I am sure by now you have all tried various “diets” and read countless articles on how to lose weight the easiest or quickest way, but have you read about how to lose it and keep it off permanently? Well this article will show you some of the secrets to doing just that!
Before you even start on your weight loss programme take some time to set your intentions and have a clear goal of where you want to get to. Visualise this in your mind. Use images, sounds, emotions of how you will feel when you get to this goal until it feels real. If this takes a bit of time then that is okay. Once you have this clear in your mind, repeat this exercise every day.
Another key thing to remember here is to only focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example “I want to be healthy and full of energy” or “I want to be at my goal weight in three months time” Once you have a couple of statements personal to you focusing on what you do want, keep repeating these to yourself as many times a day as you can remember – in the car, on the train, at home, at work. You get the idea!
One other important factor is to be realistic! This will really help you keep on track and meet your final goal. There is no use in wanting to lose three stone in three months – I am sorry to say this but that is not going to happen if you lose it the way I am advising you to, which will keep it off, rather than let you pile it back on again in another three months!
As well as having your eye on the end goal take each day at a time and always congratulate yourself for doing well or treat yourself with something unrelated to food, as this will help you to break a cycle of rewarding yourself with a food treat as well! Even if you come off the diet for a couple of days, the most important thing is to not beat yourself up over it and realise that you are only human and it is not the end of the world. It is also important to realise you can get yourself focused and back on the diet again as quickly as you came off it.
Now for the “dietary” advice! When I talk about diet I would like you to see it in the loosest sense of the word. Dieting normally means counting points/calories, fasting, cutting out everything apart from juices, soups or shakes, very low fat, very low carb or something along those lines. I am here to inform you that you do not need to do any of these faddy type diets. I hear you take a sigh of relief! The way of eating (as I prefer to call it) below does not involve any extremes, so it should be fairly easy to follow and stick to.
Top ten tips for sustained weight loss:
Always have breakfast – This will help kick start your metabolism and keep your blood sugar stable, which has a direct effect on your appetite, cravings for sugary/fatty foods and your energy levels, thus you end up eating less!
Eat little and often – Eating this way helps to keep your metabolism ticking over and prevents your body going into starvation mode, which could lead to you converting fat from your fat stores in the liver. Your stomach is only the size of your fist and your body in general is not designed to be starved for hours and then bombarded with a huge amount of difficult to break down food that can be converted to fat due to surplus calories and the fact your metabolism slowed down in that time.
Eat protein with every meal – Protein helps the good old blood sugar once again to be more stable. Specifically it works to slow the release of sugar into the cells and helps keep you fuller for longer, hence you eat less and have less cravings again.
Eat low carb after 5pm – As your metabolism slows down in the evening and you are less likely to be as active, this means you won’t work off the carbohydrate as easy and also eating a slightly lower carb diet helps weight loss in general due to stabilising your blood sugar.
Cut out processed foods – Processed foods are laden with sugar, trans fats, artificial sweeteners or salt which all could inhibit weight loss due to blood sugar imbalances or imbalances of other hormones that promote weight loss. These foods are generally unhealthy as well so best avoided as much as possible. As a rule the more ingredients a food has on the packet, the more unhealthy it is, especially if those ingredients are made up of unnatural substances such as dextrose, aspartame and so on.
Increase beneficial fats (Omega 3) – Omega 3 fatty acids help to increase your metabolic rate and also keep you fuller for longer.
Keep hydrated (with water) – You may have heard about this one already, but this is often a simple rule that is forgotten about. Every time you feel hungry ask yourself is this hunger or is this dehydration? Nine times out of ten it is dehydration as we don’t drink enough fluids. Have some water and wait a few minutes to see if it has had an effect.
Reduce sugar/alcohol – You may be under the impression that some alcohol is better on a diet due to calorie content such as vodka but at the end of the day it does add more calories to your overall daily intake and also when you drink you are more likely to eat sugary and fatty foods that evening with it or the following day due to cravings that come with a hangover! Sugar as well needs to be kept to a minimum as the more you eat of this the more you crave and it has an effect on your blood sugar, causing it to crash quickly, which leaves you wanting more sugar and this can become a vicious cycle.
Allow yourself something once a week that you can look forward to – Remember that moderation is the key here. Go for a meal and have a dish that you really enjoy and one you know you cannot eat regularly for weight loss – or have a nice dessert you like (but a smaller portion than usual). Alternatively have a few squares of chocolate a couple of nights a week. This way you are more likely to stick to it as you won’t feel deprived.
Do some exercise (“I hear you say but I thought I wouldn’t have to do any of that!”) – I am afraid this is vital for weight loss, maintenance and also health in general! Find something you like doing – dancing, yoga, walking, playing tennis, anything that gets you moving more. To lose a pound a week you have to reduce your calorie intake by 3500 calories so exercise is going to help you get there a lot easier, as otherwise you need to eat 500 calories less a day and that will start to feel like a “diet” again and you may feel hungry. Exercise actually helps control hunger and muscle burns more calories than fat does – so it pays to exercise!