You’ve been trying to lose weight for a few months and maybe for a few years. You manage to lose some weight and you can fit in those jeans that you used to wear back when you first started college. But soon enough, you gain the weight back and can’t fit into them anymore. So what happened? Why is keeping the weight off so difficult?
Following are some lifestyle changes you need to make you lose the weight and keep it off for good.
It’s Not About Diets
There are many people who engage in carb-free diets and protein-only diets only to gain the weight right back. These diets are not well-balanced or nutritious for you. And their restrictions make it so that you end up eating back the foods that you usually crave. And when that happens, your weight comes back with it.
Keeping your weight off when you lose it is all about adapting to a new lifestyle. The new lifestyle means getting used to eating healthy foods for the rest of your life. What’s been proven to work for most people is eating healthy foods that include plenty of nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
You can cheat every once in a while to curb some cravings. But do so in moderation. It’ll take some time for your body to adapt and get used to eating healthy. But after you’re used to it, it will become difficult to eat junk like hamburgers, fries, chips, cheesecakes and other high sugar/ high calorie food.
Learn to Count Calories
Losing weight the right way follows a simple mathematical equation. Burn more calories a day than the calories you eat and you will lose weight. So to lose weight, you need to make sure that you eat less calories everyday than what you normal eat.
Counting calories may seem complicated at first, but it’s required to guarantee success because it gives you the greatest control over what you feed your body and exactly how many pounds you want to lose. When you get good at counting calories, you’ll know exactly how many calories you need to eat to lose an X number of pounds per week.
Start by figuring out how many calories you normally eat in a day. And then reduce that number by 20%. No matter what happens, do not eat more than your 20% reduction. You’re going to need a measuring cup, a food weight scale, and some tablespoons and teaspoons.
To find out the caloric content, read the labels found on food packages or look it up on the internet. For example, you can Google “How many calories are in 8 oz. of boneless, skinless chicken?”, and you’ll get your answer. Then when you’re getting ready to cook, weigh your chicken and cut it if you have to, to make sure you don’t eat more than 8 oz. of it.
Do the same thing with all your other portions of food. Serve rice by the cup sizes, check out the package labels for pastas, use an actual tablespoon to add olive oil, etc. Trust me, after doing it for a while you’re going to love the fact that you have direct control over how much weight you can lose in any given week.
At the end of week write down how much weight you lost. If you have been jotting down the caloric content of every single thing you are and being very strict with how many calories you eat per day, you cannot fail. It’s impossible.
If you want to learn more about counting calories, I’ve written the methodology for it with worksheets and a real life example here.
Commit Yourself to Exercise
Yeah we’ve all heard it. A healthy diet is the key to losing weight. But a healthy diet alone is not the most effective method for losing weight. Adding exercise to your plan for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week will help you build muscles. These muscles will boost your metabolism, which will make you burn more calories, which will make you look better, which will make you feel good about yourself, which will make you eat healthier, and the cycle never stops.
Consistency is the key here. No matter what, you must force yourself to exercise 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s jogging outside, running on a treadmill, swimming, walking at a fast pace, or riding a bike. Just do it. The combination of exercising every day and counting the calories of everything that you eat will guarantee your weight loss success and your quest for adapting to a healthy living lifestyle.