Picture this: your next-door neighbor has discovered a new diet that has enabled her to lose 20 pounds in less than 2 weeks, and she looks fantastic. Naturally you think to yourself, if it worked for her, it can work for me, so you follow the regimen to the letter. Unfortunately, the diet requires you to cut your calories to way below the recommended guideline on top of rigorous hours of exercise. Before the 2 weeks are up, you’re sore, you’re frustrated, and you’re miserable – and you’ve even put on a few pounds because you couldn’t help but bingeing at the end of each day.
If you’ve ever experienced the above scenario, then you’re not alone. Thousands of people each year watch those numbers on the scale bounce up and down like a child’s yo-yo, unable to lose weight or unable to keep it off. Crash diets and dangerous diet pills can leave consumers with temporary results, but often times the risk is more trouble than it’s worth.
So how can you lose weight safely and keep it off for good? Surprisingly, the key to successful weight loss isn’t a miracle pill or an expensive exercise machine. These 7 Simple steps can help you shed those stubborn pounds without putting your body at risk for negative side-effects.
1. Keep a Food Journal
According to WebMD, studies have shown that it takes a deficit of 500 calories per day (by burning more calories than you consume) to lose 1-2 pounds of fat a week. By keeping careful track of the foods you eat and the exercises you do each day, you can see where your diet needs to improve to maintain healthy weight loss.
2. Eat Balanced Meals – Don’t Fall for Fad Diets
As you may have already discovered from the above scenario, fad diets don’t always work the way you expect them too. If you cut your calorie intake too low, your body will go into “starvation mode,” slowing the metabolism to a crawl and making it difficult to lose more weight.
Additionally, many diet pills use harsh stimulants and unproven chemicals to supposedly help consumers lose weight, but often times result in negative side effects.
Rather than putting all your attention to foods that you have to remove from your diet, focus your efforts to adding new fruits and vegetables to your diet. The more varied and balanced your meals are, the more you can supply your body with the nutrients it needs to stay slim, trim, and healthy.
3. Stay Hydrated
Your body is roughly 70% water, and in order to stay healthy, you need to aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day (more if you exercise vigorously). Not only will this zero-calorie beverage help flush toxins from the body and keep your fat-loss potential in tip-top shape, but water can also help maintain a healthy calorie intake (keeping you from confusing hunger with thirst).
4. Don’t Forget to Strength Train
Many people are under the assumption that cardio is the key to shedding those extra pounds. However, regular strength training can help you build stronger muscles, which, in turn, results in a healthier metabolism and consistent weight loss.
5. Take it Slowly
We commend you for your enthusiasm, but losing weight safely is a long-term goal, requiring dedication and changes in your lifestyle. By taking it slowly, you can give your body ample time to adjust to your new regimen and reduce your risk of injury.
6. Get Active and Involved
Whether you enjoy playing football with your buddies or prefer doing Pilates and yoga in a local class, staying active and involved is essential for losing weight. Rather than getting in a weight loss rut and sticking to the same old routine day in and day out, vary up your workouts with a new sport or a new stretch. Keep it fresh and fun, and you’ll actually want to keep going.
7. Consult Your Doctor
As always, the safest method for weight loss is to consult your doctor and find a regimen that suits your individual needs. If you have a health condition, then your doctor can offer you suggestions and techniques to get you started without putting yourself at risk. If you want to lose weight safely, only your doctor can tell you how to get started.
Just because you want to shed those stubborn pounds clinging to your waistline doesn’t mean you have to make yourself miserable through fad dieting and extreme exercise. With the right techniques, losing weight can be a fun, enjoyable, and lifelong experience.
These simple steps can put you on the right track for healthy and safe weight loss, and with a little extra creativity, you can stay slim, trim, and healthy without the risk of negative side-effects.