5 Simple Steps To Healthy Weight Loss That Lasts
Most people who want to lose weight, want to lose it fast – which is understandable really, I mean why wait? Wouldn’t you love to have the body of your dreams right now? Sure you would.
Unfortunately the reality is that this rarely succeeds, and its probably not good for you even if it does. For most people the true key to the perfect, healthy looking body is long term, healthy weight loss – the sort that is sustainable.
The great news is that as soon as you accept that you’re not going to achieve your goals over night you can start working your way to a healthier and (eventually) leaner you – and what’s even better is that once you get the right mind set healthy weight loss is actually pretty easy.
One Key Difference
It is worth considering a point before we get started – namely, the difference between crash dieting and a more gradual approach, because doing it gradually is a key part of what I’m going to be talking about below.
When you crash diet you are generally cutting your calories severely to get maximum losses quickly – obviously if you were to keep this up indefinitely you would in theory waste away, or at least you would eventually fall below your ideal weight. At this point you would presumably start eating more and endeavor to find a diet that allowed you to remain at this weight permanently.
With a more gradual approach you are not aiming to drop so low or so quickly, but instead you are going to find a lifestyle that causes your weight to naturally coast to that ideal – your diet regime, once you have fine tuned it should never change, so you should never have to ‘go on a diet’ again.
Step 1: Gradual Weight Loss
As promised then step one is more about the mental game – for a lot of people the hardest thing about dieting is sticking to it. The reality of this is that most diets are really what you would consider a crash diet. If you try to lose weight too fast you are going to find it really hard and sooner or later you will snap and pile it all back on.
I’m betting that on average the majority of people will have been gradually gaining weight over the last few years (it happens), so let’s be realistic; as a starting point just curbing that weight gain is a great start.
Now your goals really depend on you, but rather than trying to cut 700+ calories from your daily intake, imagine if you were to just start by cutting 250. You wouldn’t really notice the difference, and whilst your progress might be slow, you would be more likely to form a permanent habit.
Don’t worry about how much you lose each month, just focus on losing something. You can always boost your early losses in other ways.
The main goal of this step is to get yourself out of that mindset that makes you feel depressed when you only lose half a pound one month. If you don’t feel positive about your diet you will revert back to old habits, so setting realistic, long term goals is important.
Step 2: Regular Exercise
Exercise isn’t all about losing weight – in fact because of the muscle built you might actually get heavier. What exercise does for you though is it encourages you to be healthier in every other aspect of your life. Healthy weight loss can’t just be about the actual losing of weight, to be effective your focus needs to be wider than that.
So if you think you are not really interested in health – if you just want to lose weight – change your mind set right now. Your first challenge is to start finding ways to be more active, whether that means going to the gym twice a week or just walking to work.
This week make a point of deciding how you will exercise, work it into your routine; the easier to fit in it is the more you will do it. Feel free to start small too, this needs to be something you keep up.
Aside from the extra few calories burned, try to notice over the coming weeks how much healthier you feel. Ignore your figure for the time being, but notice how you sleep better, feel more awake during the day, feel more energetic and just generally happier.
All of these side effects will cause you without realizing it, to be more active in everything you do (even when you are not consciously exercising). This is a great way to burn even more extra calories without even noticing it – and the list of additional benefits to your general health is pretty staggering too.
Step 3: Learning To Understand Food
Most diets focus on calories – or points which basically equate to calories. Either way, you are basically simplifying the process to the point where you spend all of your time calculating how much of what you are allowed to eat.
This might seem fine for a short term diet, but you are not going to do this for the rest of your life are you? And for that reason, such regimes cannot be a part of a long term, healthy weight loss plan.
Step 3 is that you need to learn to understand food and how it affects your body. This is a whole other post on it’s own, but for the time being I suggest you focus on:
In particular, learn about the differences between complex carbs and simple ones (sugar being the simplest). Learn why some types of Fat are good for you and why often sugar leads to gaining fat even more than fat does.
Once you understand which foods are best to eat and which ones are not so ideal, you will be able to estimate how healthy different meal options are and you will be empowered to make good meal decisions even when you eat out.
You might be surprised at which foods are good and which are bad from a healthy weight loss point of view.
Step 4: Forming Healthy Habits
Now as I have already mentioned, healthy weight loss doesn’t happen over night, and neither does a big change in lifestyle. If you try to go from a very unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle to a salad filled lifestyle where you hit the gym 5 days a week you are going to burn out very quickly.
It has been said that we generally take 7 repetitions of a new behavior (on 7 separate occasions) before it starts to become habit. Additionally, we are very poor at forming multiple habits at once.
For that reason, my advice is that you decide right now what the key aspects of your life that you need to change, write them down, prioritize them and for the time being start working on the first one.
Don’t try to change yourself over night – just make small changes that you can live with and make sure that they become an integral part of who you are and how you live.
Step 5: Get A Routine
Finally, it kind of goes with the points I made above, but step 5 should be to focus very much on making your new lifestyle part of your daily routine. We humans are creatures of habit, and if you can work your healthy lifestyle into your daily routine you will find it so much easier to stick to it.
So for instance:
- Set Mondays and Thursdays as your exercise days
- Prepare your lunch for work each night when you get in
- Prepare a weekly meal plan on a Sunday night
- Take a walk to the corner shop at 11am each morning (even if you don’t need anything)
Simple things that fit into and become part of your routine – none of these are hard to stick to, but if you make them routine you don’t even have to think about them, you’ll just do them naturally…
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