You know you need to lose weight, you’ve been carrying around those extra pounds longer than you care to admit. You keep telling yourself, I’m going to do something about it this weekend or the first of next month but time just keeps slipping by.
Well, I’m here to tell you, do it today! Most people think they have to do all sorts of crazy things to prepare to lose weight. This is not necessary and in some ways all that prep time is just a form of procrastination (ouch, I know, tough love).
So no more procrastination, start this very minute. It’s OK you didn’t have the healthiest breakfast or that you just polished off the leftover lasagna. Just because you had one unhealthy meal doesn’t mean the whole day, or overall effort, is ruined. Forgive yourself and focus on eating healthier for next time.
The way to lose weight is no secret, take in less calories or burn calories and doing both is even better. It’s good to keep in mind the importance of moderation and balance. It’s really easy to get all gung-ho in the beginning and cut your calories way down and exercise like a maniac. I’m sorry to have to tell you, this is not the best way to get (good) results.
Eventually you will feel deprived and increase the chance of binge eating on all your favorite evil foods. You also need to realize that drastically reducing your calories is going to cause you to lose more muscle than fat and nobody wants a jiggly body!
Keeping your calories at a realistic amount and exercising will help you keep the muscles and lose fat. Studies have shown that the activity doesn’t have to be vigorous and exercises that are as simple as walking or using the stairs have shown a positive effect. Any type of physical activity that will cause you to burn 3,500 calories a week is recommended, which can result in the loss of one pound.
If you are not sure how many calories you should be burning or consuming, you can consult your doctor or a nutritionist, or use our health calculator: http://www.dietsinreview.com/resources/health-calculator/
Food and exercise journals, whether online, in an iPhone app, or in a notebook, can be incredibly beneficial strategies to losing weight.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT LOSS
So you’ve decided to take control of your health and you’ve been working your butt off (pun intended) and that cute little outfit you haven’t been able to fit into since, well, lets just say it’s been a while, you’ll be wearing in no time!
So congratulations! But once you reach your goal, do you have a plan to maintain it so all that hard work was for not?
I really don’t want to burst your bubble here but most individuals who lose a large amount of weight regain it two to three years later. So just as losing weight required effort and commitment, so does keeping it off. The same strategies you used to achieve your weight loss will also help with maintaining.
A study conducted by the National Weight Control Registry found people who lost weight and continued bi-monthly support group meetings for one year maintained their full weight loss. Participants who did not attend the support meetings regained almost half of the weight. And those same websites and apps can help you maintain your loss for life.
Once you have reached your desired weight loss, gradually increase your calorie intake by 200 calories (while continuing to eat healthy, low-fat food). If weight loss continues, slowly add calories until you find the right balance to maintain your desired weight goal (the aforementioned BMR calculator can give you a maintenance calorie target, too). Continuing food journals can be important for success, also.
After you have found a happy balance with your calorie intake it is still important to continue paying attention to your behavior with food. This will help you avoid the common pitfalls that caused you to gain weight in the first place.
Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s extremely hard to keep weight off over time. It’s easy to stop paying attention and become complacent with your diet and exercise (you do have a million other things to worry about after-all.)
Of course, you may not even realize you have become slack on your diet, until your jeans are a little more snug than usual. When this happens, you have two choices, you can either ignore the snug jeans or use them as a wakeup call.
When you get caught in the constant up and down of weight loss, you have invariably fallen into what is called weight cycling or “yo-yo dieting.” Some studies suggest this causes high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and high cholesterol but these studies are not conclusive.
One myth about weight cycling is that it is harder to re-lose the weight. From the studies that have looked at this, they find it does not influence the ability to lose the weight again. Another piece of good knows is that weight cycling does not appear to increase the amount of fat tissue or the amount of fat distributed around the stomach. More than anything, it can simply be exhausting.
Even with all this being said, the best strategy is to avoid the weight cycle to begin with and keep in mind a return to old habits does not mean failure. A renewed focus on what is causing the old habits and returning to your support group is a good way to stop the weight gain. Also, go back to increasing your physical activity and re-adjust your calorie intake until you start to see a loss.
April 6th, 2012