Commercials for new weight loss pills air every week, new diet plans appear on the Internet in squads, and fasting is talked about as the best way to shed pounds. While these plans may work in the short run, they are not healthy ways to lose fat. This weight loss is unsustainable, and damaging to your body. Healthy weight loss involves losing weight slowly, and making changes to your overall lifestyle. So what are some healthy ways to lose fat?
- Eat More Often: If you can manage it, try to eat every 3 or 4 hours. As you decrease how much you’re eating, it’s important to spread it out over the whole day so you aren’t constantly hungry. It also stops your body from entering starvation mode, where it burns muscle to get energy.
- Eat Breakfast: Eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast every day and stay away from breakfast foods filled with extra sugars. Eating breakfast every day helps to boost your metabolism throughout the day.
- Eat Spicy Meals: Adding a bit of chili pepper, or your favorite spice, to your meals raises your metabolic rate for a few hours.
- Cut Carbs: Refined carbs, like cakes and chips, turn into fat when they are unburned. This fat is often hard to burn, and can discourage your progress.
- Cut Added Sugars: Sugar is extremely harmful when you are trying to lose weight. Eating sugar raises your glucose levels, which in turn raises your insulin levels. High insulin levels encourage fat storage. Instead of added sugar, try to stick to natural sugars from fruits.
- Stop Drinking Alcohol: A 5 ounce glass of wine or beer contains around 100 calories. If you consume one glass every day for a year, it can lead to a 10 pound weight gain!
- Stop Drinking Diet Soda: While diet soda doesn’t have any calories, it encourages sweet cravings. Instead, try to drink iced tea or carbonated water flavored with slices of fruit.
- Don’t Count Calories: Instead, make sure that you eat food that’s filling and nourishing. Most fad diets recommend meals that are sugar and fat free, and processed. Meals like this, while good for your calorie count, are lack nutrients. It won’t fill you up, and you won’t stay full for long. You should aim to eat a meal full of nutrient dense foods, like lean meats and vegetables. When you eat nutritious food and exercise regularly, your body stabilizes to a healthy weight.
- Keep Yourself Accountable: Write down what you eat. This doesn’t have to include nutritional information. Just writing down what you eat on a disposable napkin keeps you accountable, and makes it so you are less likely to mindlessly snack.
- Have Reasonable Goals: A healthy approach to losing weight is .5 to 2 pounds a week. Anything more than this can often only be achieved through unhealthy methods. And the more unrealistic your goal is, the more likely you are to get discouraged and quit.
- Make Gradual Changes: You are more likely to stick to a plan if it incorporates small changes, rather than many drastic changes at one time. Your end goal should be to permanently change your eating habits, so that you have a lifestyle change and not just a diet.
- Exercise: Even a small amount of exercise, like a 20 minute walk, is beneficial if done often. You can up your activity level through exercise classes, team sports, swimming, bicycling, and more. Aim to find something that you enjoy, and is relatively easy for you to do. You’re more likely to incorporate it into your daily habits if you love it.
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