The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a low-calorie eating plan that you can stick to for a long time. Additionally, exercise every day to burn extra calories and keep your heart healthy. If you just want to drop a few pounds fast, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals, too.
Trying Specialized Diet Plans
Do the Mediterranean diet if you like fish and veggies. A plan like the Mediterranean diet may be able to help you sustain weight loss. It is based on the traditional ingredients and cooking styles of people living near the Mediterranean sea. Research has shown that people adhering to this diet have reduced risk of heart disease - plus it helps you shed pounds and look lean and trim. If you want to try the Mediterranean diet, avoid bread, dairy and processed foods. Instead, build your meals around the following foods:
Beans and other legumes
Try the paleo diet to help you avoid processed foods. Back when cavemen still ruled the earth, they didn’t have time to bake cupcakes or fry potato chips. The paleo diet (short for paleolithic) seeks to recreate the same diet that our early ancestors ate, claiming that our systems are not built for modern ingredients and cooking styles. You eat meat, vegetables, fruit, and other foods that would have been available back then, and avoid anything paleo people wouldn’t have had.
No artificial sweeteners or grains are allowed.
Do the Whole30 diet to focus on whole foods. The idea behind this diet is to eliminate all processed foods from your diet for 30 days to cleanse your system of artificial ingredients and other processed items that are hard on your digestive system. After 30 days, you may also notice a reduced waistline and higher energy levels.
Avoid grains, dairy, sugars, legumes, alcohol, and all processed foods.
Eat meat, vegetables, and some fruits. Additionally, drink plenty of water.
Do the raw food diet if you enjoy raw veggies and fruits. If you dislike meat and are tired of cooking, this one’s for you. The raw food diet consists entirely of foods that have not been cooked. You lose weight by consuming loads of fresh vegetables and fruits. Coconut milk, nuts, seeds and other uncooked foods are also allowed on the raw food diet.
You can find recipes for creating flavorful raw food dishes by searching online.
Dietitians warn that a long-term raw food diet may leave you without essential nutrients.
Adopting Healthy Eating Habits
Select smart substitutes for your favorite high calorie foods. Most foods have healthier counterparts that will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without unnecessary fat, sugar, and calories. Exchanging high-calorie processed foods and drinks for healthier alternatives can help you lose weight faster
Consider eating vegetarian a few days each week. By replacing meat with nutritious foods like beans, tofu, or lentils, you can cut significant amounts of your daily calorie intake while adding many nutrients to your diet.
Eat delicious fruit for dessert rather than a processed cookie or cake.
Swap potato chips and candy bars for snacks that are nutrient-rich and low in calories and fat. Try combining string cheese with a handful of grapes, spreading peanut butter on a few crackers, or dipping sliced red pepper into a few tablespoons of hummus.
Try substituting vinegar and lemon juice for your regular salad dressing.
Cook with a tablespoon of olive oil instead of butter. It has the same number of calories, but it is a healthier type of fat.
Avoid going down grocery aisles that tempt you with high calorie foods. It’s best to stay along the perimeter of the grocery store, which is where the fresh foods are typically located. However, when you need to go down the aisles to get something, try to stay away from areas where foods you crave are stocked, such as the candy or soda aisle. If you don’t see them, you’re less likely to be tempted.
You don’t want to ban foods you love, but keeping them in your home makes it likely you’ll indulge. Don’t stock “junk” food in your home. Instead, make it a rare treat.
Stop drinking sugary drinks to save calories. Sugar-sweetened drinks can quickly add extra calories to your diet, so it’s best to cut them out. Eliminate sugary soda, sweetened tea and coffee, and juice from your diet. Instead, sip on water, tea, black coffee or seltzer.
Drinking water or unsweet tea instead of soda, coffee, alcohol, juice, or milk may help you cut hundreds of calories per day.
Eat more of foods that fill you up. Some foods help you feel full faster and may help you stay fuller longer. Many of these foods contain protein, fat, or fiber. However, foods that help keep your blood sugar stable are also great options, as this helps you keep your appetite in check. Here are some great foods to incorporate if you want to feel fuller longer:
Nuts and seeds
Beans and legumes
Calculate how many calories you can eat while still losing weight. Start by finding your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you need to stay alive. Then, use an online calculator to estimate how many calories you burn through activity. Finally, subtract 500 calories for every pound you want to lose that week.
