When it comes to weight loss, some people go through extremes to lose mass amounts of weight in a short amount of time. Crash diets, supplements and the complete avoidance of whole food groups are often looked upon for assistance. These strategies might be effective, but they are short term fixes. What you want to is follow a sensible plan that you can stick with your whole life. This can be done by following several key steps.
Cut back on your fat intake. Fat has nine calories per gram unlike carbs and protein which both have four calories. Avoid high fat foods like cheeseburgers, french fries, ice cream, pizza, wings and any other food that is deep fried, cooked in butter, or drowning in cream sauce.
Take a bite and put your fork down. When it comes to eating meals, slow down. It takes approximately 20 minutes for a signal to be sent to your brain that you are full. Instead of shoveling food in your mouth at a high rate of speed, take a bite, place your fork on the table, chew and swallow your food. Then repeat for the rest of your meal. Reducing your portion size will also help.
Say goodbye to soda. Soda has empty calories, it is high in sugar and it also has no nutrient value. If you continue to drink it, along with any other high calorie beverage, your weight loss efforts will be compromised. Drink water as your main source of liquid. Stay well hydrated. If you want to drink milk, go for soymilk or skim.
Keep your hunger under control. When you eat a meal and wait several hours before you eat again, you can become ravenous and overeat, which can lead to more weight gain. To keep your appetite regulated, eat small balanced meals every two to three hours throughout the day. A balanced meal has a combination of protein and complex carbs. Unflavored, low-fat, low-sugar Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with fruit and granola is a healthy mid-morning meal example.
Reduce your overall calories. A pound of weight is lost by burning 3500 calories. A sensible weight loss plan would be losing one to two pounds of weight a week. To lose a pound a week from calorie restriction, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories.
Build muscles to burn fat. Muscles are highly metabolic and they can increase your caloric expenditure when you are motionless. Build muscle by doing exercises that target your whole body like push-ups, lateral rows, back rows, triceps dips, biceps curls and leg presses. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do three to four sets and perform weight training two to three times a week.
Perform cardio three to four times a week. Cardiovascular training can help improve your aerobic capacity while simultaneously burning calories. Do 30 to 45 minutes of cardio at least five days a week. Running, indoor cycling, swimming, stair stepping and brisk walking are examples of things you can do.
Find creative ways to get more exercise into your normal work day and personal life. Go on hikes with your friends on weekends, take walks on your lunch hour, park at the adjacent parking lot when you go to the movies and walk in place while you prepare dinner.
Do not deprive yourself completely. If you have a favorite food, snack or meal that is high in calories, have it once a week to reward yourself. This way, you will always have something to look forward to and you will not feel totally deprived. Don't snack before bed though.
Use a food journal -- for up to a month -- to record what you eat. Track your exercise as well -- type, length, intensity. You can either buy a notebook or journal; or use a free online application for both food and exercise tracking.
Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.