By Sherry L. Granader, Sports Nutritionist
Losing weight in a healthy way and maintaining it can be tough in the world we all live in today. There are super-size portions and convenience foods everywhere we turn.
If you have lost weight before on a “diet” plan only to gain the weight back, you are not alone. There are many common diet mistakes in the effort to lose weight but it is time to get back to basics and form a healthy relationship with food.
It really does boil down to “calories in verses calories out” and it becomes quite the balancing act.
- The basic equation is if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
- If you eat more calories than you burn off then you will gain weight.
In an effort to lose weight, we may try all sorts of extreme diet plans that leave us starving and irritable or make unhealthy choices that make losing weight impossible. Emotional eating is another story as well, but there is a healthy way to lose weight without feeling deprived.
Healthy weight loss is important because of where you carry that extra weight. If you tend to carry extra weight around the abdomen verses the hips and thighs, the fat surrounds the internal organs, including the liver, and this is linked to diabetes and insulin resistance.
When it comes to weight loss, there is not one plan that works for everyone however there are some guidelines that will help get on track.
Before you start moaning, find a little notebook that you can keep in your purse or computer bag and write everything down that you eat for at least one week.
Think of your journal as a best friend that you can share how you are feeling at different times of the day or around meal times.
Read labels on all food items and learn how many calories and fat grams you are consuming in one day.
If you prefer to journal online, check out www.fitday.com that will automatically give you calories, nutrients and fat grams for every food consumed.
Journaling will help you get back to basics and track your weight loss efforts.
Forget the “Quick Fix” Diet Plan
Think about creating a lifestyle change that you can live with long-term as you make a commitment to your good health.
It is the permanent healthy changes in food choices and lifestyle that work long term for a healthy future.
For example, if you are drinking coffee every morning with cream and sugar, try switching to green tea. The tea will jump start your day just as well as coffee and will cut over 100 calories per day from the cream. That adds up to 700 calories per week.
Aim For a 1-2 Pound Weight Loss Per Week
Losing weight too fast can take a toll on your body as well as your mind making you feel drained, sluggish and even sick.
If you drop weight too quickly, you end up losing mostly muscle and water, not body fat.
Set Short-term Goals
Staying motivated to lose weight can be a challenge, however focusing on that family reunion coming up or summer vacation that is just around the corner may be enough to keep you from succumbing to temptation.
Eat Mini-meals Every 3 hours
Make a point of eating within one hour of getting up in the morning. Include 20-30 grams of protein for breakfast followed by a mini-meal of at least 15-20 grams of protein for every meal throughout the rest of the day.
Good choices include:
- Vegetable omelet with salsa
- Greek yogurt with blueberries
- Protein smoothie
Think Protein and Fiber at Every Meal
Good quality protein like organic chicken, turkey, fish, salmon, tuna, nuts, Greek yogurt and eggs with egg whites need to be included at every meal.
Fiber includes organic vegetables, fresh fruits like organic berries and whole-grains. Build a meal around vegetables.
One trick that will help you eat more vegetables is to use a dinner plate for salad and vegetables and a salad plate for whole grains and protein.
It is so important to find the right foods that help your body get lean and healthy without feeling deprived. Willpower will eventually give out however if you eat mini-meals of protein and fiber every 3 hours, the cravings will disappear simply because you are giving your body the protein, fiber and nutrients it needs.
There are endless ways to lose weight but the one that you will stick to is the one that will work for you.
- If you fall off the wagon and cheat, do not be discouraged.
- Just because you gave in to a tempting food does not mean all of your hard work should go down the drain.
- Living a healthy lifestyle is all about looking at the big picture and an occasional splurge will not hurt your efforts.
- If your eating plans are too restrictive then you may feel deprived and who needs that?
Enjoy your healthy lifestyle.