, on purpose. You'll also save money and reduce stress!
Have fun! Take up an active hobby. Do you like going to dance clubs? Do you like gardening? Do you enjoy swimming? Try something new!
#1- Balance Macronutrients
- 20-50% calories from fat
- 15-30% calories from protein
- 30-60% calories from carbs
- fat provides 9 calories per gram
- protein provides 4 calories per gram
- carbs provide 4 calories per gram
Which macronutrient is your weakness?
This is what most diets are about. Remember earlier how I said that your goal should be relevant? Cutting sugar or cutting fat might not be what's important to you. You need to understand what you're already doing that's keeping you overweight, and then change those habits. Most diet plans describe how one type of diet can be better for you. They don't know you! They're making assumptions about what you're already doing, and what you'll want when the diet is over. Forget dieting! Just change the habits that make a difference for you.
So, what are macronutrients? There are three macronutrients- fat, carbohydrates (or sugars), and protein. All three of these nutrients are needed for you to live. They are the three forms that food energy takes. (The measurement of food energy is a calorie. In fact, in other countries, nutrition labels say Energy, not Calories.)
Balancing these three nutrients is what is important. 30-30-40 is a good guideline to start from, but it's not exact. Just look for where you're really lacking something or overindulging in something, and don't get hung up on the numbers.
Eat more lean protein
Quality proteins are important. Since you need about 50 grams of protein daily, they shouldn't all come from fatty meats. Fish, poultry, and many cuts of pork are great sources of lean protein. Some of your protein should also come from nuts, beans, dairy, and some red meat. Having a variety of protein sources ensures that you're also getting all of the vitamins and minerals from each.
Protein is an important component in weight management, because it keeps you full for longer between meals. Protein is also important for the health of your hair, nails, skin, muscle, bones, blood and brain. Protein is one of the basic building blocks of every cell in your body.
Controlling Sugar Overindulgence
Most of all, don't drink your calories. Soda and sugary drinks are basically liquid candy. Imagine melting down ALL of your Halloween candy and drinking it. Eww! Water is always the best choice. Or, drink milk. Juice is good too, but in moderation. It would be better to eat an apple than drink a big glass of apple juice, but apple juice is better than soda.
Zero Calorie Sweetners
Artificial sweeteners are bad news. That's a fact that we're learning more and more with each new study. They actually make you crave more calories, and keep your taste buds tuned to serious sweetness. Don't opt for anything "Lite" or "Diet" because it has less calories, because it will backfire on you.
Table Sugar vs Honey or Agave
Both honey and agave are sweeter than table sugar, which means you can use less for the same sweetness. They also cause less of a blood sugar spike in the body. They are better than sugar, where needed. Definitely dial down your sweet tooth first and see if your food really needs sweetening to begin with.
Dial down your sweet tooth
Nearly everything your body does is in response to it's environment. Your taste buds and cravings are no different. The less sweet things your taste buds taste, the sweeter that everything tastes. Constantly bombarding your taste buds with sweetness actually dulls their ability to sense things that are sweet. Try it. Don't eat sweet things for a week and then pop a Jolly Rancher. It will be almost unbearably sweet to you.
One interesting example of this, is that if you ask just about anyone, from just about anywhere else, they will tell you that American bread tastes like cake. I also hear so many people respond with, "But I need foods with flavor," when you talk about eating healthy. It's not the foods don't have flavor, it's that you're incapable of tasting it right now.
So just dial down the sweetness of everything that you eat, and your taste buds will adjust. You'll actually taste your food more, and you'll enjoy things you never thought you would! You'll also stop craving that sweetness.
Choose good fats
Fat plays an important role in your body by forming the outer membrane of every cell. Not least of the cells it protects are your nerve cells. Your brain is very fatty, and it needs to be. The fatty material, myelin, that protects your nerve cells makes it possible to see, think, speak, and move, among many other basic human functions. Fat is also an important part of many hormones that control the function of various organs in your body. Much of the fat you take in is also used as a long-term source of energy in your body, where carbohydrates provide more short-term energy. (Your body actually uses much less energy from the protein you consume.)
Generally, the more solid a fat is, the worse it is for you. The reason it is solid, is because it is saturated. Unsaturated fats are more liquid.
Bad fats include beef, chicken skin, cheese, butter, coconut oil, and candy bars.
Good fats include olive oil, olives, avocado, nuts and seeds, fish, and peanut butter.
You do need a small amount of saturated fat in your diet, but it should be less than 10% of your calorie intake. The "bad" fats actually trigger the signal from your stomach to your brain that you're full. So, including a very small amount with each meal can help curb overeating.
Good Sources of Macronutrients
Lean Protein Sources
Fish, poultry, and some pork
Nuts and beans
Honey or Agave
Nearly everything else you read about diet and exercise builds on these 5 basics:
- Balance macronutrients
- Be more active
- Eat more (lower calorie foods)
- Drink enough water
- Have clear and realistic goals
Hopefully, this Hub is a unified resource of all of the information that's out there, and you find it useful and easy to understand.
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