Tips to help you lose weight to look better, feel better, and live a healthier life.
How did I get here?
Do you simply need help learning how to eat better? Probably. But if you eat poorly as a result of emotional, mental, or spiritual problems, they may have to be addressed before you can make any real progress with weight loss.
Related FAQ: Could I have an eating disorder?
Even people who don't have an eating disorder often turn to food for comfort. To learn to eat well and exercise regularly, you may also have to learn to handle the problems life throws at you without turning away from healthy eating and exercise.
Be particularly careful about all-or-nothing thinking. A common tendency when failing to stay on a diet is to abandon it altogether. Instead, try to learn from your mistakes and do better in the future.
Are you ready to diet? Again?
Diets entice us with their promises of quick weight loss. But the people we know who eat well and look healthy aren't dieting at all. They have simply adopted good eating and exercise habits.
Focusing on quick weight loss can lead to unhealthy eating and only short term success. Focus instead on improving your health, and you will look better and be healthier.
Related FAQ: What is the best diet for me?
Take control of what you eat.
There are few things that we have complete control over, but what we put in our mouths is one of them. We don't have to lose control at a friend's home or ordering in a restaurant, and we don't have to eat everything that's put in front of us.
Consider this: We love fat because it carries flavor, and restaurants aren't as interested in whether we'll be around in 30 years as whether we'll be back next week. And what about our friends?
Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
People that eat mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains often find that they can eat as much as they want without gaining weight. If they are switching from a diet containing a lot of fatty meats and junk food, they often lose weight.
When you eat meat, be sure it's lean. Think native Chinese. They eat mostly rice and vegetables with a little lean meat for protein and flavor. (Don't confuse this with Chinese restaurant dishes like deep fried sweet and sour pork!)
Related FAQ: Why is eating healthy foods important to my diet?
Eat more fiber.
Fiber makes you feel full sooner and helps to move fat through your system faster so that less of it is absorbed. Also, refined grains like instant rice that have had most of their fiber striped away turn into blood sugar (glucose) so fast that they can cause a spike in your insulin level. This tells your body that plenty of energy is readily available and to stop burning fat and start storing it.
Related FAQ: Why is it important to eat fiber?
Cut down on sugar.
Remember that whatever we eat that we don't burn up gets turned into fat. Be careful about sugar in coffee and soda pop. It can add up quickly, and these drinks aren't filling.
Related FAQ: How does my blood sugar level make a difference?
Also watch out for "fat-free" foods. Sugar is often used to replace the flavor that is lost when the fat is removed.
Related FAQ: How much fat-free food can I eat and not gain weight?
Avoid fried foods.
Fried foods, especially deep fried, contain a great deal of fat. While chicken and fish are usually leaner than beef, all bets are off when they are fried. Look at the number of grams of fat per ounce in these three McDonald's sandwiches:
Crispy Chicken 3.4
Too much of a good thing.
"All I eat is salad, and I can't lose any weight!" Be careful with salad dressings, mayonnaise on sandwiches, and other condiments that are high in fat content. They can easily counter the healthy aspects of a meal. Replace mayonnaise-based condiments with fat-free alternatives like mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce.
And remember, a gram of fat contains more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate.
Related FAQ: How many calories are there in a gram of food?
Too little of a good thing.
But don't count out fat altogether. While you should limit foods high in saturated fat, fat is necessary to maintain a healthy body. Fat also helps to keep up both your energy level and metabolism.
Eating lean protein and carefully chosen quantities of healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts and fatty fish like salmon), it is possible to significantly reduce caloric intake without feeling hungry.
Related FAQ: What should I know about eating fat?
Eat frequently, and eat slowly.
Never skip a meal, and eat healthy snacks between meals. Eating frequently prevents hunger pangs, provides consistent energy, and maintains metabolism efficiency.
Our bodies were designed with the survival mechanism of hoarding fat to protect us from famine. When we skip a meal or go on a crash diet, our bodies think they're starving and slow down our metabolism to conserve energy. What is conserved is our fat stores; our weight loss comes from water and muscle.
Eating slowly gives our bodies time to tell us they are full before we eat more than we need.
Related FAQ: How can I raise my metabolism?
At home, at the gym, playing sports, participate in both aerobic and strength building activities on a regular basis. Not only does the exercise itself burn calories, but your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even after you stop exercising.
If walking is all you can do, then walk because it's been proven to be great for you. And muscle burns more calories than fat, so put on a little muscle if you can and you will burn more calories just sitting there... looking good.
But don't sit too long. The human body is good at adapting. If you dig ditches without gloves, you will develop calluses to protect your hands. If you sit too long, you will develop extra padding to keep you comfortable!
Related FAQ: Why is it important to exercise?
Take it easy.
Do not try and change too much too fast. If you have been eating poorly and not exercising, both your body and your mind will have a lot of adjusting to do. All the sugar and fat were actually quite enjoyable, and sitting on the couch didn't feel too bad, either. If you try and change everything too quickly the odds are greater that you will feel bad, get discouraged, and give up.
A time will come when a healthy snack will taste as good as the junk food you felt bad about eating, and you will look forward to your regular exercise. For better or worse we can become addicted to just about anything. It's certainly "for better" when it's eating well and exercising.