Weight loss success can be difficult, especially with all of the many diet plans vying for your attention. After many failed attempts with fad diets, most dieters realize that dieting isn’t the best way to lose weight at all. Lifestyle changes including healthy food and exercise are keys to attaining success. Following are 7 common sense tips for losing weight and keeping it off.
Increase Your Daily Water Intake
Experts agree that drinking water is necessary for your body to function at peak performance. Your body uses water to regulate its temperature, hydrate your blood, bones and brain while keeping your joints and muscles lubricated.
But, drinking water may aid in weight loss success. Drinking a full glass of water prior to each meal makes you feel fuller so you may eat less during the meal. Before picking up a high calorie snack, drink a glass of water. When your body is dehydrated it sends that same message to your brain that you experience when you are hungry. When this happens in between meals, drink a glass of water and wait thirty minutes to determine if you are really hungry or just thirsty.
Plain water can be boring, especially if you are drinking large amounts of it. If you are looking for ways to liven up your drink think about adding some low calorie, healthy options such as sliced cucumbers, lemons or limes. Or mix berries with water in a freezer tray and add these flavored ice cubes to your water.
Eat more protein
Protein has been getting a lot of attention in recent years in the world of health and weight loss. Many health experts agree that increasing the amount of protein in your diet each day can help you lose weight. Protein aides weight loss in a couple of different ways. Eating foods high in protein fill you up faster and keep you feeling full longer. The feeling of satisfaction lowers the risk of mindless snacking between meals which leads to weigh gain. Protein also helps to build strong muscles. Muscle burns fat so the more muscle you have the easier it is for your body to burn unnecessary fat. Foods high in protein include lean meats, fish, cheese, beans, yogurt, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Get more sleep
On average, 7 hours of sleep a night is the recommended amount for maintaining good health. Proper rest helps to restore the body, and helps it to function in an optimal state. Being sleep-deprived can cause a “foggy brain” effect which can lead to low energy, irritability and poor decision making. Sleep isn’t directly related to weight loss but the effects of poor sleep do affect your ability to live a lifestyle where weight loss is possible. Those that are constantly tired don’t have the energy to exercise, crave high carb foods more frequently, and can find themselves a victim of late night snacking.
All weight loss success plans include some kind of physical activity. The key to sticking with an exercise program is to do something that you enjoy. Let’s face it, if you don’t enjoy it you probably won’t do it for long. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week along with a healthy diet is generally what you need for weight loss or maintenance. If the traditional gym workout isn’t for you explore your inner child for some fun ways to get your heart rate up. Commit to a brisk walk or run with a friend, sign up for dance lessons, swim laps at the local YMCA, take a bike ride, or find a pick-up basketball game at a local park. For muscle toning and strengthening Yoga and Pilates provide the muscle resistance you need without the use of heavy weights.
Find a Partner
Losing weight can be difficult, especially if you are trying to do it alone. Recruiting a friend to join you on your journey can provide the support and accountability needed to be successful. Find a partner to join you at the gym, plan healthy meals and snacks or talk about obstacles that may get in the way of reaching your goals.
When choosing a partner make sure it is someone you trust who will be honest and firm with you when you need to be held accountable and your biggest cheerleader who shares your successes.
Create a food journal
Starting a food journal is probably one of the best ways to determine where your true eating habits lie. It can be an eye opening experience to really see how often and how much you eat during the day. Many of us do not realize how often we mindlessly pop some treat in our mouth throughout the day. A food journal gives you a starting point to see the good and the bad in your current diet. Once you have determined your normal eating pattern you can start increasing the good things you eat during the day such as fruits and vegetables and decreasing the bad such as salty and sweet snacks.
A food journal is also a great way to write about your weight loss successes and failures. Emotional eating creates a roadblock for many trying to lose weight. Writing about situations and events that cause you to stress eat can raise your awareness to change those situations or learn how to effectively deal with them to avoid overeating.
Focus on Real Food
You may have heard the saying, you are what you eat. Well for the most part, it’s true. Eating a diet of healthy, whole foods can tremendously increase your chances of succeeding at weight loss. With so many weight loss diet schemes on the market today it can be hard to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods. Many food companies label their foods as natural or healthy but in reality they are filled with chemicals and preservatives.
When shopping for groceries, stay in the outer isles of the store. This is where the truly healthy foods are placed. Here you will find fresh produce, lean meats, home-made breads, raw nuts and seeds and healthy bone-strengthening dairy. The inner isles of the store contain the boxed processed foods, salty snacks and high calorie treats. This doesn’t mean that you should never venture into these isles, just take care to select healthier options while there. Products made with whole grains, minimally processed and the least amount of processed ingredients as possible.
Losing weight quickly using fad diets or starvation methods do not lead to long term success. Generally when you grow tired of the rigid requirements of the plan, the weight comes back on. Moderation and a common sense approach with healthy food and exercise that fits into your lifestyle will bring you better chances of success.