Are you struggling with your weight? The truth is there is no universal solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since everybody responds differently to exercise and diet. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and lifestyle changes.
Successful and permanent weight management requires a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle focused on eating healthy foods and keeping physically active in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable.
Controlling your food environment
Don’t rely on willpower, Instead, control your “food environment” so that you don’t unconsciously overfill your plate and eat when you’re not hungry. This means not having junk foods at home or at least keeping them out of sight and changing your routines so you don’t regularly encounter temptations. You may not have control over everything in your food environment, but being aware of hidden food triggers and traps may be enough to keep you from overeating.
Many people find that going longer than a few hours without food makes them more likely to overeat later (often on high-calorie treats). Find a meal-timing pattern that works best for you.
‘Hunger’ is the best guide. Take note and listen to your internal cues, eat only when you feel hungry and stop when you are full. Be aware of eating when you are bored or eating out of habit, rather than when you are hungry. A helpful hint may be to keep a food diary to find out when this may be happening and what might be influencing your eating habits.
Planning meals and snacks ahead of time works wonders to fight off the pangs of hunger that can inhibit your best intentions to eat right.
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you have eaten enough and are satisfied. If you rush your meal and eat rapidly, your body won’t be tuned in to those feelings of fullness making it easy to overeat. A helpful solution is mindful eating, slow eaters tend to feel more full and eat less. Eating slowly makes you more aware of the smell, taste, and texture of the foods, which can lead to greater satisfaction with fewer calories. Such an approach will help you eat less overall, while you enjoy your food more.
Don’t forget to drink!
Water is essential for keeping the body hydrated and we’re more likely to retain “water weight” by not drinking enough of it rather than by having too much. The needs of each person will be different, but the general recommended daily amount is 2 Litres. It also takes up space in your stomach so you’ll feel fuller while taking in less calories. To liven up water, try a squeeze of lemon or lime or other fruit essence.
Exercise: Anything is better than nothing
Exercise can increase your metabolism, improve your outlook and it’s something you can benefit from right now. Combining exercise with a healthy diet is a more effective way to lose weight than depending on calorie restriction alone. Exercise can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain diseases. Exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, which may prevent a heart attack.
Aim for at least 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week for weight loss.
Exercise is also known to help contribute to a sense of confidence and well-being, possibly lowering rates of anxiety and depression. Yoga is an example of a less intense type of exercise, but it can help you lose weight in other ways. The study found that people who practice yoga are more mindful about what they eat and, therefore, less likely to be overweight.
The total amount of exercise you engage in during a day matters more than whether or not you do it, small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your waistline. Talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise program, especially if you are planning on doing vigorous exercise.
You make poor decisions when your judgment is compromised. Hunger is an urge that’s difficult to tame, when you’re famished, it’s hard to hold off until you can find healthy food and essentially, you end up eating anything that’s within arm’s reach, and most likely regretting it.
For example, you may eat more when you are stressed, depressed, upset, angry, lonely, or even happy and excited. If you often eat for reasons other than hunger, find pleasurable non-food-related activities that you can do instead, such as going for a brisk walk or run.
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re stressed or anxious, which can wreck any diet and pack on the kilos. Do you eat when you’re worried, bored, or lonely? Do you snack in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts. If you eat when you’re:
Stressed – Healthy ways to calm yourself can include; yoga, meditation, or soaking in a hot bath. Low on energy – Try walking around the block, listening to energizing music, or taking a short nap. Lonely or bored – Call a friend who makes you laugh, take your dog for a walk, or go to the library,
mall, or park—anywhere there’s people, instead of reaching for the refrigerator.
Consider adding a new technique every week or so until you find what works for you, keep in mind that not all these suggestions work for everyone. You should pick and choose that feel right for you to customise your own weight-control plan. Some quick suggestions for a healthy lifestyle are:
- walking or riding your bike to work or while running errands
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- parking farther away from destinations and walking the remaining distance
- Set goals to keep you motivated and use tools to track your progress.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Stop eating before you are full.
- Cook your own meals and serve yourself smaller portions.
- Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Drink more water.
- Remember: anything is better than nothing.
- Find an exercise you enjoy.
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