There’s no easy way to lose weight. Whether you decide on a high-protein diet, a low-fat diet or some other approach, experts agree that the only way to shed excess weight is to cut the total numbers of calories you consume and/or burn more calories through exercise. Simple enough to understand — but often much more difficult to do. Here are some things to keep in mind to find the balance.
Finding the balance between nutrition and diet
The “secret” to losing weight is this: burn more calories than you eat. When the body uses more energy than it takes in (remember, food equals energy), it depletes its fat stores. In other words, eat less and your body will burn fat for energy. Of course, what you eat is important, too. A diet based solely on cabbage soup won’t provide the nutrition your body needs and you’ll get tired of it fast. Any weight-loss plan needs to centre on foods you can keep eating for a lifetime — and will help protect you from cancer and other diseases.
Don’t cutback on nutrients
A diet that is high in meat and low in fruits (Atkins, for example) may lead to short-term weight loss, but is not in keeping with current nutritional knowledge. Excessive meat consumption has been linked with a variety of diseases and a high-fruit diet protects against cancer. Fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, low-fat dairy products and lean protein are the cornerstone of healthy eating, whether or not you’re trying to trim your waistline. The foods that your body can easily do without — which happen to be the ones packed with calories — are the ones to cut back on. That means cakes, cookies, fatty meats, whole milk, and cream sauces and the like.
Plan for the long term
When people want to lose weight, they usually want instant results. Most people who go on crash diets usually end up putting it back on just as quickly — and often put back more than they lost. Experts suggest a goal of losing about 0.5 kilograms (one pound) a week. There are 3,500 calories in 0.5 kilograms (one pound) of stored fat, so you’ll have to reduce your food intake by 500 calories a day to get there. Or you can eat 250 fewer calories and burn 250 more through exercise. Research shows that people who exercise in addition to eating less keep off the most weight for the longest time. Work up to getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as fast-paced walking) a day. By exercising you’ll raise your metabolism so that you burn more calories, even as you sleep. Exercise also helps you feel better mentally and physically, and may help you stick to your weight-loss plans.
Weight loss is not an all or nothing proposition. Knowing that it is a long term goal, finding the right foods to cutback on and getting some exercise will help you reach your goal weight properly and more healthier.