Here are 8 expert secrets to guarantee success when making a weight loss plan.
Make your weight loss plan a lifestyle.
I always say diets are like vacations, they’re something you go on temporarily before you go back to your regular routine. Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle. If you eat a healthy diet and exercise you will have one type of body. If you eat unhealthy foods and you are sedentary you will have another type of body. In order to lose the weight and keep it off, you must continue to do what made you successful in the first place.
Set realistic goals and expectations.
Most people who begin a diet do so with unrealistic expectations. They want to drop 30 lbs in a month when it took them 3 years to gain it. Focus on the process and let the results happen naturally. 1-2 lbs a week is a realistic weight loss goal. If you are strength training, which you should be, you may not see much if any weight loss on the scale initially because you are gaining lean body mass (muscle) while burning body fat. The way your clothes fit is a great way to measure your progress instead.
Bodybuilders and most athletes eat small meals every 2-4 hours for a reason. This is ideal. Your body’s digestive system can only handle so many calories efficiently at once. What it cannot use for repair or immediate energy is stored for later use as body fat. A tip I use and give my clients is to not get full or hungry throughout the day. Eat before you really get hungry so you don’t overeat at your next meal and stop eating before you are full. Don’t worry, you will be eating soon enough again.
Water plays many roles in your body (your body is mostly water), and it is essential for proper metabolism. It is very easy to take in a large number of calories just by drinking them. An average 12 oz. soda has about 150 calories. Fruit juice is loaded with sugar as well. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. I’ve personally found that if I make water about 90% of my fluid intake, I can control my calorie intake quite easily.
Cook at home.
When you prepare your own food you have complete control over what goes into it. By learning to read and understand food labels you can know exactly what you are putting into your body when you make your meals. Use sugar, salt and fat sparingly or look for substitutes in your recipes.
You don’t have to join a gym to lose weight. Exercise comes in many forms. You can try taking a class, following a video at home, going for a walk, or even work around the house. Many people are having success with video game programs such as Nintendo’s Wii Fit or Yoga. The point is you need to physically exert yourself somehow on a regular basis. 3-5 times a week is a good goal to set.
Occasionally you should have something just because it tastes good. These choices may not be the healthiest options but are an important part of a successful diet. If you constantly deny yourself your favorite foods it can become easy to burn out on your healthy diet and overindulge. I try to have a “cheat meal” once or twice a week just for my mental health. My diet is low enough in sugar fat and salt that if I have a meal that is loaded with any of these, my overall intake is still low. Always look at the big picture.
When your body goes without food for a while it slows down it’s metabolism as a survival mechanism. When you eat breakfast in the morning, your body can start revving it’s metabolism up early in the day and keep it going throughout. Remember, it’s not how much activity you do or even how much you eat that determines weight loss. Weight loss is determined by how many calories you burn. Eating breakfast every day helps keep your metabolism up.