Lose Weight Safely: Choosing the Right Diet Plan for You
I get asked this all the time, "Sara, is there a best way to lose weight safely?" The answer to this question is complicated. In the simplest of terms, to lose weight safely one must expend more calories than one consumes. If only it was as easy as all that! The truth is that there are as many ways to lose weight as there are reasons to do so. In order to make weight loss actually work, one's diet must be sustainable. Now I don't mean in the sense of it being sustainable nutritionally, that is a given. No, what I mean meshes with the advice I give people all the time. Your diet must be one that you enjoy, that is satisfying, in order to be sustainable over the long-term.
If you plan on losing weight and keeping it off, you cannot deprive yourself. Crash diets focusing on quick weight loss often gets you into your clothes for a little while. But when it is all over, you put back on double what you lost in the first place. The yo-yo effect is a direct result of the deprivation of the crackpot diets that promise the world and deliver nothing.
Lose Weight Safely through Lifestyle Changes
Focusing on small lifestyle changes over a long period of time is one of the best ways to develop healthy eating habits. The idea here is that one should never give up a food type cold-turkey. It doesn't work. Say you currently drink coffee with two-spoons of sugar. That's fine, just cut back to one-spoon of sugar for thirty-days. Do nothing more than that. It is a little step that seems insignificant but by the end of thirty days, you have formed a new habit. It is now time to add a new change.
Perhaps you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch. You have been doing this since you were a child. You have absolutely no desire to give up your peanut butter and jelly yet you wish to cut back on bread. A solution, eat a half a sandwich but toss in some baby carrots to help fill you up. Now, at the end of sixty days, you have two changes that you made to your healthy lifestyle. You may even be seeing some results on the scale.
Over a year's time, you will accumulate twelve major and a whole bunch of secondary lifestyle changes. Things like the carrots with your peanut butter and jelly is considered to be a secondary change. Because you are going about the changes slowly. At the same time, you are creating new habits that are likely to become permanent changes in your life.
Lose Weight Safely Doesn't Mean Deprivation
There is absolutely no reason to fret. You may diet to lose or maintain lost weight without ever having to give up the foods you love. I lost over 50 pounds and have kept that weight off for 15 years without giving up anything I loved to eat. I still eat rich foods, bread, and popcorn. I snack on peanut brittle and spice drops. The thing is I just don't eat as much of these foods as I did before I understood that crackpot diets don't work.
What I learned from experts was simply this; to lose weight safely and keep that weight off for a long period of time, I had to make significant changes in lifestyle. In the beginning, I dreaded exercise. My intellect, however, told me that if I exercised that would actually help my efforts. Exercise burns calories so I could actually eat more. Over time, I added new routines to my daily exercise so that now my day begins with a plan to work on different muscles each day. I still walk a lot.
I had to learn how to think about portion size. One of my little tricks is when I am eating out I ask for a to-go box when the food comes to the table. I divide the plate into two (sometimes three) portions, placing the excess in the to-go box. I then have lunch or dinner for the next day ready without much of a fuss.
Lose Weight Safely means Gradual Change
Losing weight rapidly is unhealthy, PERIOD. Gradual weight loss is safe and sustainable. Developing the right habits for weight loss means that you are also creating the right habits for keeping your weight at a healthy level over time. By adjusting your habits, one habit at a time, you look back at the end of the year at just how drastically different your eating is today than it was before you began the journey.
Over the next few articles, I will discuss some basic weight loss issues. Who should and how to best lose weight safely over time. I want to leave you with a single thought. To lose weight safely is not a destination, it is a journey. It requires you to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. It may involve some retreating from time to time. It does not, however, require surrender.