Everyone these days seemingly wants to lose weight quickly, but studies have proven that those who lose weight more slowly at 1 to 2 pounds a week are more successful at maintaining their weight loss than those who try the quick fix. Making the decision to be healthy is the first step to weight loss and the good news is you can do it with these five easy and effective tips.
5. Find a Supporter
A support system is important when trying to lose weight, giving you someone to lean on for motivation. Recruit a family member or friend and engage them as your go-to buddy if you start to feel discouraged or you’re tempted to miss a workout. If you need a pep talk, your buddy will be the cheerleader you need for that extra push to keep going. Also, consider joining a group fitness class at your local gym for an instant support group. Most gyms offer a variety of fitness classes that will keep you from becoming bored and help you reach your goals while making friends at the same time. You can lose weight on your own, but it’s easier and so much more fun if you share the goal with someone else.
Another support option to help jump-start your weight loss is to hire a qualified personal trainer. Personal trainers will develop progressive workout programs specific to your goals that will not only help you lose weight and inches but also increase your fitness level. Personal trainers will hold you accountable, keep you motivated and help you establish physical activity as a daily habit.
4. Make Smart Food Choices
How many times do you have a conversation with yourself debating the pros and cons before you eat certain foods? On one hand you know the item isn’t very healthy but on the other hand, it just tastes so good. We all know to avoid bad foods but there are some that are worse than others. Among the top to avoid are fried foods, fast food, processed foods and soda. Fried food and fast food contain large amounts of saturated fat and calories and in most cases are not nutrient dense with the vitamins and minerals your body needs for everyday function. Processed foods and soda have high amounts of fat and calories but also contain unwanted chemicals needed to actually make the item. When chemicals are required to make a food, is it really a food? A great way to boost your weight loss is to educate yourself on the facts about the foods you consume. Websites such as Calorie King and the American Heart Association are excellent references to give you the knowledge you need to make healthy food choices.
3. Watch the Portions
There’s no doubt that “portion distortion” is alive and well in restaurants these days, giving consumers a false sense of what a meal should look like. Steaks bigger than your head and mashed potatoes that take up half the plate are super-sized meals containing excess calories and fat and are responsible for unwanted weight gain. The easiest way to stay on track with your food portions is to divide your plate in three parts; fill half the plate with vegetables, one quarter with a lean protein and the last quarter with a complex carbohydrate.
2. Set a Goal
Setting a goal is a good idea no matter what the desired end result — to lose weight, refine a skill, increase sports performance or improve your health. You don’t need to start out targeting a huge achievement — say, losing 40 pounds. Instead, set smaller goals as you go that lead to your ultimate result. It’s important to make your goal realistic for your lifestyle and give yourself a reasonable time period to reach it. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure. Get started by writing your goal on a piece of paper and posting it on the refrigerator, a mirror or next to your computer. Schedule your chosen activity into your daily planner as you would any other event or appointment. Planning ahead will keep you on a schedule and make you less likely to skip a day.
1. Get Active and Watch the Numbers
Study after study has proven the link between exercise and better health. Continuous activity for 30 or more minutes a day decreases the risk of heart disease and cancer, reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and decreases body fat, just to name a few benefits. Research your favorite activities and how many calories your body burns by doing them. Fitness Partner provides a list of more than 200 activities that fit all lifestyles, from activities around the home like gardening and raking leaves to sport-specific activities such as biking, swimming and golf.
Losing weight is not rocket science. It comes down to a simple numbers game, by balancing calories consumed against calories burned. One pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories. In order to lose 1 pound you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories by eating fewer and more nutrient-dense calories and exercising to burn more calories than you consume. In many cases, just changing the way you eat will melt away the pounds without additional exercise. However, not everyone will benefit that easily and physical activity will be required. Conversely, creating a 3,500-calorie surplus and eating more calories than you burn will cause weight gain. Supercharge your weight loss by adding a daily activity that will burn at least 250 calories while cutting 250 calories by making wise food choices. For example, cutting out a 20-ounce bottle of soda and taking a brisk 30-minute walk creates a deficit of almost 500 calories for that day. It’s that easy. Do that for one week, you’ll lose a pound; after one month, you’ll have lost more than 4 pounds. It really is that simple.