Every year millions of people attempt to lose weight, but only a fraction of them will successfully lose weight and keep it off. The following 10 healthy weight loss tips will set you on the right path for sustainable weight loss.
Make Small Changes
It’s hard for some people to take things slow. They won’t start their weight loss program until they have everything perfect. Their diet has to be planned out, and their exercise routine is charted weeks in advance.
Instead of overloading yourself with a bunch of changes at once, try to make just 1-2 small changes at a time until they become habit, and then make 1-2 more until those become habit too. In time, these new habits add up. Weight loss is much easier to tackle when you break it up and work on one small goal at a time.
Include All Foods
One of the first things dieters have to come to grips with is the fact that most of their favorite foods are going to be off limits. For many people this over-restriction leads to binge eating and other disordered eating patterns.
It is completely unnecessary to remove every indulgence from your diet. You can still eat all your favorite foods, you just have to be reasonable about it. If 80% of your calories are coming from whole foods, and you’re paying attention to your total calorie intake, the remaining 20% can be filled with foods you enjoy without hindering your goals.
Expect a Reasonable Weight Loss Pace
If you aren’t losing at least 2lbs per week, you’re a failure – WRONG! The standard advice is to lose 1-2 pound per week, but a better measure is between .5-1% of your body mass per week. Forget about all those extreme weight loss stories your read, see, and hear.
Our goal is to not just lose weight, but lose fat. To do that you have to lose weight a little slower so as to not sacrifice metabolism-boosting muscle mass. Very rarely does someone lose more than 2lbs of fat per week without sacrificing lean body mass. What’s the point in losing 20lbs if 10 of that is muscle?
Don’t Be Afraid to Eat
It’s amazing how we go from one extreme to the other. We go from overeating to practically under-eating overnight when trying to lose weight. Mostly, we believe the less we eat the faster we’ll lose weight. This couldn’t be more wrong.
Your metabolism adapts to low calorie intakes by slowing its metabolism. It does this by down-regulating important fat loss hormones such as thyroid, testosterone, and growth hormone. To keep your metabolism from crashing, you need to create just a slight calorie deficit – 15% from maintenance is a great starting point.
Portion control and calorie counting are really two sides of the same coin. They both accomplish the same thing – managing energy balance. Portion control is the key to setting up the weight loss autopilot.
Get in the habit of knowing portion sizes. With enough practice you will be able to eye a particular food’s calorie intake. This makes eating outside of the controlled house environment much easier.
No healthy weight loss article is complete without giving the standard advice of “don’t diet”. Instead, work on changing your lifestyle by working daily on creating new, healthy habits.
Diets have end dates. Rarely do they succeed at long-term weight loss. What typically happens is rapid short-term weight loss followed by a reversion to old eating habits once the diet is over. The weight loss is less “sticky” with diets when compared to lifestyle changes that work at creating new long-term healthy habits.
You must start, but there is no finish. While you will likely reach your weight loss goals, you will still maintain those same habits for the rest of your life that got you to your goal. The only difference will likely be slightly larger portions and more daily calories to maintain that weight.
Don’t let a slip up turn into an excuse to start over tomorrow or on Monday. Get right back on track your next meal. We all make mistakes. File your mistake into the 20% fun food column and keep moving forward. No harm done.
Forget About Diet Blueprints
Are you the kind of person that seeks out preset meal plans? Do you feel like you could lose weight if you could just follow those step by step instructions? That likely hasn’t worked out too well for you.
Weight loss is about discovering your relationship with food. It’s about creating change. You have to learn how to rewire your brain so that your eating and activity habits become as second nature as brushing your teeth. No diet blueprint can do that. Again, work on creating 1 new healthy habit at a time.
Prioritize Strength Training Over Cardio
Fat-burning zones and cardio equipment are notoriously used by new weight losers. That’s not to say they don’t have their place in a fitness program. They just shouldn’t be the priority.
Cardio isn’t going to burn any more fat than weight lifting will. Weight loss is a function of calories, and cardio is just one way to help create a calorie deficit.
Instead, prioritize strength training so that you can build some metabolism-boosting muscle. This muscle will help you burn extra calories at all times of the day, and will give you some muscle tone to look forward to seeing once your body fat percentage gets low enough.
Learn Along the Way
Health and fitness are lifelong journeys. You are either learning new and interesting things about food and exercise, or you’re discovering things about your personality that you never knew existed. No short-term weight loss diet will accomplish that.
Lifestyle changers find through trial and error what makes them reach for certain foods. They find ways to alter that habit. They realize the true source of their motivation and find out how to harness that power.
They read books, blogs, and articles about how to better themselves both physically and mentally. Self-improvement is a lifelong goal. You too can not only just lose weight, but you can change your life through furthering your health and fitness knowledge.