To calculate your BMR, first get your weight in kilograms by multiplying your weight in pounds by .45. Next, get your height in centimeters by multiplying your total inches in height by 2.54. Then, use this formula to find your BMR: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) - (5 x age) - 161.
To estimate the calories you burn through exercise, try this calculator: https://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/get-moving-calculator/.
For an easy way to estimate the number of calories you can eat, use an online calculator like this one: https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/.
Calorie counting apps, like My Fitness Pal, usually do this calculation for you.
Never eat fewer than 1200 calories a day, unless your doctor is supervising you. Eating fewer than 1200 calories a day is dangerous for your health.
Keep a food diary. Write down every meal, snack, and drink you consume. Track the quantity of food you’re eating, as well as the estimated calories of each item. Writing down what you eat helps you stay mindful about how much you’re eating and helps you stick to your goal.
You can keep a paper diary or track your food digitally. Apps are a great way to easily track what you eat. For instance, you might try MyFitnessPal, which allows you to track your meals and has an easy to use food database with the nutrition information already entered.
Don’t forget to include things like coffee mix-ins, condiments, salad dressing, and other items you add to foods or drinks.
Eat regular meals or snacks every 2-4 hours. Skipping meals isn’t the answer to losing weight, and it may even derail your efforts. Food gives you energy, so going too long without eating can leave you feeling tired, which decreases your activity level. Additionally, it triggers your body to crave high-calorie, high-sugar snacks for a quick energy boost. Instead of starving yourself, plan frequent, healthy meals.
Regular meals and snacks also keep your blood sugar stable, which helps control your hunger levels.
Plan your meals around lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables. Fill your plate with 1/2 non-starchy veggies, 1/4 lean proteins, and 1/4 whole grains or starchy veggies. Additionally, incorporate healthy fats, like olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish. For snacks, eat fruits, nuts, seeds, and cut up veggies.
If you’re having trouble, meet with a dietitian to get help figuring out your ideal calorie goals, dietary needs, and potential area for improvement. They’ll create a plan for you that fits your preferences.
Eat smaller portions to help you cut back on calories. You don’t need to give up your favorite foods to lose weight. Similarly, choosing healthier dishes doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Instead, portion out your meals using measuring cups or special spoons that measure out servings. Alternatively, make things easy by eating off smaller plates or bowls, which trick your eye into thinking your servings are bigger
To make it easier to track portions, prepare your snacks ahead of time. For instance, you might weigh out 1 serving of almonds, then put it in a baggie or container for later.
Stronger flavors can help you control portion size. For example, dark chocolate or a dark beer are satisfying in small amounts and can be difficult to consume quickly.
Identify your food triggers and plan accordingly. Everyone has food triggers, so don’t feel bad about craving certain foods. Cut back on these foods by figuring out the things that trigger your cravings, like a certain activity, a time of day, or feeling certain emotions. Then, plan for better ways to handle those triggers, and don’t keep these foods around your home or workplace. This can help you avoid giving into temptation.
For instance, you might crave popcorn at the movies, or may want candy in the afternoon at work. To deal with the temptation, you could replace the snack you crave with something that’s a better fit for your diet. For instance, you might bring a bag of plain popcorn to the movies, which is a healthy alternative. Similarly, you could eat a single square of dark chocolate each afternoon instead of your typical candy selection.
Remember, you don’t need to stop eating your favorite foods. However, it’s best to plan for how you’ll incorporate them into your calories.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Getting regular exercise helps you burn more calories, keep your heart healthy, and maintain your metabolism. Aim to do cardio activity most days, and do strength training 2-3 days a week. Choose an activity that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it.
For example, you might walk, run, do aerobics, do an elliptical workout, cycle, or swim.
At a minimum, you need 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week to maintain your good health.
When you first start exercising, it’s normal for your body to retain water as it works to repair the muscle tissue you’re breaking down during your workout. This might make the scale tick up a few pounds, but this weight will fall off again once you get used to regular exercise.
Choose exercises and workouts that match up with your fitness level. If you’re new to exercise, you likely won’t be able to push yourself too hard or workout for long periods of time. However, it’s not necessary to overwork yourself to see results. Choose exercises that you can do well, then build from there.
Always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Remember, games like volleyball, tennis, and frisbee can help you burn calories while having a blast, so it’s possible to exercise while having a good time.
