Saturday, July 24, 2010
1. Exercise is essential for weight loss:
This is nothing new, but exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long term weight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. One caveat, be certain to find something you enjoy so that you'll be more apt to stick with it. Try walking with a friend, joining a sports league, participating in outings, hiking, running, or try some classes at your local gym. Once you give exercise a chance, you will begin to enjoy its positive benefits on your psyche as well; you will literally become "hooked" (trust me!)
2. Keep a food diary for triggers that hinder weight loss:
Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time. A food diary can provide a large amount of self-awareness. It can identify emotions and behaviors that trigger overeating, foster greater awareness of portion sizes, and help you discover your personal food triggers. Study any patterns that emerge from your food diary and identify where you may be able to make more healthful changes. A food diary provides an added benefit of keeping you focused on and committed to your goals.
3. Stay focused on being healthy, NOT on becoming thin:
Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight. Focus on eating high quality, nutrient dense REAL food.
4. Weight loss and portion control:
With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a "plate cleaner" even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.
5. Lose weight slowly with small changes:
It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes like eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week.
6. Eating slowly can lead to weight loss:
Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy and savor every tasty morsel.
7. Weight loss through eating more fat (yes, more), but do it wisely:
If you were around for the low-fat diet craze of the 90's, you may have found yourself convinced that fat is the dieter's worst enemy. But that's not necessarily true. Fat is actually considered a vital nutrient. It is an important part of your diet: It can not only be beneficial ... it's essential! Fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and regulation of bodily functions. Not to mention that eating enough fat may actually help you manage your weight loss efforts by providing a better sense of satiety than other lower fat foods. This is because it helps you feel fuller longer than other lighter fare. For example, if you eat a reduced-fat cheese and egg white omelet in the a.m., your tummy may grumble by the time you've settled into your cubicle; but if you use a small portion of regular cheese, that morning meal may have longer staying power and keep you hunger-free until noon. The reason is fat actually takes longer to digest than some other types of foods. Since it sticks around in your stomach a while, you'll feel fuller longer and will be less inclined to eat until you feel a sense of hunger again.