There are many myths in relation to weight loss, but what is the correct way to lose weight?
Unfortunately, unlike the diets and fitness fads that promise overnight weight loss, the healthy and correct way to lose weight involves a balanced approach involving incremental changes.
So while exercise is crucial, it’s not a good idea to jump into an intensive fitness regimen. Not only would this put your body at a greater risk of injury, but you might also feel demoralized for struggling to keep up.
In addition, a strict diet which leaves you feeling hungry and unhappy is not only likely to result in bouts of binge eating after the diet, but is also more likely to deprive you of essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are some tips on how to lose weight the correct way…
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General Weight Loss Guidelines
The general rule to follow when trying to lose weight is to
(a) reduce calorie intake and
(b) increase activity levels.
The key is therefore to maintain your calorie intake at a level less than what is needed for your daily energy requirements.
In addition, keep in mind that changing your bad habits is a much better way to lose weight (and sustain your weight loss long-term).
For instance, rather than trying to cut out certain food products entirely, it is a better idea to substitute the food product for a healthier version.
So if you have a habit of drinking full-fat milk with your coffee in the morning, then you could try switching to skimmed milk.
The general tip is to think of your weight-loss goals in the long-term – in terms of months or years, rather than weeks.
A) Reducing Calorie Intake
In order to lose weight, you must be ready to eat between 300 and 500 calories less per day than you usually do.
This will create a calorie deficit which will allow you lose between 1 and 2 lbs per week. Also, keep in mind that not all calories are built the same.
The key is to increase your intake of healthy calories while gradually cutting out the unhealthy ones.
This includes limiting your intake of unhealthy fats and sugars and increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and wholegrain breads.
Furthermore, make sure you are not skipping any meals – having a big, healthy breakfast is key to getting your metabolism going for the day.
A guideline you should use for assessing your weight is the BMI (Body Mass Index), which determines whether you are at a healthy or unhealthy weight.
To find your BMI, follow these simple steps:
- Multiply your height by itself
- Divide your weight by this figure. If your BMI is between 18.5 and 25, you are at a healthy weight. If your BMI is over 25, you are overweight, while 30 is obese and anything above 40 is considered morbidly obese
Here are some general tips to reduce your calorie intake:
- Cut out sodas and sugary drinks as much as possible, replacing them with water or lemonade
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Limit sugary and salty snacks like potato chips, cookies, biscuits, candy, etc.
- Cut down on your portion sizes and try eating until you are full, rather than until your plate is empty
- Cut out store-bought and processed foods and make a habit of preparing your own lunch and dinner
B) Increase Your Levels of Activity
Exercise uses up energy so even if you retain your existing calorie intake, there is a very good chance you will lose weight.
If you are not ready to start hitting the gym, try to focus on the activity that is easiest to incorporate into your daily routine.
This could be biking or walking to work, team sports on weekends or an aerobics class you could take with a friend.
The key is to make fitness a natural part of your day, even if it means going for a 20-30 minute walk around your neighborhood each day.
Keep in mind that every added step that you take means burning calories – this could motivate you to take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a walk rather than sitting in and watching TV.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is to jump to negative conclusions regarding the effectiveness of their diet/exercise regimen.
The initial sacrifice might seem to big and you might get discouraged when you see that there has not been such a big pay off.
But be patient and keep up your motivation – the changes will appear gradually.
However, staying on track should not mean blindly following your set plan. Feel free to adjust your regimen according to your experience.
If you are feeling too exhausted, it’s best to take it down a notch. On the other hand, if you’re feeling you could go further, go ahead and try pushing yourself a bit more.
But keep in mind that it’s best to take it slow in the beginning, to avoid the risk of an early burn out.
In any case, try to make this a fun journey – celebrate the little accomplishments and don’t fret the bumps. Make sure to celebrate those little milestones and reward yourself for all of your hard work.
This will allow you to stay on track and keep motivated long-term. Also, keep in mind that small bumps in the road are not always indicative of long-term progress. Try to stay optimistic and motivated.
Health and Weight Loss
Last but not least, your health should be one of the biggest motivators for your long-term weight loss.
Keep in mind that studies show that people who have gained over 20lbs since their 18-year-old weight have an increased risk for a variety of health issues.
In particular, their risk is much greater for diabetes, heart attacks and even cancer.
Persisting in your weight loss journey is a long-term investment in your health and overall well-being so it is important to keep in mind how to lose weight the correct way.