I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but we Americans have a weight problem. Too little exercise and too much food heavy in saturated fats have expanded our waistlines like the national debt.
We are also a nation of dieters. You can’t watch TV or read the newspaper without being bombarded with ads for weight loss foods or methods – all guaranteed to make us thinner and in no time flat. Well, here’s a little statistic that should give you pause; 95% of the people who go on diets gain it all back within a year.
Taking weight off and keeping it off is not easy, but it can be done. A pound of body weight is roughly 3,500 calories, and the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume. Keeping it off is a matter of continuous effort and determination, but if you really want to be slimmer and healthier, it’s worth the effort. Here are the ten best ways to lose unwanted pounds and keep them off.
1. Set realistic goals.
If you weigh 250 pounds, as I did three years ago, it is not only unrealistic, but dangerous to try to reach a goal of 200 pounds in a month. TV ads that claim it’s possible are misleading. Losing that much weight that fast can strain your heart. I set a goal of two pounds a week, and not only was it achievable, but in the end I felt better for it.
2. Eat healthy foods.
Cutting down on fats (and eliminating saturated and trans fats) and sugar in your diet, and replacing them with foods that are high in fiber and rich in nutrients will not only help you lose weight, but it will improve your digestion.
3. Change your life style.
Reduce consumption of alcohol, avoid late night snacks, and eat smaller portions. My job involves lots of travel and eating out. I adopted the habit of eating only half of restaurant servings, and on long flights I skipped at least one meal, drinking water instead.
Reducing caloric intake alone will not help you achieve significant weight loss. Exercising vigorously 20-30 minutes a day will help burn calories, and will tone your body and help curb your appetite.
5. Lots of fiber.
Okay, this is repeating number 3, but it bears repeating. Foods high in fiber make you feel full quicker, reducing the amount you have to eat, and they help in the elimination of waste, and keeping your colon cleaner.
6. Drink lots of water.
Don’t overdo it, but 6 to 8 glasses of water a day will keep you hydrated and help move the rest of your food through your system better.
7. Start the day right.
A good healthy breakfast, high in fiber and nutrients will help you avoid overeating at the other meals, and give you the energy you need to make it through the day.
8. Reduce stress.
Teach yourself to relax. A few quiet moments throughout the day helps you maintain a balanced mood. People under stress eat more and exercise less.
9. Keep a journal.
Keep track of what and how much you eat and how much you exercise. Comparing the calories you consume with what you burn off can help you make adjustments as you go along.
10. Consult your doctor.
This is especially important if you are significantly overweight or obese. Your doctor can detect any medical condition that might be impacted by your planned diet or exercise program and suggest alternatives to help you achieve your weight loss goals.