Losing weight is a major challenge. A sensible approach to lose those extra fat pockets is through making small healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits. Making these small changes can help you stay in good shape and improve your health. To reach your healthy weight and maintain that weight in the long term, make sure you lose your weight safely and at a realistic pace.
Losing weight in a healthy manner is important because even though weight loss is a major challenge, it is an even greater challenge is to keep off the weight that you lost. Keeping the weight off is not easy and most people who lose weight eventually gain at least some, if not all of it back. In a study published in the journal Obesity in 2016, researchers studied contestants in a TV reality show who were competing to shed the most weight. They found that 13 of 14 contestants regained the weight they lost and that four contestants were heavier compared to before they went on the show. This could be because such competitions may drive people to adopt shortcuts to weight loss, leading the body to try to reset or maintain its initial set point. To make positive, lasting changes, people should adopt healthy ways to achieve their weight loss goals. Make these small, simple lifestyle changes to lose weight:
Develop a healthy approach to food:
- Don’t skip meals – if you do, you may find you are eat more when you do eat and this may lead to a larger stomach capacity. This can increase the amount of food you need at each meal before you feel ‘full’.
- Avoid yoyo dieting (continual cycles of dieting, weight loss and weight gain) as it will slow your metabolism. Such diets are only a short-term solution that will increase your body fat levels in the long term.
- Avoid practices that can lead to weight gain such as night eating, social eating and emotional eating.
- Avoid unplanned or habitual eating and keep to regular meals and snacks.
- Keep a record of what you eat, when you eat, and your hunger levels prior to eating. This can help you identify why you consume certain foods at certain times of the day.
- Eat a wide variety of food from all food groups every day such as wholegrain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, milk and dairy, and meat, fish or legumes and where possible, choose low-fat varieties.
- Increase your fruit and vegetable intake, as most are low in calories and contain fiber, which helps you feel full.
- Reduce your intake of foods that are high in added fat, sugar and salt and replace sugary drinks with water.
- If you had extra food, try to balance it with extra exercise. The more energy you burn, the more food you can afford to have.
- Stay hydrated. Water helps you to burn calories by keeping your metabolism going as water doesn’t have carbohydrates, calories or fat. Avoid juices and aerated drinks, as they may contain high sugar content.
- Cut down on saturated fats and alcohol.
- Avoid eating for comfort, such as when you are upset, angry or stressed. Instead, find other healthy ways to cope with these feelings.
Adopt a healthier approach to exercise:
Being within your ideal body weight contributes a lot to your overall health. Working out on a daily basis is essential. Exercise is very important when you are trying to lose weight because it prevents muscle loss.
- Try to work out in the early morning than in the evening as it will improve your energy throughout the day.
- Working out will rev up your metabolism and keep burning calories throughout the day.
- Start slowly and then increase your activity levels by simply increasing movement throughout the day.
- Moderate intensity exercise such as walking, gardening, cycling, and even mowing the lawn – has been shown to help reduce body fat.
Other suggestions for a more active lifestyle include: playing a sport that you enjoy, walking instead of taking the car on short distances, playing more outdoor games, and taking stairs instead of lifts.