Winning At Weight Loss Without DietingBy Mary Curtis
I must have lost at least a half ton of weight during the years between graduating high school until my late thirties. Hard to believe? Not when you consider that back then I still believed the myth that diets work. They don't.
Almost all of us have tried a new diet which alleges "spectacular fast weight loss." Dieting means - to all of us who have ever tried them - eating foods that we don't like, complicated measurements or weighing foods, or just plain going hungry being restricted only to drinking the claimed "diet" liquid. Most of us who have battled the scales have also tried starving ourselves in order to fit into an outfit for a special event or party. We learn from these experiences - the hard way - that the results are less than spectacular, the weight comes back even greater than before, and we come away tired and frustrated.
All these methods for losing weight are false and can even be dangerous. There is no such thing as "quick" weight loss - it is a myth. Fast weight loss is false because any weight that you do lose is not real and will only come back as soon as you end the diet.
When you deprive yourself on a quick weight loss diet, you are denying yourself proper nutrition because you are consuming less calories per day than you need. If you are on a single-food diet (like cabbage, for instance) or are drinking only a diet liquid, you are also depriving yourself vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and other vital nutrients which you get when you combine a variety of foods.
If you do manage to lose a few pounds on a fad diet, it will most likely be only water weight. This will come back as soon as you stop the diet and begin eating and hydrating normally again. But there is another reason why your weight will come back and why you might even get heavier than you were before you began the diet.
When you starve yourself or greatly reduce your calories to less that you need, your body begins a process to conserve any energy it intakes. What this means is that any calories you consume have greater ability to be stored as fat.
Diets - or quick weight loss plans, in other words, fad diets - don't work to get the weight off and keep it off for good. Weight loss to be permanent is a slower process - no more than about 2 pounds per week is a good way to make sure that the pounds stay off. Also, any changes you make in what you eat or how you eat need to be changes that you can live with for a long time - these changes must fit into your routine and be things that you like.
Here are four steps to get you started to permanently getting those extra pounds off. Follow them and you'll be on your way to a better looking figure, more energy, and a healthier, happier, thinner you:
- Be honest with yourself: Be realistic about what you want to achieve for yourself. Most of us are not super models so don't shoot for a body shape that is not you. For most people, a weight drop of even five to ten pounds is good. Losing just a few real pounds (not water weight) is better for your health and will result in a curvier figure.
- Select foods that you like: Any changes you make must be changes you can live with long-term. Begin by making a list of foods that you enjoy. List your favorite fruits, vegetables, bread and grain products, and high-protein foods like soy beans, cheese, eggs, fish, nuts, and meat (if you're not a vegetarian).
- Try lower calorie subsitutes: Substitute low-fat milk for whole milk, for instance. Soy cheese may be a good choice instead of cheese made with cow's milk. If you eat meat, try skinless poultry or lean cuts. Try olive or peanut oil as a topping rather than butter. Try honey or sugar substitute in coffee or tea, or try it without any sweetener. Again, any choices you make must be ones you enjoy and live with long-term.
- Enjoy high calorie foods by taking smaller portions: Most of us will have at least one high calorie favorite that we don't want to give up and that's alright if you don't overdo it. Remember that this is for the long haul so you don't want to make a bad deal with yourself to permanently deny yourself your favorite sweet or fatty food. Learn to enjoy your favorites by taking a small portion. A handful of potato chips, for instance. Or one or two pieces of candy rather than a whole box. A good idea is to buy "snack" sizes of chips and candies as these are generally small portions.
Now that you're on your way to getting rid of those extra pounds for good, here are some tips to keep you going to your goal and help you energize your metabolism:
- A few minutes of physical activity goes a long way: You don't have to work out to exhaustion or soreness to get more fit. Simple activities like walking burn calories and increase energy. Don't have a lot of time? Just a few minutes of light walking a day (like on break time at work or at lunch) is all it takes to start getting fitter. In the evening when you're watching television, lift light hand weights or do leg kicks during the commercials. Or put on your favorite music and dance for five minutes. Whatever you decide, enjoy your activity and add variety so you don't get bored. If you have joined a gym, stop for a quick workout on your way home.
- Eat frequently: Sounds good, right? You don't have to starve yourself until you're miserable. Eating small meals more often - say every two hours or so - actually steps up your metabolism so you'll keep the weight off.
- Relax: This also sounds good, doesn't it? Find ways to add pleasure to your day - reading your favorite books, playing video games, time with the family - whatever makes you happy. Stress actually causes weight to stay on and it can lead to "comfort eating." If your life is stressful, try meditation or join a Tai Chi class. Finding ways to maintain a serene center goes a long way to making positive changes inside for your better metabolism.
Please feel free to print this page out and refer it often. This process worked for me and I know it will help you too. Here's to a happier, thinner you!