Our weight can be compared to a balancing act. However, the equation is quite simple. We gain weight, when we consume more calories than we burn and lose weight, when the intake of calories is fewer than we burn. About 3,500 calories is equal to one pound of fat. Therefore, when we cut down the intake of calories, say about 500 from our daily diet, we’ll approximately lose one pound in a week. (7 days x 500 calories = 3500 calories), it is quite simple right? However, weight loss is considered to be a difficult task. This is because we make it hard with extreme diets, which leave us starving and cranky.
Unhealthy lifestyle selection also weakens our efforts and habits such as emotional eating stop us even before we begin our weight loss program. Nevertheless, there is a better technique to lose weight and you will not feel miserable too. According to a study, it really doesn’t matter, which diet plan you opt for as long as the plan helps in reducing the intake of calories and is good for your heart (that is – low in cholesterol and saturated fat).
Tips for Healthy Weight Loss
Avoid Common Pitfalls
“Quick fix” weight loss plans and pills and diets such as fad diets often fail in achieving the desired results. By following such diets you will be deprived because they cut out the groups of food like fat or carbs, which are not only unhealthy but impractical too. Moreover, it does not allow a well-rounded and healthy diet and hence, it creates a nutritional imbalance.
Also, you will not be able to keep up with the weight you have lost, as the diets will severely cut calories by relying on ready-made meals, which works only for short term. Once the weight loss goal is achieved, there is no plan in place to sustain your weight and hence you will quickly gain back the weight.
In addition, without practical and healthy diet plans, you might feel isolated and lost, while dining out in social situations like weddings or cocktail parties. Many diet companies promise a lot about their weight loss products. However, most of them are just not realistic.
Emotional Eating – Put a Stop to it
We don’t eat merely to satisfy our hunger. If this was the case then nobody would have gained weight. Often, we consume food to comfort ourselves and to release our stress. When this happens frequently, we pile on more pounds. Hence, don’t take emotional eating too lightly. Try to identify the emotional triggers, which lead to overeating and respond with choices that are healthier, as it makes a lot of difference in your efforts towards weight loss.
To start with, make a note of when and how you eat. Is it only when you are hungry you eat or you prefer snacking while watching TV as well? Does stress or boredom will make you eat more? Do you eat to reward yourself? Once you recognize them, you can gradually change the mental attitude and habits that have interfered with your dieting efforts. There are a number of strategies to fight against emotional eating.
If there is a tendency to turn towards food after a long day, then try to find other relaxing ways to de-stress. You can unwind by drinking herbal tea or with a book or soak in a warm bath or enjoy a beautiful view. In case, you are low on energy and tend to eat more, then listen to energizing music, walk around the block or do some jumping jacks and quick stretches. Another option is to take a short nap, but make sure to keep it for thirty minutes or less.
Find better ways to calm yourself in case you are stressed. Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are some of the options to combat stress. When you are bored or lonely try reaching to others rather than the refrigerator. Take your pet for a walk, call a friend or find an enjoyable activity to do. You can also visit a grocery store, mall or a library – anyplace where there are people.
Today, we are living in a world that is fast-paced, where eating food has become a mindless activity. We eat while watching TV, while working and at our desk. Therefore, we consume more food than we require. Avoid this, by following ‘mindful’ eating.
Savor every bite, pay attention to the food you eat, and pick foods that are enjoyable and nourishing. Chew the food you eat thoroughly and stop eating before you feel full. Mindful eating will not only help you in weight reduction, but will help you to maintain it as well.
Fill up with Fiber, Veggies and Fruit
You could lose weight by eating fewer calories. However, this does not imply that you have to consume less food. You need to choose the foods wisely, which keeps you full and satisfied without adding more pounds.
Fiber – Keeps You full and Helps in the Weight Loss Plan
Include foods that are high in fiber, if you don’t want to feel deprived and hungry while you are on a weight loss plan. The fiber rich foods will take time to chew and hence, it is more satisfying. Moreover, the time taken for them to digest is also longer, which means you are fuller for long. Beans such as pinto beans, split peas, chickpeas, lentils and black beans are rich in fiber. You can add them to salads and soups or relish them in a meal of their own.
Also, you can include bran muffins, multigrain or whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and oatmeal, which are high fiber cereals. Vegetables and fruits in all shapes, sizes and colors are the key players in any diet plan and moreover, they are healthy and savory as well. Veggies could be full of flavors and delicious, when you dress the vegetables with spices and herbs or cheese or olive oil.
Indulge without Overindulging
When you try to ban certain groups of food, you will naturally be tempted to eat them. Instead of avoiding such unhealthy foods completely, you can eat them less frequently. In order to lose weight successfully and maintain it thereafter, you need to relish on the foods that you love, however without going overboard. Any diet that wants you to stay away from all your favorite items will definitely not work in the long term.
Hence, deprivation diets usually fail. Also, ensure that your favorite snacks and treats are less in calories, sugar and fat. Engage all your sense organs and don’t just give prominence to your taste buds. Rather than chewing your food mindlessly, relish and extend the experience.
You must eliminate toppings such as frosting, cheese dip, whipped cream etc, which are high in calories. The snack time can be made extraordinary by setting up an attractive table, playing soothing music, lighting candles or enjoying it in the beautiful outdoor setting.