Before you begin exercising, use a measuring tape to measure your waist, hips, and bust. If you are gaining weight but these measurements are going down, it means that you are gaining muscle and losing fat.
Take up cardio training. While a combination of cardio and resistance training are important for overall body health, cardiovascular training is what will help you shed those pounds quickly. Weight and resistance training may not lead to immediate weight loss but can trigger your metabolism to use energy more efficiently.
Cardio exercise includes anything that gets your heart pumping.
For best results, include both moderate and high intensity aerobic exercise.
Keep your exercise regimen interesting. Variety is the key to both promoting a healthier you and keeping you motivated. When you do the same exercise day in and day out, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuring yourself. You are also more likely to become bored, thus making it harder to find the motivation to keep exercising. While at the gym, switch between machines, join a fitness class, and add some resistance training into your schedule.
Do strength training 2-3 times a week. Resistance training and weight training help you stay lean by building muscle and raising your metabolism, even when you’re not working out. Incorporate these exercises 2-3 times a week, with at least 1 rest day between your workouts.
It’s okay to do cardio on your strength training rest days, as long as you don’t push yourself too hard. Choose a light to moderate activity level.
Muscle cells are more metabolically active than fat cells. This means that they burn more calories than fat cells, even while you are resting and sleeping.
Choose workouts that require your entire body to exert an effort. This way, you work every muscle group and burn calories with more muscles at one time, like multitasking with your exercise. For instance, combine a form of resistance training with your arms, like raising dumbbells overhead, while you jog or cycle with your legs.
Get more activity throughout your day. Increase the amount of walking you do by choosing a far away parking place or taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Make as many trips upstairs as possible or walk the dog three times a day. Additionally, dust, sweep, and mop with vigor. The more you move, the more calories you burn.
You might even start a hobby that involves moving around a bit, like gardening, carpentry, working on cars, or painting large canvases. This will help you burn more calories even when you’re not exercising.
Get enough rest. Being properly rested will help you maintain sufficient energy throughout the day, making you less likely to overeat and less prone to injury during physical activity. Sleep deficiency has actually been linked to an inability to lose fat, so getting enough sleep can really help you on your path to losing weight.
Create a sleep routine to help you fall asleep faster. Relax for an hour or 2 before bed, and avoid screens during this time. Additionally, turn down your thermostat, make your room dark, and put on comfy PJs.
Trying Weight Loss Treatments
Go to a sauna to sweat off water weight. Saunas may result in a loss of a pint of sweat in just a quarter of an hour. To prevent dehydration, limit your sauna time to 15 or 20 minutes per day. A sauna won’t help you lose weight permanently, but it can help you look slimmer for a special event.
Make sure you increase your water consumption after you use a sauna to rehydrate your body.
Pregnant women, young children, and people with blood pressure or heart problems should not use saunas.
Use a body wrap to temporarily look slimmer. Body wraps claim to help you slim down by smoothing and tightening your skin to make your waist, thighs, and arms appear thinner. While these results are temporary, they might help you look slimmer for a special event. Here are some wraps you might try:
Mineral body wraps: These wraps use a mineral-based cleanser that is supposed to reduce cellulite, and tone and firm your skin almost instantly.
Lipase body wraps: First, an enzyme wrap is applied to help smooth fat tissue near the surface of the skin. Then, a second mineral wrap is applied to help tighten and smooth your skin.
European body wrap: These wraps target trouble spots and are typically offered at spas. They are supposed to firm and tone your skin, while reducing the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks.
Hot body wrap: Heat-based body wraps are also typically offered at spas. They’re designed to stimulate smooth, toned skin.
Attend a weight loss camp. Sometimes sticking with an exercise routine and diet plan is too challenging. Old habits and daily routines will steer you back to your old foods and activities at every turn. To combat this, many people enroll in residential weight loss programs that remove them from their daily lives. Sometimes called fitness retreats, these programs come in dozens of different styles, and are available for youth, adults and seniors.
Before you attend a weight loss camp, make sure it’s equipped to safely handle your age and health specific needs.
Consider liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical option for fast, targeted weight loss, generally only recommended for people with 1-2 specific areas of highly fatty tissue but an otherwise relatively healthy body weight. Because it is a surgical procedure, it carries significant health risks and should only be performed by a licensed professional.
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