Permanent weight loss takes hard work and perseverance. If it wasn't difficult, no one would be overweight. But if you truly want to make the effort, you can lose the weight. Here are 10 tips to help you jump start your diet today:
Make a commitment to weight loss
This is a decision that you must make on your own. No one can make you lose weight if you don't want to. You must commit to weight loss so you won't give up when it gets hard.
Set your goals
You probably already have an idea of what your ideal weight would be, but have you thought about your waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio or BMI? Your body mass index should be 25 or less. Higher than 25 is considered overweight. To be healthy, women should keep the circumference of their waist at 35 inches or less and waist-to-hip ratio at 0.8 or less. Men should have a waist of 40 inches or less and a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.95 or less.
Make sure your goals are realistic
Striving to look like an underwear model is not a realistic goal for a lot of people. Goals like these also encourage rapid weight loss and the use of crazy fad diets. Setting realistic goals and making lifestyle changes encourage slow but steady weight loss, which you are more likely to maintain in the long run.
Understand the importance of calories
When you gain weight, you might blame it on your metabolism. While that may be a legitimate problem for some, most people are just consuming too many calories. Your body uses calories three ways:
- Running your body's basic functions
- Processing the food you eat
Remember, it's the ratio of calories taken in to calories used each day that determines your weight loss. So eat less and exercise more.
In 2004, the Center for Physical Activity and Health at the University of Tennessee studied 80 women between the ages of 45 and 54 with many different body types. The women wore a pedometer for 7 days and recorded the number of steps each day, while maintaining their usual work and relaxation habits. At the end of the study, researchers found that the women who took more steps in their daily routines had lower waist-to-hip ratios, body mass indexes and body fat.
Count your steps: you probably need to walk more
In the 2004 study, researchers found that, on average, women who took
- Fewer than 6,000 steps had 44 percent body fat, 0.87 waist/hip ratio, 29 BMI
- 6,000 to 10,000 steps had 35 percent body fat, 0.8 waist/hip ratio, 26 BMI
- 10,000 steps or more had 26 percent body fat, 0.75 waist/hip ratio, 23 BMI
Eat better food
Plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains have more fiber and water in them so you eat fewer calories and stay full longer than when you eat processed foods. Processed foods often have fewer nutrients and may contain harmful additives like trans fats and too much sodium. Try to avoid them or at least consume them in moderation and add more whole foods to your diet.
People who eat breakfast, particularly a substantial breakfast tend to eat less and snack less during the day. People who skip breakfast tend to snack more and make less healthy food choices. Overall, people who skip breakfast tend to consume more total calories than those people who started the day with a healthy breakfast.
Get your friends and family involved
More than half of all Americans are overweight. Chances are, someone you know would like to lose some weight too. Getting support in your lifestyle changes will make them easier to maintain.
Make your new habits permanent
To lose weight and keep it off, you must develop new, more healthy habits and keep them up. If you go back to your old ways, you will end up at your old weight. Crazy diet plans don't work because you can't keep them up. So make realistic changes you can keep doing.