Want to lose weight for good? Stop searching for the latest quick weight loss scheme. Yes, you will likely lose weight fast on any calorie deprivation diet, but your impatience will be rewarded by an equally fast weight regain.
We all like immediate gratification. It sure beats waiting. The Internet certainly promotes life impatience. If an article I want to read takes more than one second to load, I decide I don’t really need to read it and click away.
This is How to Lose Weight for Good
1. Focus On Gradual Loss.
Too many people focus on trying to lose weight fast. It’s not healthy, and it doesn’t work, because even if you are able to lose a lot of weight fast, you haven’t learned sustainable eating habits that will last you a lifetime.
The key is to figure out an eating pattern than will work for you for the rest of your life. If you focus on losing just 1-2 pounds per week, that adds up to 50-100 pounds per year. That’s a lot of weight that you won’t regain because you’ve changed your eating habits.
2. Focus on Nutrition.
Exercise is important. You have to do it. It has wonderful benefits. But if your focus is on weight loss, the most important factor is what you eat. Don’t ignore exercise, by any means, but if you focus on exercise and think you can eat whatever you want, you’re wrong. Your weight is determined 80% by what you eat. Even if you exercise regularly, that will only contribute about 20% to your weight loss. If you want to lose weight, the way to do it is to eat less, not to obsessively exercise. Exercise just doesn’t burn that many calories. For example, about 30 minutes of exercise will burn fewer calories that are in a medium order of McDonald’s fries. Lose the fries, and you’ve done in a few seconds what would take 30 minutes of exercise to accomplish.
3. Plan to Eat Healthy.
There’s so much junk food everywhere that you need a plan to eat healthy. It will always be easier to grab the readily available less nutritious foods. You need to impose the discipline of planning your meals. Restaurant dining and traveling require upfront planning.
4. Become Aware of Your Hunger.
Many times we are not conscious of how hungry we are. We ignore our bodies because we’re too busy thinking about other things. As a result, we only eat when we’re famished, and that’s not a good time to eat, because you don’t make healthy eating decisions when you’re super hungry. Your blood-sugar level is too low, and your body just wants a quick sugar fix — a donut or some cookies or white bread or a Coke will be much more appealing than a salad or healthy sandwich on whole grain bread. Learn to listen to your body, and be aware of your hunger when it’s in its early stages. Ultimately, this is the skill you need to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re hungry between meals, don’t ignore your body. Eat a healthy snack.
5. Indulge Cravings Periodically.
From time to time, you’re likely to crave your favorite junk food. Don’t let the craving build up too long, because then you’ll go crazy and indulge for too long. Instead, give yourself permission to eat what you crave. You may find that often your body just wants a taste of that food and if you give your body what it wants, and really pay attention to the taste and texture of the food and how you feel after you eat it, you will probably crave that food less and less.
6. Learn to Stop Eating When You’re Satiated.
Pay attention to your body as you eat. Don’t multitask. If you eat mindlessly, you’ll most likely overeat. You’ll just keep cramming food in until you’ve eaten too much. We’ve all felt the pain of being overstuffed. Don’t allow that to happen — be mindful of your eating, and of your hunger.
A good habit to build is to eat slowly, put the fork down and take pauses, so you can think about whether you’re really still hungry. Also, drink lots of water during those pauses. This style of eating will allow you to stop eating when you’re satiated (when your hunger is satisfied, not when you’re stuffed) and allow you to eat less. It’s not easy at first, but once you’ve practiced it for a week or two, it will make a huge difference in the amount you eat.
If you habitually go back for seconds, stop and take a break for a few minutes. Drink some water, talk to somebody, read, go do something, clean the kitchen a little. Whatever it takes. Often you’ll find that you really didn’t need the seconds. And then you’ve saved yourself a few hundred calories.
7. Drink Lots of Water.
Drinking water throughout the day helps you to eat less. Water takes the place of food in your stomach. You’ll still need to eat, but if you stay hydrated you’ll get hungry less. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
8. Keep Healthy Options Available.
A good trick is to clear your fridge and cabinets of all unhealthy snacks and foods. Just dump them. Then plan some healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and go shopping. Bring healthy foods to work and wherever you go. Always have some fruits and nuts and other healthy options by your side. If you do this, and eat when you’re hungry, you’ll eat the unhealthy stuff much, much less.
9. Log Your Food.
This may sound difficult to those of you who hate to log stuff or who only do it for a couple days and then stop. But it’s really not that hard once you get used to it. The reason you need to log is because most people underestimate the amount of calories they’re taking in. They don’t think the sweet drinks or the little snacks make any difference, but they really add up. Log everything that goes into your mouth, and you’ll really see how much you’re taking in and also understand some eating habits that you need to work to change. The act of logging makes you more aware and provides all day accountability and that mindfulness helps keep you on track to eat less and be healthier.
10. Create Accountability.
Perhaps the greatest motivator of all is allowing others to see your log. Whatever tool you use, get a coach or partner to add to your accountability. For some people, a support group that monitors each other’s logs can also help keep them motivated to eat well and exercise.
11. Don’t Be Too Strict.
An overly strict diet plan is a bad one. If you are severely restricting yourself, and you feel deprived of good foods, you won’t last long. Instead, relax a little bit, schedule a cheat snack, meal, or day, and also ease up a bit on special occasions. It’s still best if you can go for the healthier foods on special occasions, but don’t be too strict. Find the particular pattern that works best for you.
12. Three-Bite Rule.
A great way to allow for cheats is the three-bite rule. If you want a sweet or some other sinful food, don’t deny yourself forever. Instead, give yourself permission to eat a little indulgence, but just three bites. Allow yourself to enjoy the taste, eat slowly, then move on to healthier foods.
13. Forgive, and Move On.
If you make a mistake, or cheat more than you should, don’t just give up or beat yourself up. This kind of negative thinking is why people don’t stay on diets for long. They binge and then go back to their unhealthy habits. Instead, just forgive yourself for any indulgences, and get back on your healthy eating plan. Look forward, not backward.
14. Get Inspired.
Motivation is important, maybe the most important thing. Accountability is the best motivator. Inspiration is a close second. Find others who are doing what you want to do, read success stories, read magazines and blogs and books, put up a motivational poster. Do whatever it takes to get inspired.
Click here for a slightly different version of how to lose weight for good.