The Festive Season is over and you may feel your waistline is as well. All is not lost however. In fact, now that we are at the beginning of the year, it is a good time to begin a new diet. By ‘diet’, we mean a healthy lifestyle eating plan. You may have tried one of the numerous crash diets that are popular. Cabbage soup anyone?
Do crash diets work? Yes, but only because you are cutting back on calories. Once the diet is over, you are so hungry you eat more than you should and are in danger of not only putting the original weight back on, but also extra weight.
Because you haven’t made any lifestyle changes you tend to crave food even more while you are on a crash diet. A proper, healthy diet doesn’t leave you hungry.
You probably want to get straight into what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t, but for long-term success there are some things you need to put in place first.
Here are 6 ways to lose weight properly and keep it off
If you are carrying weight that is unhealthy the first thing you need to do is change your perspective. What is really keeping you from losing weight? Very few personal challenges are insurmountable. You need a strategy to help you change those habits and attitudes which have held you back in the past. It is important to remember that even though you may have an occasional setback, you can start again the next day. Building a new, healthy lifestyle could mean it may take longer to lose the weight, but this time you will keep it off and be healthy as well as slimmer.
Most people try crash diets instead of implementing long-term, healthy lifestyle changes for the wrong reasons. They have the wrong motivation. The question to ask yourself is why do you want to lose weight? To fit into skinny jeans, to attract someone, to have people tell you how thin you are, or – and this is the only reason that matters - to be healthy?
No one can make you lose weight, but it’s important to have people who will encourage you when the going gets tough. The right kind of positive encouragement is important. The right people will offer accountability, help you create healthy menus and help you develop a healthier lifestyle.
Encourage yourself and keep yourself accountable by having regular weigh-ins, and record your diet and exercise progress in a journal. Remember, this is not about recording calories, but rather about recording the healthy meals you have. Recording calories can lead to the slippery slope of anorexia.
When you feel your motivation is slipping, remember this, losing even 5 percent of your weight can help lower your risk for chronic health problems, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Realistic goals for weight loss are important. Losing 0.5 to 1 kilogram a week is a good place to start. To achieve that, you generally need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day. The best way to accomplish your goal is with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
When you are setting goals, there are two things to bear in mind: your ultimate result and how you are going to achieve it. For example, your goal could be to lose 5 kilograms. Walking every day for 30 minutes is an example of how you could do that.
If you need assistance in deciding what is ‘realistic’ for your age and weight, ask your doctor for help.
You may be overweight for a number of reasons. Two of those could be eating too much food or eating the wrong food. If your calorie intake is higher than it should be then your new diet should consist of fewer calories. If you are eating the wrong food, replace it with the right food. Neither of these mean you should be giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation. Shortly after you have made the switch you will find unhealthy food is something you no longer crave and, in fact, you no longer enjoy it either.
Get your weight loss started with these tips:
Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily. An easy way to eat the required fruits is to blend them with yoghurt and add nuts for a great breakfast smoothie.
Replace refined grains with whole grains. Or cut them out altogether.
Use modest amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, butter and nut butters.
Cut out sugar completely. Cinnamon is a good substitute, especially in your coffee.
Choose low-fat dairy products, lean meat and poultry in limited amounts.
Regular physical activity plus a healthy diet will not only help you lose weight faster, but will make you healthier and happier as well.
Exercise boosts your mood by releasing cortisol and endorphins, strengthens your cardiovascular system, reduces your blood pressure and maintains your weight loss. While your new diet can be, and should be taken up immediately, your exercise program needs to be planned carefully and built up slowly. If you leap into a heavy routine too quickly, you may injure yourself. Steady aerobic exercise is a good way to start, for example, brisk walking, such as 30 minutes three days a week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the parking-lot when shopping, walk the dog twice a day. People who have regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight are generally happier than those who do not. What better motivation for a healthy lifestyle change than that?
If you need help with planning a new lifestyle diet or an exercise program contact your doctor for advice.
For more information please contact:
Lorisha Singh RD (SA)
BSC Med (Hon) Diet, IPPN UWA, PGPN Boston University of Medicine | Consultant Clinical Dietician
Shifa Private Hospital
+27 (0) 31 240 5000
Ethekwini Hospital & Heart Centre (Suite 10)
+27 (0) 31 581 2411
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis