So you’ve decided you want to revamp your diet and shed some pounds.
This takes courage, dedication, time, and effort, but it’s completely possible. Its important that you choose the right approach for you which could be the difference between short-term, fleeting results and lasting success.
Firstly, before embarking on any weight-loss journey, it’s wise to check in with your doctor. This is especially important if you struggle with any serious weight-related health problems. It’s also smart to surround yourself with other experts, friends, and family members who will support you. Besides boosting your confidence, they can empathize when you meet setbacks and offer fresh ideas on what might work.
Weight loss is simple but it can also become overwhelming and confusing with the seemingly endless weight loss options out there. Take the Internet for example, is a great source of diet reviews, but be wary of the reviews that always seem to promote one plan over the rest. Once you’ve narrowed your options ask yourself the following questions.
Is this plan something that can work into my day to day life?
Think doable. For example, if you adore pasta and bread, you are setting yourself up for failure by choosing a low-carb diet. Juggling a full-time job and three kids might leave you with no time to attend weekly weigh-in sessions. Not to worry. There’s a plan out there for everyone.
Do you want to count calories? How many daily calories can you have, and will that change as you lose weight?
Often diet plans, including cleanses, ask followers to adhere to extremely strict calorie allotments. But too few calories can leave you physically drained and can exhaust your willpower.
Many of my clients have found success with the 500 Rule. Cutting just 500 calories a day leads to a loss of 1 pound per week (1 pound equals 3,500 calories). But for some people, especially those who are very active, slashing 500 calories can be too much and leave them without the energy they need.
In most cases we recommend a safe and attainable goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week. When you lose at this slower pace you’re more likely to keep the weight off.
What Types of Foods Will You Be Eating, and Are Any Foods “Off Limits”?
A sensible weight-loss plan will involve plenty of:
- whole grains
- lean protein
- low-fat or fat-free dairy
- healthy fats
- occasional snacks
Take a look at a week’s worth of eating plans, and ask yourself, “Is this doable for me? Would I enjoy eating these foods, not just for a week or a month, but for the rest of my life?”
Water is key. You should also be encouraged to drink plenty of water. Aim to drink enough to produce urine that is pale in color. This pale color indicates a well-hydrated body.
If a plan labels a food or food group “off limits,” it will likely be too difficult to adhere to for an extended period of time. We can’t live on cabbage soup alone. It is good, however, to avoid foods that are widely accepted as being unhealthy, such as fried foods and high-fat processed meats. As soon as you resume eating those foods, the weight will come right back.
Look for a plan that allows some amount of flexibility. Hard and fast rules may lead to weight loss, but they are often the cause of post-diet weight gain. Perhaps a plan that allows you “cheat meals” or “free days” will be just the freedom needed to allow you to lose weight while still indulging in the occasional treat.
Does the Plan Involve Physical Activity?
Beware of too-good-to-be-true plans that promise weight loss without working up a sweat. Any solid plan will require increased physical activity. Besides torching calories, working out benefits your health in countless other ways. It boosts your mood and raises your high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol level.
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